Linking space to time in ecology: Urban Evolution in Dandelions
Urban environments are ever expanding and differ markedly from natural and rural ecosystems. Cities are good test cases for the adaptive capacity of plants and animals in a rapidly changing world. How well do species adapt to the unique environmental challenges in cities, including altered temperature, water regimes, pollution and fragmentation of suitable habitat? The overall goal of the KNAW project ‘Linking space to time in ecology’ is to characterize urban evolution by combining spatial analysis (genetic differentiation of populations between cities and rural / natural habitats) with temporal analysis (tracking micro-evolution through time using herbarium samples). This postdoc project will focus on genomic analysis in the Common dandelion, a species that occurs abundantly both within and outside cities and for which good herbarium collections exist. The project will be carried out at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW, Wageningen) in collaboration with Naturalis Biodiversity Center (Leiden). The aim of the project is to develop and use genomic analysis tools that can be applied to both fresh and herbarium samples, to directly link insights from spatial and temporal urban evolution approaches. This project is part of the NIOO-led collaboration on ‘Linking space to time in ecology: combining ecological research with museum collection analysis to track urban evolution in plants and animals’, which involves the NIOO Terrestrial Ecology department, the NIOO Centre for Avian Migration & Demography, Naturalis Biodiversity Center and the Erasmus Medical Center.