Jesús Muñoz Pajares (CIBIO-InBIO/UP) | February 27, 2015 - 15h00 | CIBIO-InBIO’s Auditorium, Campus de Vairão


Phylogeography and landscape genetics are both concerned with understanding the spatial 
distribution of genetic variation. Since the pioneering studies of Sewall Wright, genetic-geographic patterns observed in plant populations have been addressed based on the isolation by distance model, and given the sessile condition of plants, this model has received a strong empirical and theoretical support. Despite plants do not move, their propagules are frequently dispersed by pollinators and/or frugivores. As a result, other ecological and historical factors are expected to play a prominent role in determining spatial genetic patterns. Understanding the role of these factors in determining genetic patterns across different spatial scales is of utmost importance to predict the chances of plant populations to persist and expand in changing environments.
Here I will evaluate the contribution of different ecological and historical factors in shaping the spatial distribution of the genetic variation in two generalists species that rely on complex assemblages of pollinators or frugivorous to disperse their propagules. First, I will focus on Erysimum mediohipanicum, a pollination-generalist herb endemic from the Iberian Peninsula. Specifically, I will assess the influence of geography, biotic and abiotic factors, and history to explain the genetic structure of this species, encompassing most of its native distribution range. Second, I will focus on Juniperus phoenicea subsp. turbinata, an endozoochorous species dispersed by a complex array of vertebrates. In that case I will describe the natural expansion of one population that successfully regenerated in the latest decades from forest remnants. This is an ideal system to understand the role of dispersal interactions, demo-genetic processes and adaptation to determine the genetic diversity in newly colonised areas. During my talk I also will briefly describe some tools I am developing for studying these systems and that may be useful for other researchers addressing similar questions.


Jesús Muñoz Pajares graduated in Biochemistry from the University of Granada (Spain) in 2006. He was collaborating with the Department of Genetics since 2002 studying the evolutionary dynamics of B chromosomes in grasshoppers. He received a MSc in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Jaén (Spain) in 2008 and finished his PhD on the evolution of a pollination-generalist plant species in 2013. Months latter he moved to CIBIO-InBIO to become part of the PLANTBIO group. His current interests include computational biology and he is maintainer of several R packages.


[Group Leader: Ana Assunção, Plant Biology]


Image credits: Jesús Muñoz Pajares