Robert I Colautti

Robert I Colautti
Queen's University | QueensU · Department of Biology

Ph.D.

About

68
Publications
21,602
Reads
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6,497
Citations
Introduction
The Colautti lab investigates how human activity is changing genes, genomes and phenotypes of species in nature, and how these changes affect species persistence in a changing world. http://bit.ly/colautti
Additional affiliations
May 2012 - August 2014
University of British Columbia - Vancouver
Position
  • Banting Postdoctoral Fellow
June 2010 - May 2012
Duke University
Position
  • NSERC Posdoctoral Fellow
January 2004 - June 2010
University of Toronto
Position
  • PhD Student

Publications

Publications (68)
Article
Biological invasions are 'natural' experiments that can improve our understanding of contemporary evolution. We evaluate evidence for population differentiation, natural selection and adaptive evolution of invading plants and animals at two nested spatial scales: (i) among introduced populations (ii) between native and introduced genotypes. Evoluti...
Article
Full-text available
Adaptation to climate, evolving over contemporary time scales, could facilitate rapid range expansion across environmental gradients. Here, we examine local adaptation along a climatic gradient in the North American invasive plant Lythrum salicaria. We show that the evolution of earlier flowering is adaptive at the northern invasion front where it...
Article
Full-text available
Common garden studies are increasingly used to identify differences in phenotypic traits between native and introduced genotypes, often ignoring sources of among-population variation within each range. We re-analyzed data from 32 common garden studies of 28 plant species that tested for rapid evolution associated with biological invasion. Our goals...
Article
Recent advances in molecular genetics combined with field manipulations are yielding new insight into the origin, evolutionary fate, and genetic architecture of phenotypic variation in natural plant populations, with two surprising implications for the evolution of plant genomes. First, genetic loci exhibiting antagonistic pleiotropy across natural...
Article
Significance Adaptive evolution can help species to persist and spread in new environments, but it is unclear how the rate and duration of adaptive evolution vary throughout species ranges and on the decadal timescales most relevant to managing biodiversity for the 21st century. Using herbarium records, we reconstruct 150 y of evolution in an invas...
Article
Species’ ranges are limited by both ecological and evolutionary constraints. While there is a growing appreciation that ecological constraints include interactions among species, like competition, we know relatively little about how interactions contribute to evolutionary constraints at species' niche and range limits. Building on concepts from com...
Article
Full-text available
The emerging field of invasion genetics examines the genetic causes and consequences of biological invasions, but few study systems are available that integrate deep ecological knowledge with genomic tools. Here we report on the de novo assembly and annotation of a genome for the biennial herb Alliaria petiolata (M. Bieb.) Cavara & Grande (Brassica...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background Antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 can be observed as early as 14 days post-infection, but little is known about the stability of antibody levels over time. Here we evaluate the long-term stability of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies following infection with SARS-CoV-2 in 402 adult donors. Methods We performed a multi-center study carried o...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background Respiratory viruses are transmitted and acquired via the nasal mucosa, and thereby may influence the nasal metabolome composed of biochemical products produced by both host cells and microbes. Studies of the nasal metabolome demonstrate virus-specific changes that sometimes correlate with viral load and disease severity. Here, we evaluat...
Article
Full-text available
Genome-wide variation in SARS-CoV-2 reveals evolution and transmission dynamics which are critical considerations for disease control and prevention decisions. Here, we review estimates of the genome-wide viral mutation rates, summarize current COVID-19 case load in the province of Ontario, Canada (5 January 2021), and analyze published SARS-CoV-2...
Preprint
Full-text available
The extent to which evolution can rescue a species from extinction, or facilitate range expansion, depends critically on the rate, duration, and geographical extent of the evolutionary response to natural selection. While field experiments have demonstrated that adaptive evolution can occur quickly, our understanding of the duration and geographica...
Article
Global emergence of vector-borne and zoonotic diseases presents a rapidly growing ‘wicked’ problem. We outline the need for a transdisciplinary research program that is grounded in ecological and evolutionary theory but integrates fundamentally with research perspectives spanning the health, social, and natural sciences.
Preprint
Full-text available
