Working Group

Floral assembly: quantifying the composition of a complex adaptive structure

PI(s): Charles Fenster (University of Maryland-University College)
William Scott Armbruster (University of Alaska-Fairbanks)
Start Date: 1-Mar-2008
End Date: 1-Mar-2010
Keywords: natural selection, adaptation, gene structure and function

Flowers are both incredibly diverse, and evolutionarily labile. Furthermore, the relationship between floral structure and function is well documented, as are the many selective agents responsible for floral diversification. We know relatively little, however, about how the many traits that comprise a functioning flower have been assembled over the course of evolutionary history. The focus of our working group is to understand the evolutionary history of flowers. We propose to bring together experts in several fields pertaining to floral biology, including genetics, development, ecological function, systematics, and evolution. Together, we will define a research agenda for considering floral evolution from a multivariate perspective and promote the flower as a model system for understanding the evolution of complex traits.