Dissertation Research: Phylogeography and Coevolution in Yuccas and Yucca Moths Grant uri icon



  • Abstract

    This project will expand dissertation research on the circumstances leading to cheating in mutualistic interactions by testing explicit hypotheses on geographically structured coevolution and history. The obligate pollination mutualism between yuccas and yucca moths is one of the classical examples of coevolution, and an excellent model system to explore mutualism reversal as it includes derived non-pollinating 'cheater' moths. Using this interaction, three specific predictions will be tested on how local adaptation drives variation in plant-moth interactions and coevolution. The project will specifically focus on phylogeography and floral morphology of the host plant Yucca filamentosa. Phylogeographic analysis based on AFLP data will be performed across the plant range, and the results used to test hypotheses that involve comparisons with existing data sets on floral trait variation and moth phylogeographic patterns. This study will provide one of the first data sets to extract both the historical and adaptive components of a mutualism.

date/time interval

  • August 31, 2002 - May 31, 2004

total award amount

  • 8,100