Shayla Salzman

Shayla Salzman
Cornell University | CU · Department of Plant Biology

Organismic and Evolutionary Biology PhD

About

24
Publications
8,542
Reads
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266
Citations
Introduction
I am interested in the evolution and molecular mechanisms that underly plant-insect interactions. I am currently studying Zamia cycads and their weevil pollinators and lepidopteran herbivores. This system is particularly interesting in their apparent species specific interactions, highly toxic plant tissue, and threatened conservation statuses.
Additional affiliations
September 2014 - present
Boston Juvenile Justice
Position
  • Math Tutor
Description
  • Meet weekly with incarcerated youth to work one on one or in groups on essential math skills for high school credit or GED preparation
January 2014 - January 2014
Harvard University
Position
  • Course Instructor
Description
  • Designed and led graduate student focused course on writing op-ed pieces for the public presentation of science
August 2013 - present
Harvard University
Position
  • PhD Student
Description
  • Evolution and molecular mechanisms of plant-insect interactions in Zamia cycads with their Rhopalotria pollinators
Education
August 2010 - May 2012
University of California, Berkeley
Field of study
  • Genetics and Plant Biology

Publications

Publications (24)
Article
Full-text available
Five insect species including three species of weevils (Coleoptera) and two species of lycaenid butterflies (Lepidoptera) that feed exclusively on the carcinogenic and neurotoxic tissues of cycads were found to share a core set of bacterial phylotypes, including the bacterium Raoultella ornithinolytica, which has known anti-cancer and nitrogen-fixi...
Article
Full-text available
Most cycads engage in brood-site pollination mutualisms, yet the mechanism by which the Cycadales entice pollination services from diverse insect mutualists remains unknown. Here, we characterize a push-pull pollination mechanism between a New World cycad and its weevil pollinators that mirrors the mechanism between a distantly related Old World cy...
Article
Full-text available
Cycads are an ancient group of tropical gymnosperms that are toxic to most animals - including humans - though the larvae of many moths and butterflies (order: Lepidoptera) feed on cycads with apparent immunity. These insects belong to distinct lineages with varying degrees of specialisation and diverse feeding ecologies, presenting numerous opport...
Article
Full-text available
Coevolution between plants and insects is thought to be responsible for generating biodiversity. Extensive research has focused largely on antagonistic herbivorous relationships, but mutualistic pollination systems also likely contribute to diversification. Here we describe an example of chemically-mediated mutualistic species interactions affectin...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract— Rapid radiations are notoriously difficult to resolve, yet understanding phylogenetic patterns in such lineages can be useful for investigating evolutionary processes associated with bursts of speciation and morphological diversification. Here we present an expansive molecular phylogeny of Costus L. (Costaceae Nakai) with a focus on the N...
Article
Cycads (Cycadales) are among the most ancient lineages of extant seed-bearing plants and are the most threatened plant order on Earth, with circa 75% of the 356 accepted species endangered or threatened with extinction. Zamia is the most species-rich (81 spp.) and widely distributed cycad genus in the Americas, notable for its morphological and eco...
Article
Full-text available
Male butterflies in the hyperdiverse tribe Eumaeini possess an unusually complex and diverse repertoire of secondary sexual characteristics involved in pheromone production and dissemination. Maintaining multiple sexually selected traits is likely to be metabolically costly, potentially resulting in trade-offs in the evolution of male signals. Howe...
Preprint
Full-text available
Regulation of flowering is a crucial event in the evolutionary history of angiosperms. The production of flowers is regulated through the integration of different environmental and endogenous stimuli, many of which involve the activation of different genes in a hierarchical and complex signaling network. The FLOWERING LOCUS T / TERMINAL FLOWER 1 (...
Article
Full-text available
Significance Opsins are photosensitive receptors capturing specific wavelengths of incoming light to convey color vision across animals. Lack of reliable expression systems to study invertebrate G q opsins has limited our ability to tease apart genotype–phenotype relationships underlying spectral tuning and visual adaptations in insects compared to...
Article
Full-text available
Though once considered extinct in Florida, the Eumaeus atala butterfly (Poey) (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) has made a slow but steady recovery thanks to grassroots conservation efforts targeting the butterfly and its only native foodplant, the cycad Zamia integrifolia L.f. (Cycadales: Zamiaceae). A robust E. atala population occurs at the Montgomery B...
Article
Full-text available
The cover image is based on the Review and Synthesis Ecology and evolution of cycad‐feeding Lepidoptera by Melissa R. L. Whitaker and Shayla Salzman https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.13581. Photo Credit: Shayla Salzman
Preprint
Full-text available
Colour vision is largely mediated by changes in number, expression, and spectral properties of rhodopsins, but the genetic mechanisms underlying adaptive shifts in spectral sensitivity remain largely unexplored. Using in vivo photochemistry, optophysiology, and in vitro functional assays, we link variation in eye spectral sensitivity at long wavele...
Article
Full-text available
Knowing what animals eat is fundamental to our ability to understand and manage biodiversity and ecosystems, but researchers often must rely on indirect methods to infer trophic position and food intake. Using an approach that combines evidence from stable isotope analysis and DNA metabarcoding, we assessed the diet and trophic position of Anthene...
Article
Full-text available
While most species within the genus Chamaecostus (Costaceae) are well defined, the broad geographic range and long list of synonyms associated with Chamaecostus subsessilis led us to believe there may be some cryptic species within the complex. We thus investigate the phylogenetic relationships of species in the Chamaecostus lineage and specificall...
Article
Full-text available
This paper describes the first record of the cosmopolitan moth Anatrachyntis badia on the native Florida cycad Zamia integrifolia, and discusses its possible pollination benefit for this threatened plant. This new record is interesting due to the highly toxic nature of these endangered plants as well as their strict reliance on insect pollination f...
Article
Full-text available
Herbivores possess many counteradaptations to plant defenses, and a growing body of research describes the role of symbiotic gut bacteria in mediating herbivorous diets among insects. However, persistent bacterial symbioses have not been found in Lepidoptera, despite the fact that perhaps 99% of the species in this order are herbivorous. We surveye...
Article
Species can arise via the divisive effects of allopatry as well as due to ecological and/or reproductive character displacement within sympatric populations. Two separate lineages of Costaceae are native to the Neotropics; an early-diverging clade endemic to South America (consisting of ca. 16 species in the genera Monocostus, Dimerocostus and Cham...
Article
Full-text available
While most species within the genus Chamaecostus (Costaceae) are well defined, the broad geographic range and long list of synonyms associated with Chamaecostus subsessilis led us to believe there may be some cryptic species within the complex. We thus investigate the phylogenetic relationships of species in the Chamaecostus lineage and specificall...

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Projects

Projects (2)
Project
This project goal is to investigate evolutionary processes responsable for diversification in Costaceae (Zingiberales). We study detailed morphological analysis allied to interpretation of ecological and geographical patterns in a phylogenetic framework.
Project
Zamia cycads with their Rhopalotria weevil pollinators represent a strict mutualism. I am investigating the phenotypic basis of the relationship, and looking for phenotypic and genotypic evidence of the evolution of the mutualism.