Ecological and Evolutionary Effects of Crop Domestication

How does rapid evolution that occurs during plant cultivation influence ecological and evolution interactions between plants and their enemies?

The domestication of plants and animals is one of the most important activities in human history. It is also the world’s largest, longest lasting, and best replicated selection experiment. By comparing domesticated organisms to their wild relatives we can address numerous basic and applied questions in evolutionary-ecology. One hypothesis we are addressing is that domestication, and its associated changes in yield, should cause plants to evolve reduced resistance to enemies.  We are testing this hypothesis, and other extensions of it, using a combination of large scale comparative experiments and meta-analyses. Future projects will explore the community level impacts of domestication using field experiments as well as continue to explore the impacts on the evolution of plant enemies. 

29 pairs of crops and wild relatives tested for resistance. Turcotte et al. (New Phytologist 204(3): 671-681).

The impacts of plant domestication on the ecological performance (survival of Spodoptera exigua) and the evolutionary dynamics (of Myzus persicae) of herbivores growing on crops and their wild relatives. Turcotte et al. New Phytologist 2014 (204(3): 671-681) and Ecology Letters 2015 (18: 907–915).

The impacts of plant domestication on the ecological performance (survival of Spodoptera exigua) and the evolutionary dynamics (of Myzus persicae) of herbivores growing on crops and their wild relatives. Turcotte et al. New Phytologist 2014 (204(3): 671-681) and Ecology Letters 2015 (18: 907–915).

 

Relevant Publications:

Impact of domestication on resistance to 2 generalist herbivores across 29 domestication events (New Phytologist 2014) and impacts on the aphid evolutionary dynamics (Ecology Letters 2015)

Meta-Analysis on the impact of domestication on resistance and defense traits (PRSLB 2016)

General synthesis of the eco-evolutionary impacts of domestication and agriculture on wild species (PRSLB 2016)