The emerging field of invasion genetics examines the genetic causes and consequences of biological invasions, but few study systems are available that integrate deep ecological knowledge with genomic tools. Here we report on the de novo assembly and annotation of a genome for the biennial herb Alliaria petiolata (M. Bieb.) Cavara & Grande (Brassica...
Article
Full-text available
The emergence and rapid global spread of SARS-CoV-2 demonstrates the importance of infectious disease surveillance, particularly during the early stages. Viral genomes can provide key insights into transmission chains and pathogenicity. Nasopharyngeal swabs were obtained from thirty-two of the first SARS-CoV-2 positive cases (March 18-30) in Kingst...
Article
Soil feedback is thought to be an important contributor to the success of invasive plants. Despite evidence that invasive plants change soil microbial diversity, the functional roles of microbes impacted by invasion are still unclear. This knowledge is a critical component of our understanding of ecological mechanisms of plant invasion. Mounting ev...
Chapter
This book contains 23 chapters divided into seven parts. Part I reviews the key hypotheses in invasion ecology that invoke biotic interactions to explain aspects of plant invasion dynamics; and reviews models, theories and hypotheses on how invasion performance and impact of introduced species in recipient ecosystems can be conjectured according to...
Preprint
Full-text available
Soil feedback is thought to be an important contributor to the success of invasive plants. Despite evidence that invasive plants change soil microbial diversity, the functional roles of microbes impacted by invasion are still unclear. This knowledge is a critical component of our understanding of ecological mechanisms of plant invasion. Mounting ev...
Preprint
Full-text available
The emergence and global spread of SARS-CoV-2 has had profound social and economic consequences and has shed light on the importance of continued and additional investment in global health and infectious disease surveillance. Identifying changes in viral genomes provides key insights into viral diversity, how viruses spread within populations, and...
Article
Full-text available
Repeatable experiments with accurate data collection and reproducible analyses are fundamental to the scientific method but may be difficult to achieve in practice. Open‐source tools aid the reproducibility of data analysis, but analogous tools are generally lacking for sample collection and other early stages of scientific inquiry. We introduce th...
Chapter
This book contains 23 chapters divided into seven parts. Part I reviews the key hypotheses in invasion ecology that invoke biotic interactions to explain aspects of plant invasion dynamics; and reviews models, theories and hypotheses on how invasion performance and impact of introduced species in recipient ecosystems can be conjectured according to...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Blepharis constitutes an important part of the vegetation of the Jordanian arid and semi-arid regions, yet whether one or more species of this genus occurs in the Jordanian area is uncertain. We addressed this question by assessing morphological characters and testing Inter-Simple Sequence Repeat (ISSR) markers from three populations o...
Preprint
Full-text available
Repeatable experiments with accurate data collection and reproducible analyses are fundamental to the scientific method but may be difficult to achieve in practice. Several flexible, open-source tools developed for the R and Python coding environments aid the reproducibility of data wrangling and analysis in scientific research. In contrast, analog...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Blepharis constitutes an important part of the vegetation of the Jordanian arid and semi-arid regions, yet whether one or more species of this genus occurs in the Jordanian area is uncertain. We addressed this question by assessing morphological characters and testing Inter-Simple Sequence Repeat (ISSR) markers from three populations of...
Article
Biological invasions exert multiple pervasive effects on ecosystems, potentially disrupting species interactions and global ecological processes. Our ability to successfully predict and manage the ecosystem-level impacts of biological invasions is strongly dependent on our capacity to empirically characterize complex biological interactions and the...
Article
Full-text available
Invasive and endangered species reflect opposite ends of a spectrum of ecological success, yet they experience many similar eco-evolutionary challenges including demographic bottlenecks, hybridization and novel environments. Despite these similarities, important differences exist. Demographic bottlenecks are more transient in invasive species, whic...
Article
Warmer and drier climates have shifted phenologies of many species. However, the magnitude and direction of phenological shifts vary widely among taxa, and it is often unclear when shifts are adaptive or how they affect long-term viability. Here, we model evolution of flowering phenology based on our long-term research of two species exhibiting opp...
Book
Biological invasions exert multiple pervasive effects on ecosystems, potentially disrupting species interactions and global ecological processes. Our ability to successfully predict and manage the ecosystem-level impacts of biological invasions is strongly dependent on our capacity to empirically characterize complex biological interactions and the...
