Patrick Rohner

Patrick Rohner
Indiana University Bloomington | IUB

PhD in Evolutionary Biology

About

42
Publications
6,237
Reads
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405
Citations
Citations since 2017
34 Research Items
387 Citations
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Introduction
I am broadly interested in how the astonishing diversity of animal shapes, sizes and life styles originated, how it is maintained, and how it continues to evolve. I integrate multivariate quantitative genetic, comparative, and experimental approaches to understand the interplay between ecology, evolution and development. My research focuses on the ultimate and proximate underpinnings of sexual dimorphism and sex-specific plasticity in life history and secondary sexual traits, and the relative importance of genetic accommodation in driving local adaptation to novel environmental conditions.
Education
September 2015 - September 2018
University of Zurich
Field of study
  • Evolutionary Biology
September 2014 - December 2015
University of Zurich
Field of study
  • MSc Evolutionary Biology and Systematics
September 2011 - June 2014
University of Zurich
Field of study
  • BSc Biology

Publications

Publications (42)
Article
Full-text available
Directional sexual selection drives the evolution of traits that are most closely linked to reproductive success, giving rise to trait exaggeration and sexual dimorphism. Exaggerated structures are often costly and, therefore, thought to be expressed in a condition-dependent manner. Sexual selection theory thus predicts a direct link between direct...
Article
Plastic responses to environmental conditions may themselves depend on other environmental conditions, but how such environment-by-environment (E×E) interactions may impact evolution remains unclear. We investigate how temperature shapes the nutritional polyphenism in horn length in a beetle and test whether 'allometric plasticity' (a form of E×E)...
Article
The relationship between genetic differentiation and phenotypic plasticity can provide information on whether plasticity generally facilitates or hinders adaptation to environmental change. Here, we studied wing shape variation in a damselfly (Lestes sponsa) across a latitudinal gradient in Europe that differed in time constraints mediated by photo...
Preprint
Full-text available
Directional sexual selection drives the evolution of traits that are most closely linked to reproductive success, giving rise to trait exaggeration and sexual dimorphism. Exaggerated structures are often costly and, therefore, thought to be expressed in a condition-dependent manner. Sexual selection theory thus predicts a direct link between direct...
Article
Full-text available
The degree to which developmental systems bias the phenotypic effects of environmental and genetic variation, and how these biases affect evolution, is subject to much debate. Here, we assess whether developmental variability in beetle horn shape aligns with the phenotypic effects of plasticity and evolutionary divergence, yielding three salient re...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding how environmental variation influences even cryptic traits is important to clarify the roles of selection and developmental constraints in past evolutionary divergence and to predict future adaptation under environmental change. Female yellow dung flies (Scathophaga stercoraria) typically have three sperm storage compartments (3S), bu...
Article
Full-text available
Age and size at maturity are key life-history components, yet the proximate underpinnings that mediate intra- and interspecific variation in life history remain poorly understood. We studied the proximate underpinnings of species differences and nutritionally plastic variation in adult size and development time in four species of dung beetles. Spec...
Article
Full-text available
The black scavenger fly Sepsis thoracica exhibits polyphenic development resulting in alternate small black and large amber male morphs. Although the behavior, ecology, and physiology of both morphs are being scrutinized, the evolutionary origins of the nutritional polyphenism remain poorly understood. I here use a comparative approach to study var...
Article
Full-text available
(239 words) Ambient temperature strongly determines the behaviour, physiology, and life history of all organisms. The technical assessment of organismal thermal niches in form of now so-called thermal performance curves (TPC) thus has a long tradition in biological research. Nevertheless, several traits do not display the idealized, intuitive dome-...
Article
Context-dependent trait exaggeration is a major contributor to phenotypic diversity. However, the genetic modifiers instructing development across multiple contexts remain largely unknown. We use the arthropod tibia, a hotspot for segmental differentiation, as a paradigm to assess the developmental mechanisms underlying the context-dependent struct...
Article
Full-text available
An organism’s fitness depends strongly on its age and size at maturation. Although the evolutionary forces acting on these critical life history traits have been heavily scrutinized, the developmental mechanisms underpinning intraspecific variation in adult size and development time remain much less well understood. Using RNA interference, I here s...
Article
