Institute of Evolution and Ecology (EvE)

Ellie Gibson-Forty

PhD complete November 2018

The occurrence of plants in almost every environment on the planet is a reminder of how evolution can drive local adaptation and phenotypic plasticity. The question remains whether plants can survive in a changing climate through phenotypic plasticity and/or through genetic adaptation. My interest lies in disentangling these processes. Previously I have worked on grassland plant communities subject to altered rainfall regimes to understand the effect of precipitation as a driver for community change. Now with my PhD project, I take this concept of community response to climate change one step further by looking at the mechanisms behind community change along a rainfall gradient. Along with other members in our group, I will use different sites along several precipitation gradients in Israel and Jordan, together with common greenhouse experiments to determine whether populations of species are genetically or phenotypically different from one another. This will highlight whether plants can adapt to changing climatic conditions or whether species may become extinct.