Article
Full-text available
Intraspecific variation is a major component of biodiversity, yet it has received relatively little attention from governmental and non-governmental organizations, especially with regard to conservation plans and the management of wild species. This omission is ill-advised because phenotypic and genetic variation within and among populations can ha...
Chapter
Biological invasions are ‘natural’ experiments that can improve our understanding of contemporary evolution. We evaluate evidence for population differentiation, natural selection and adaptive evolution of invading plants and animals at two nested spatial scales: (i) among introduced populations (ii) between native and introduced genotypes. Evoluti...
Chapter
Full-text available
Article
Full-text available
To understand what makes some species successful invaders, it is critical to quantify performance differences between native and introduced regions, and among populations occupying a broad range of environmental conditions within each region. However, these data are not available even for the world’s most notorious invasive species. Here we introdu...
Article
Full-text available
The success of invasive species has been explained by two contrasting but non-exclusive views: (i) intrinsic factors make some species inherently good invaders; (ii) species become invasive as a result of extrinsic eco-logical and genetic influences such as release from natural enemies, hybridization or other novel ecological and evolutionary inter...
Article
Full-text available
Anthropogenic climate change has already altered the timing of major life-history transitions, such as the initiation of reproduction. Both phenotypic plasticity and adaptive evolution can underlie rapid phenological shifts in response to climate change, but their relative contributions are poorly understood. Here, we combine a continuous 38 year f...
Article
Divergent natural selection promotes local adaptation and can lead to reproductive isolation of populations in contrasting environments; however, the genetic basis of local adaptation remains largely unresolved in natural populations. Local adaptation might result from antagonistic pleiotropy, where alternate alleles are favoured in distinct habita...
Article
Evolution during biological invasion may occur over contemporary timescales, but the rate of evolutionary change may be inhibited by a lack of standing genetic variation for ecologically relevant traits and by fitness trade-offs among them. The extent to which these genetic constraints limit the evolution of local adaptation during biological invas...
Article
Full-text available
The Editorial presents the focus, scope, policies, and the inaugural issue of NeoBiota, a new open access peer-reviewed journal of biological invasions. The new journal NeoBiota is a continuation of the former NEOBIOTA publication series. The journal will deal with all aspects of invasion biology and impose no restrictions on manuscript size neithe...
Article
Full-text available
Theory suggests that the contemporary evolution of local adaptation may increase the rate of biological invasion, yet natural selection has rarely been measured in invasive species. A recently published model predicted that latitudinal variation in the strength of stabilizing selection on two correlated traits——flowering time and size——can result i...
Article
Full-text available
Colonization may favor self-compatibility (SC) in invasive plants, a process consistent with Baker's law. We investigated this hypothesis in invasive eastern North American populations of tristylous Lythrum salicaria L. (purple loosestrife) by controlled self-and cross-pollinations of 124 plants sampled from 12 populations grown under uniform glass...
Article
Full-text available
Biological invasions may expose populations to strong selection for local adaptation along geographical gradients in climate. However, evolution during contemporary timescales can be constrained by low standing genetic variation and genetic correlations among life-history traits. We examined limits to local adaptation associated with northern migra...
Article
Invasions biologists have frequently debated whether the definition of invasive should include ecological and economic impacts. More recent criticisms posit that objective definitions are impossible in any absolute sense, while subjectivity is desirable for its flexibility and motivational qualities. We argue that such criticisms underestimate the...
Article
Recent biological invasions provide opportunities to investigate microevolution during contemporary timescales. The tempo and scope of local adaptation will be determined by the intensity of natural selection and the amounts and kinds of genetic variation within populations. In flowering plants, genetic diversity is strongly affected by interaction...
Article
Full-text available
Invasion ecology has been criticised for its lack of general principles. To explore this criticism, we conducted a meta-analysis that examined characteristics of invasiveness (i.e. the ability of species to establish in, spread to, or become abundant in novel communities) and invasibility (i.e. the susceptibility of habitats to the establishment or...
Article
Full-text available