Phenomenological and behavioural studies have greatly advanced the study of natural selection. Field studies of selection well appraise the natural situation, but is this also true for laboratory studies, which are typically more mechanistic? We compared precopulatory sexual selection (mating differential based on pairing success) in field and labo...
Article
Full-text available
Developmental and evolutionary processes underlying phenotypic variation frequently target several traits simultaneously, thereby causing covariation, or integration , among phenotypes. While phenotypic integration can be neutral, correlational selection can drive adaptive covariation. Especially, the evolution and development of exaggerated second...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the interplay between genetic differentiation, ancestral plasticity, and the evolution of plasticity during adaptation to environmental variation is critical to predict populations’ responses to environmental change. However, the role of plasticity in rapid adaptation in nature remains poorly understood. We here use the invasion of th...
Article
Full-text available
Size and shape constitute fundamental aspects in the description of morphology. Yet while the developmental-genetic underpinnings of trait size, in particular with regard to scaling relationships, are increasingly well understood, those of shape remain largely elusive. Here we investigate the potential function of the Notch signaling pathway in ins...
Article
Full-text available
The proximate and ultimate mechanisms underlying scaling relationships as well as their evolutionary consequences remain an enigmatic issue in evolutionary biology. Here I investigate the evolution of wing allometries in the Schizophora, a group of higher Diptera that radiated about 65 million years ago, by studying static allometries in five speci...
Article
Full-text available
Organismal life histories evolve as syndromes, resulting in correlated evolutionary differentiation of key traits that ultimately aid in discerning species. Reproductive success depends both on the absolute body size of an individual and its size relative to the opposite sex: sexual size dimorphism. In an attempt to further elucidate their coexiste...
Article
Full-text available
Sexual selection is generally held responsible for the exceptional diversity in secondary sexual traits in animals. Mating system evolution is therefore expected to profoundly affect the covariation between secondary sexual traits and mating success. While there is such evidence at the interspecific level, data within species remain scarce. We here...
Article
Sexual selection represents a potent force that can drive rapid population differentiation in traits related to reproductive success. Hence, sexual traits are expected to show greater population divergence than non‐sexual traits. We test this prediction by exploring patterns of morphological differentiation of the exaggerated fore femur (a male‐spe...
Article
Full-text available
1.Thermal performance curves (TPCs) have been estimated in multiple ectotherm species to understand their thermal plasticity and adaptation and to predict the effect of global warming. However, TPCs are typically assessed under constant temperature regimes, so their reliability for predicting thermal responses in the wild where temperature fluctuat...
Article
Full-text available
Seasonality is a key environmental factor that regularly promotes life history adaptation. Insects invading cold–temperate climates need to overwinter in a dormant state. We compared the role of temperature and photoperiod in dormancy induction in the laboratory, as well as winter survival and reproduction in the field and the laboratory, of 5 wide...
Article
Full-text available
Coprophagous insect communities play a critical role in the decomposition of vertebrate dung and provide ecosystem functions fundamental to modern agriculture. While the ecology of dung beetles is rather well understood, niche differentiation in coprophagous flies is poorly studied. Sepsid flies (Diptera: Sepsidae) are a vital part of the European...
Article
Full-text available
Although genetic and plastic responses are sometimes considered as unrelated processes, their phenotypic effects may often align because genetic adaptation is expected to mirror phenotypic plasticity if adaptive, but run counter to it when maladaptive. The magnitude and direction of this alignment has further consequences for both the tempo and mod...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding why and how multiple species manage to coexist represents a primary goal of ecological and evolutionary research. This is of particular relevance for communities that depend on resource rich ephemeral habitats that are prone to high intra- and interspecific competition. Black scavenger flies (Diptera: Sepsidae) are common and abundant...
Article
Sexual selection can displace traits acting as ornaments or armaments from their viability optimum in one sex, ultimately giving rise to sexual dimorphism. The degree of dimorphism should not only mirror the strength of sexual selection but also the net viability costs of trait maintenance at equilibrium. As the ability of organisms to bear exagger...
Thesis
Full-text available
This integrative dissertation explores the ultimate (evolutionary) as well as proximate (i.e. mechanistic developmental) drivers of life-history traits in insects. The focus lies on the evolution of body size, sexual size dimorphism (SSD) and sex-specific body size plasticity, which are studied on different levels of biological organization. The fo...
