Rowan D H Barrett

Rowan D H Barrett
McGill University | McGill · Redpath Museum

About

50
Publications
16,416
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4,675
Citations
Citations since 2016
24 Research Items
2822 Citations
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20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500

Publications

Publications (50)
Preprint
Full-text available
Parallel evolution is considered strong evidence for natural selection. However, few studies have investigated the process of parallel selection as it plays out in real time. The common approach is to study historical signatures of selection in populations already well adapted to different environments. Here, to document selection in action under n...
Article
Disruptive natural selection within populations exploiting different resources is considered to be a major driver of adaptive radiation and the production of biodiversity. Fitness functions, which describe the relationships between trait variation and fitness, can help to illuminate how this disruptive selection leads to population differentiation....
Article
Horizon scanning is a systematic approach increasingly used in conservation to explore emerging trends, issues, opportunities, and threats. We present the results from one such exercise aimed at identifying emerging issues that could have important scientific, social, technological, and managerial implications for the conservation of inland waters...
Article
Full-text available
The repeatability of adaptive radiation is expected to be scale-dependent, with determinism decreasing as greater spatial separation among "replicates" leads to their increased genetic and ecological independence. Threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) provide an opportunity to test whether this expectation holds for the early stages of ad...
Article
Full-text available
Identifying genetic variation involved in thermal adaptation is likely to yield insights into how species adapt to different climates. Physiological and behavioural responses associated with overwintering (e.g. torpor) are thought to serve important functions in climate adaptation. In this study, we use two isolated Peromyscus leucopus lineages on...
Article
Full-text available
Evolutionary approaches are gaining popularity in conservation science, with diverse strategies applied in efforts to support adaptive population outcomes. Yet conservation strategies differ in the type of adaptive outcomes they promote as conservation goals. For instance, strategies based on genetic or demographic rescue implicitly target adaptive...
Article
Parallel evolution across replicate populations has provided evolutionary biologists with iconic examples of adaptation. When multiple populations colonize seemingly similar habitats, they may evolve similar genes, traits, or functions. Yet, replicated evolution in nature or in the laboratory often yields inconsistent outcomes: Some replicate popul...
Preprint
Full-text available
Adaptive evolution can occur when genetic change affects traits subject to natural selection. Although selection is a deterministic process, adaptation can be difficult to predict in finite populations because the functional connections between genotype, phenotype, and fitness are complex. Here, we make these connections using a combination of fiel...
Article
The keystone species concept is used in ecology to describe individual species with disproportionately large effects on their communities. We extend this idea to the level of genes with disproportionately large effects on ecological processes. Such ‘keystone genes’ (KGs) would underlie traits involved in species interactions or causing critical bio...
Article
Full-text available
Epigenetic modification, especially DNA methylation, can play an important role in mediating gene regulatory response to environmental stressors, and may be a key process affecting phenotypic plasticity and adaptation. Parasites are potent stressors with profound physiological and ecological effects on their hosts, yet it remains unclear how parasi...
Article
The evolutionary consequences of temporal variation in selection remain hotly debated. We explored these consequences by studying threespine stickleback in a set of bar-built estuaries along the central California coast. In most years, heavy rains induce water flow strong enough to break through isolating sand bars, connecting streams to the ocean....
Presentation
Full-text available
Evolutionarily-informed approaches in conservation typically focus on fostering adaptive responses to human modified environments. Goals guiding such approaches are generally aimed either at maintaining optimal traits (i.e. conservation for an adaptive state) or increasing adaptive potential (i.e. conservation for an adaptive process). When viewed...
Article
Range expansion has genetic consequences expected to result in differentiated wave-front populations with low genetic variation and potentially introgression from a local species. The northern expansion of Peromyscus leucopus in southern Quebec provides an opportunity to test these predictions using population genomic tools. Our results show eviden...
Article
Full-text available
The repeated phenotypic patterns that characterize populations undergoing parallel evolution provide support for a deterministic role of adaptation by natural selection. Determining the level of parallelism also at the genetic level is thus central to our understanding of how natural selection works. Many studies have looked for repeated genomic pa...
Poster
Full-text available
Epigenetic modification, especially DNA methylation, can play an important role in mediating gene regulatory response to environmental stressors, and may be a key process affecting phenotypic plasticity and adaptation. Parasites are potent stressors with profound physiological and ecological effects on their hosts, yet it remains unclear that how p...