Biological invasions by nonindigenous species (NIS) can have adverse effects on economically important goods and services, and sometimes result in an ‘invisible tax’ on natural resources (e.g. reduced yield). The combined economic costs of NIS may be significant, with implications for environmental policy and resource management; yet economic impac...
Article
The Eurasian spiny waterflea (Bythotrephes longimanus) is a predacious zooplankter that has increased its range in Europe and is rapidly invading inland water-bodies throughout North America's Great Lakes region. To examine the genetics of these invasions, we isolated five microsatellite DNA loci with between 5 and 19 alleles per locus. We sampled...
Article
Full-text available
Many recent studies of nonindigenous species (NIS) have used life history and morphological characteristics of invaders to either (i) build statistical models that predict new invaders or (ii) test ecological and evolutionary hypotheses. However, species characteristics may be confounded if NIS are transported or introduced nonrandomly with respect...
Article
Full-text available
Release from parasites, pathogens or predators (i.e. enemies) is a widely cited 'rule of thumb' to explain the proliferation of nonindigenous species in their introduced regions (i.e. the 'enemy release hypothesis', or ERH). Indeed, profound effects of some parasites and predators on host populations are well documented. However, some support for t...
Chapter
In this essay, we have provided a brief review of the rapidly expanding literature on biological invasions. Many of the hypotheses explored above are not mutually exclusive, and the processes that underlie them may act simultaneously, in concert or in opposition, to determine the ultimate success or failure of an invader at each invasion stage. Tho...
Chapter
I have presented here an optimistic view of the CM model and its potential as a unifying framework for both ecological theory and management practices. However, this model is only in an early stage of development, and there is still much work to be done. In particular, it is, I think, largely impossible to come up with a general scheme for the oper...
Article
Full-text available
Release of contaminated ballast water by transoceanic ships has been implicated in more than 70% of faunal nonindigenous species (NIS) introductions to the Great Lakes since the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959. Contrary to expectation, the apparent invasion rate increased after the initiation of voluntary guidelines in 1989 and mandatory...
Article
Full-text available
A recent trend in invasion ecology relates the success of non-indigenous species (NIS) to reduced control by enemies such as pathogens, parasites and predators (i.e. the enemy release hypothesis, ERH). Despite the demonstrated importance of enemies to host population dynamics, studies of the ERH are split – biogeographical analyses primarily show a...
Article
ABSTRACT The use of simple terms to articulate ecological concepts can confuse ideological debates and undermine management efforts. This problem is particularly acute in studies of nonindigenous species, which alternatively have been called ‘exotic’, ‘introduced’, ‘invasive’ and ‘naturalised’, among others. Attempts to redefine commonly used termi...
Chapter
Full-text available
Lake Ontario has an extensive history of biological invasions, extending more than 170 years. The rate of invasion began to increase during the 1870s, and accelerated after the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in the 1950s. Currently, there exist approximately 60 nonindigenous species (NIS) of vertebrate and invertebrate animals, protozoans, alga...
Article
Full-text available
Lake Superior receives a disproportionate number of ballast water discharges from transoceanic ships operating on the Laurentian Great Lakes. Although this provides dispersal opportunities for nonindigenous species (NIS), relatively few NIS were initially discovered in this lake prior to being recorded elsewhere in the basin. A lack of NIS records...
Article
Full-text available
Since completion of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959, at least 43 nonindigenous species (NIS) of animals and protists have established in the Laurentian Great Lakes, of which ~67% were attributed to discharge of ballast water from commercial ships. Twenty-three NIS were first discovered in four "hotspot" areas with a high representation of NIS, most...

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Projects

Projects (4)
Project
We are investigating interactions between the invasive plant Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) and soil microbial communities using a combination of field experiments, lab studies and high-throughput sequencing.
Project
We are using Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife) and Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) to investigate genetic changes and adaptive evolution during biological invasion.
Project
Focusing on a Lyme disease hotspot in Ontario (Queen’s University Biological Station and Murphy’s Point Provincial Park), our goals are: (i) identify potential human pathogens present in deer ticks sampled from these areas, (ii) identify landscape factors that pose the highest risk to human health, and (iii) apply new tests for pathogens present in biological samples from human patients suspected as having Lyme positive or Lyme negative according to conventional methods.