Organisms can deal with novel challenges by changing their phenotypes in response to environmental cues (plasticity) and/or by longer-term changes in gene frequencies within a population (adaption). Plasticity itself can be adaptive; so how does it evolve? Invasive species offer a unique opportunity to answer that question, because a founding population (with only modest genetic variation) must deal with the myriad new challenges in its new home. Using the cane toad invasion of Australia as our model system, we will tease apart the roles of epigenetic and genetic modifications, and the interplay between those processes, as drivers for the toads' remarkable success and rapid evolution in Australia.
|Effective start/end date||3/12/18 → 31/12/20|