Article
Full-text available
Rapid climate change produces a range of new selection pressures on natural populations. While populations may respond by shifting their geographical range or the timing of growth or reproduction; these strategies can be interrupted by habitat fragmentation, natural barriers, or an inadequate ability to keep pace with the speed and magnitude of cli...
Article
Full-text available
Parallel evolution of similar traits by independent populations in similar environments is considered strong evidence for adaptation by natural selection. Often, however, replicate populations in similar environments do not all evolve in the same way, thus deviating from any single, predominant outcome of evolution. This variation might arise from...
Article
Rapid environmental change currently presents a major threat to global biodiversity and ecosystem functions, and understanding impacts on individual populations is critical to creating reliable predictions and mitigation plans. One emerging tool for this goal is high-throughput sequencing technology, which can now be used to scan the genome for sig...
Article
The study of ecological speciation is inherently linked to the study of selection. Methods for estimating phenotypic selection within a generation based on associations between trait values and fitness (e.g., survival) of individuals are established. These methods attempt to disentangle selection acting directly on a trait from indirect selection c...
Article
Ecological speciation occurs when populations evolve reproductive isolation as a result of divergent natural selection. This isolation can be influenced by many potential reproductive barriers, including selection against hybrids, selection against migrants, and assortative mating. How and when these barriers act and interact in nature is understoo...
Article
The selection coefficient, s, quantifies the strength of selection acting on a genetic variant. Despite this parameter's central importance to population genetic models, until recently we have known relatively little about the value of s in natural populations. With the development of molecular genetic techniques in the late 20(th) century and the...
Article
The evolution of reproductive isolation (RI) is a critical step shaping progress toward speciation. In the context of ecological speciation, a critical question is the extent to which specific reproductive barriers important to RI evolve rapidly and predictably in response to environmental differences. Only reproductive barriers with these properti...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract When a signature of natural selection is discovered on a gene that is pleiotropic or in tight linkage with other genes, it is challenging to determine which of the affected phenotypes is under selection. One way to make progress is to employ methods for analyzing natural selection on correlated traits, including both genotype and phenotype...
Article
This chapter considers the notion of evolutionary responses in mitigating the harmful effects of environmental change. It describes how the persistence of populations will depend of phenotypic responses that better suit individuals for new conditions as a result of rapid environmental global change. It discusses how these evolutionary responses occ...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Although natural selection is a deterministic process, the predictability of local adaptation might be limited because the ecological sources of selection and the genomic basis of adaptive traits can be complex. Here, I will describe work which shows that natural selection can have predictable effects on specific phenot...
Article
Phenotypic plasticity is predicted to facilitate individual survival and/or evolve in response to novel environments. Plasticity that facilitates survival should both permit colonization and act as a buffer against further evolution, with contemporary and derived forms predicted to be similarly plastic for a suite of traits. On the other hand, give...
Article
Full-text available
The identification of precise mutations is required for a complete understanding of the underlying molecular and evolutionary mechanisms driving adaptive phenotypic change. Using plasticine models in the field, we show that the light coat color of deer mice that recently colonized the light-colored soil of the Nebraska Sand Hills provides a strong...
Article
A fundamental goal for evolutionary biologists is to connect the processes of natural selection and genetic drift with the maintenance of genetic variation in the wild. There are now scores of examples in which mapping phenotypes to genotypes has identified the molecular basis of traits in natural populations, but documenting the fitness consequenc...
Article
Full-text available
Although much progress has been made in identifying the genes (and, in rare cases, mutations) that contribute to phenotypic variation, less is known about the effects that these genes have on fitness. Nonetheless, genes are commonly labelled as 'adaptive' if an allele has been shown to affect a phenotype with known or suspected functional importanc...
Conference Paper
While the study of reaction norms has provided evidence of how phenotypic variation may be influenced by environmental change, the evolutionary consequences of these changes remain poorly understood. Phenotypic plasticity can occur at different hierarchical levels, from ‘macrophenotypic’ changes in morphology to physiological and transcriptional pl...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change is predicted to lead to increased average temperatures and greater intensity and frequency of high and low temperature extremes, but the evolutionary consequences for biological communities are not well understood. Studies of adaptive evolution of temperature tolerance have typically involved correlative analyses of natural populatio...
