The Evolution of Tolerance to Browsing

EPA Grant Number: U914995
Title: The Evolution of Tolerance to Browsing
Investigators: Juenger, Thomas E.
Institution: University of Chicago
EPA Project Officer: Lee, Sonja
Project Period: January 1, 1996 through January 1, 1998
Project Amount: $102,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1996) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Fellowship - Ecology and Ecosystems


The objective of this research project is to apply ecological and quantitative genetic experiments to evaluate the factors that influence levels of tolerance to grazing in a natural plant population. These results will expand the body of knowledge of herbivore-imposed selection for tolerance traits and the potential dynamics of the evolution of tolerance.


Tolerance can be viewed as a plastic response of plant development in response to herbivore damage. Plants often exhibit plastic responses to damage, and more importantly, different genotypes may differ in the extent of their plastic responses. This split-brood quantitative genetic experiment will evaluate the relative importance of environmental versus genetic factors on levels of tolerance to browsing in a natural plant population. Similarly, phenotypic natural selection experiments will be used to test for the shape and form of herbivore-imposed selection on putative tolerance traits. These results have been coupled with standard models of the evolution of plasticity to evaluate the dynamics of the evolution of tolerance.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, tolerance, browsing, grazing, natural plant population, tolerance traits, plant development., RFA, Scientific Discipline, ECOSYSTEMS, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecological Monitoring, Ecology and Ecosystems, Ecological Indicators, ecosystem assessment, plant genotypes, environmental vs genetic factors, ecosystem effects, genetic consequences, plant community structure, ecological assessment, plant development and tolerance traits, assessment methods, genetic differentiation, adaptation, ecological research

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1996
  • Final