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Anna Runemark lab

Evolutionary Ecology of Plant–Insect Interactions
I am a diversity and speciation researcher with evolutionary genomics and biogeography expertise and a background in evolutionary ecology. Broadly, my research strives to identify how variation arises and the processes by which it sorts into new species, as well as which ecological settings and factors that promote these processes. I use study systems including Podarcis wall lizards and the hybrid species Italian sparrow, shedding light on different components of the speciation process to gain a broad understanding of the phenomenon. My main current study system consists of host plant subspecies of the fly Tephritis conura with different ecologies to address how the multifarious selection pressures on independent characters in genomically unlinked regions that change simultaneously during niche shifts mold the phenotype and genome, and its consequences for diversity.

Genomic and phenotypic adaptation to niche shifts

Using host plant specific subspecies of the fly T. conura we investigate the adaptations following host plant shifts and identify the areas in the genome associated with these phenotypic characters. A new niche implies altered selection pressures on several aspects of the phenotype, and this will generate correlational selection for certain combinations of traits/loci. Ultimately we aim to address how non-physical LD arise when several genomically unlinked loci are selected to be coinherited, and how this process affects both genetic variation and evolvability.

The roles of coding genetic divergence, regulatory divergence and methylation in host plant adaptation

Adaptation to new environments and selection pressures can be either plastic or genetic. We investigate whether the relative contribution of these different mechanisms differs between populations that are facultatively using two different host plants and would be predicted to benefit from plastic responses, and these that are host plant specialists. We also use this system to address the fitness consequences of generalist behavior and specialization within the same species.

The genomic architecture of reproductive isolation in homoploid hybrid Passer italiae

Hybrid species have genetic variation from two divergent parent species, and this provides excellent opportunities to address how interactions between different parts of the genome have shaped genome evolution as the origin of genomic regions can be identified. Taking advantage of this we address which genes are involved in reproductive isolation a) through identifying regions where Dobzhansky-Muller Incompatibilities have been purged through reversion to the ancestral state and b) through investigating the role of epistatic interactions in the large effect of the Z chromosome. We also investigate the role of Transposable Elements (TEs) in hybrid genome formation in collaboration with Dr. Alexander Suh and whether methylation can cause or remedy incompatibilities in collaboration with Dr. Marjorie Lienard. My PhD-student Caroline Ø Guldvog is working on three of these projects and is co-supervised by Prof. Glenn-Peter Sætre.

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The thistle Cirsium oleraceum.

Contact information

Anna Runemark
Evolutionary Ecology

Telephone: +46 46 222 3613
E-mail: Anna [dot] Runemark [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se