Urban evolution of species interactions

As one of the participating research groups in the GLUE project, my team has set up an urban-rural gradient in Amsterdam and surroundings to study adaptation of species interactions. Along this gradient BSc and MSc students have quantified changes in biodiversity of fungi, plants and animals, and their herbivorous, predatory and symbiotic relationships. Results so far show Cyanogenic capacity in clover was not associated with either urbanization, or the clover – rhizobia mutualism. White clover had higher root nodulation with increasing urbanization, whereas nodule occupancy by rhizobia decreased. Cyanogenic capacity was however not linked to either urbanization or the rhizobia-clover mutualism.

Another focus of our urban evolution research is the spread and adaptation of exotic species. We found exotic reptiles to occur predominantly in urbanized areas, and used phylogenetic analysis to identify those traits that ‘pre-adapt’ species to become invasive elsewhere.

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