Presenter: Jamie Kostyun, PhD
Title: "The Developmental Genetic Basis and Evolutionary Consequences of Floral Diversity in Jaltomata (Solanaceae)"
"Understanding the generation and maintenance of biodiversity – one of the key goals of evolutionary biology – requires addressing two fundamental processes: the evolution of phenotypic novelty and diversity, and lineage diversification (i.e. speciation and extinction). My broad research interests encompass these two processes and how they might interact to produce existing patterns of diversity. I focus on floral variation within the angiosperms, as floral traits are critical for both ecological interactions and reproductive success, and have long been implicated as a key innovation driving the extensive species richness of this clade. Species of my study system, Jaltomata (Solanaceae), are native to the Neotropics and encompass a surprising amount of floral trait variation, such as overall floral shape and size, petal and nectar color, and nectar volume, despite being relatively recently diverged (