The PhD project will examine the links between plant clonality and rates of diversification (i.e. speciation and extinction) and molecular evolution across the angiosperms. Clonal reproduction leads to longer time between sexual reproduction events and at the same time it decreases effective population sizes. The interplay of these processes is thus likely to affect both diversification rates and rates of molecular evolution.


The main task of the PhD. student will be to test the following two hypotheses:


Diversification rates in predominantly clonal plant lineages differ from the rates in predominantly non-clonal lineages. To test this, they will assemble and analyze data on evolutionary dynamics of clonality on large phylogenetic scales from existing databases and link them with phylogenetic data using likelihood-based State-dependent Speciation Extinction (SSE) models.

Rates of molecular evolution are slower in lineages with prevailing share of clonal species. This will be tested with pairs of higher taxa covering the whole variability in clonality trait difference identified using the ancestral state estimations from the SSE models. These pairs will be used to infer the relationship between clonality status and the rate of molecular evolution in different types of regions (nuclear and chloroplast, coding vs non-coding, and synonymous vs non-synonymous).



Five relevant publications of the research group:


Klimešová J., Ottaviani G., Charles-Dominique T., Campetella G., Canullo R., Chelli S., Janovský Z., Lubbe F. C., Martínková J. and Herben T. (2021) Incorporating clonality into the plant ecology research agenda. Trends in Plant Science 26: 1236-1247. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2021.07.019

Schnablová R., Huang L., Klimešová J., Šmarda P., Herben T. (2021). Inflorescence preformation prior to winter: a surprisingly widespread strategy that drives phenology of temperate perennial herbs. New Phytologist 229:620-630. DOI: 10.1111/nph.16880

Herben, T.; Klimešová, J. (2020). Evolution of clonal growth forms in angiosperms. New Phytologist 225: 999–1010. DOI: 10.1111/nph.16188.

Huang L., Koubek T., Weiser M., Herben T. (2018) Environmental drivers and phylogenetic constraints of growth phenologies across a large set of herbaceous species. Journal of Ecology 106:1621–1633. DOI:10.1111/1365-2745.12927

Herben, T., Klimešová, J. & Chytrý M. (2018) Effects of disturbance frequency and severity on plant traits: an assessment across a temperate flora. Functional Ecology 32, 799–808. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.13011

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