Article
Ivermectin is a veterinary pharmaceutical widely applied against parasites of livestock. Being effective against pests, it is also known to have lethal and sublethal effects on non-target organisms. While considerable research demonstrates the impact of ivermectin residues in livestock dung on the development and survival of dung feeding insect lar...
Article
Full-text available
Clinal variation in body size and related life history traits is common and has stimulated the postulation of several eco-geographical rules. Whereas some clinal patterns are clearly adaptive, the causes of others remain obscure. We investigated intra-specific body size, development time and female fecundity (egg size and number) clines across 13 E...
Article
Full-text available
Geographic clines offer insights about putative targets and agents of natural selection as well as tempo and mode of adaptation. However, demographic processes can lead to clines that are indistinguishable from adaptive divergence. Using the widespread yellow dung fly Scathophaga stercoraria (Diptera: Scathophagidae), we examine quantitative geneti...
Preprint
Full-text available
Reproduction is well known to be costly for females, but longevity costs of copulations in males are still poorly understood. In particular, the effect of the number of copulations on male longevity is rarely considered. Work on black scavenger flies (Diptera: Sepsidae) showed contrasting results: in Saltella sphondylii the number of copulations is...
Article
Full-text available
Support for macroecological rules in insects is mixed, with potential confounding interrelations between patterns rarely studied. We here investigate global patterns in body and wing size, sexual size dimorphism and range size in common fruit flies (Diptera: Drosophilidae) and explore potential interrelations and the predictive power of Allen's, Be...
Article
Sexual size dimorphism (SSD) can vary drastically across environments, demonstrating pronounced sex-specific plasticity. In insects, females are usually the larger and more plastic sex. However, the shortage of taxa with male-biased SSD hampers the assessment of whether the greater plasticity in females is driven by selection on size or represents...
Article
Ultimate factors driving insect body size are rather well understood, while—apart from a few model species—the underlying physiological and developmental mechanisms received less attention. We investigate the physiological basis of adaptive size variation in the yellow dung fly Scathophaga stercoraria, which shows pronounced male-biased sexual size...
Article
Full-text available
habitat preferences are essential. Although black scavenger flies (Diptera, Sepsidae) are common and abundant acalyptratae in European grass- and farmlands, a detailed understanding of their ecology and distribution is currently limited. This is particularly problematic since this taxon has received con sid - erable interest in evolutionary ecology...
Article
Full-text available
Sexual size dimorphism (SSD) arises when the net effects of natural and sexual selection on body size differ between the sexes. Quantitative SSD variation between taxa is common, but directional intraspecific SSD reversals are rare. We combined micro- and macroevolutionary approaches to study geographic SSD variation in closely related black scaven...
Article
Full-text available
Despite great research efforts in behavioral ecology, phylogenetics and even ecotoxicology, the faunistics of sepsid flies remain poorly understood. The occurrence of an additional species, Themira superba (Haliday, 1833) in Switzerland is documented. Further, an updated and commented national checklist for sepsids is provided, increasing the numbe...
Article
In biodiversity assessments, especially of small-bodied organisms for which taxonomic expertise is lacking, identification by genetic barcoding may be a cost-effective and efficient alternative to traditional identification of species by morphology, ecology and behavior. Here we test the feasibility and accuracy of such an approach using dung insec...
Article
Full-text available
Specimens of the enigmatic, monotypic European genus Zuskamira Pont, 1987 (Sepsidae) were initially collected only from the lower central Swedish provinces of Darlana, Uppland and Västmanland. However, the same species was subsequently found much more south in Lower-Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein although Germany is overall well sampled for sepsid f...
Article
Full-text available
Elevational gradients influence the distribution and abundance of species drastically and can lead to variation in community composition. Although coprophagous flies are of ecological and economic importance, their biodiversity and distribution are largely neglected. We studied the impact of steep elevational gradients and geography on the distribu...
Article
Full-text available
Due to their interesting biology, conspicuous sexual dimorphism and the ability to conduct experiments on species that breed under laboratory condition, sepsid flies (Diptera : Sepsidae) are becoming increasingly important model organisms in evolutionary biology. Accurate species boundaries and well supported phylogenetic hypotheses are thus of int...

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Projects (3)