The evolution of plants on Madagascar: who eats their fruits now that the giant lemurs have gone extinct?

I’m happy to announce that my proposal to make an outreach video about our work on Madagascar has been funded by the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB Outreach fund) and iDiv’s Female Scientists Career Fund.

Details will follow, but in short:

We aim to improve the understanding of evolutionary concepts (e.g. genetic connectivity, bottlenecks, speciation and extinction) at secondary schools. These concepts will be illustrated using video shootage from our fieldtrip to Madagascar (starring the new Evolution & Adaptation lab members Laura Mendez and Adriana Alzate!), as well as by use of animations. We study the evolutionary fate of Malagasy megafaunal-fruited plants (fruits > 3 cm) since the extinction of their primary seed dispersers: giant lemurs and elephant birds. Are these plants genetically adapting to new, smaller-bodied frugivores, or have they gone through genetic bottlenecks and are possibly facing extinction? The video will address these questions guided by the scientific and conservation activities performed by (female) researchers on Madagascar.

 

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