Article
Full-text available
Growing knowledge of the molecular basis of adaptation in wild populations is expanding the study of natural selection. We summarize ongoing efforts to infer three aspects of natural selection--mechanism, form and history--from the genetics of adaptive evolution in threespine stickleback that colonized freshwater after the last ice age. We tested a...
Article
The three-spined stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus is a model species for studying questions in ecology and evolution. The rapid diversification of G. aculeatus in post-glacial freshwater environments, combined with recently developed molecular tools, provides a unique opportunity to study the functional basis of fitness variation in natural popul...
Article
Full-text available
Adaptive divergence may be facilitated if morphological and behavioural traits associated with local adaptation share the same genetic basis. It is therefore important to determine whether genes underlying adaptive morphological traits are associated with variation in behaviour in natural populations. Positive selection on low-armour alleles at the...
Article
Adaptive radiation occurs when divergent natural selection in different environments leads to phenotypic differentiation. The pleiotropic effects of underlying genes can either promote or constrain this diversification. Identifying the pleiotropic effects of genes responsible for divergent traits, and testing how the environment influences these ef...
Article
Full-text available
Experimental estimates of the effects of selection on genes determining adaptive traits add to our understanding of the mechanisms of evolution. We measured selection on genotypes of the Ectodysplasin locus, which underlie differences in lateral plates in threespine stickleback fish. A derived allele (low) causing reduced plate number has been fixe...
Article
Full-text available
The 3rd regular meeting of the Canadian Society of Ecology and Evolution was held at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada from 11 to 14 May 2008.
Article
Populations adapt to novel environments in two distinct ways: selection on pre-existing genetic variation and selection on new mutations. These alternative sources of beneficial alleles can result in different evolutionary dynamics and distinct genetic outcomes. Compared with new mutations, adaptation from standing genetic variation is likely to le...
Article
Full-text available
For a general theory of adaptation, it is essential to know the distribution of fitness effects of beneficial mutations. Recent theoretical and empirical studies have made considerable progress in determining the characteristics of this distribution. To date, the experiments have largely verified the theoretical predictions. Despite the fact that t...
Article
Full-text available
The fixation of a beneficial mutation represents the first step in adaptation, and the average effect of such mutations is therefore a fundamental property of evolving populations. It is nevertheless poorly characterized because the rarity of beneficial mutations makes it difficult to obtain reliable estimates of fitness. We obtained 68 genotypes e...
Article
Determining the mechanisms that promote the evolution of diversity is a central problem in evolutionary biology. Previous studies have demonstrated that diversification occurs in complex environments and that genotypes specialized on alternative resources can be maintained over short time scales. Here, we describe a selection experiment that has tr...
Article
Determining the mechanisms that promote the evolution of diversity is a central problem in evolutionary biology. Previous studies have demonstrated that diversification occurs in complex environments and that genotypes specialized on alternative resources can be maintained over short time scales. Here, we describe a selection experiment that has tr...
Article
Full-text available
In complex environments that contain several substitutable resources, lineages may become specialized to consume only one or a few of them. Here we investigate the importance of environmental complexity in determining the evolution of niche width over approximately 900 generations in a chemically defined experimental system. We propagated 120 repli...
Article
Our paper on spiders provides an early demonstration of the power of DNA barcoding; we believe that its conclusions will prove scalable to all eukaryotes. We further anticipate that the "Barcode of Life" movement will soon lead to automated systems for species identification and discovery. However, we emphasize that these systems will operate withi...
Article
Full-text available
With almost 40 000 species, the spiders provide important model systems for studies of sociality, mating systems, and sexual dimorphism. However, work on this group is regularly constrained by difficulties in species identification. DNA-based identification systems represent a promising approach to resolve this taxonomic impediment, but their effic...
Article
Full-text available
Host-plant genotype, environment, and ontogeny all play a role in determining plant resistance to herbivory, yet little is known about the nature of the interactions among these factors. We investigated resistance of cucumber plants Cucumis sativus to the generalist herbivore Spodoptera exigua in a manipulative experiment involving three factors. I...

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Projects (2)
Project
The goal is to understand how connectivity between ecosystems can affect the destabilizing effects that nutrients have on aquatic ecosytems.