Dr. Eugenio (Keno) Larios
I am a plant evolutionary ecologist broadly interested in the evolution of fitness-related traits, the influence of environmental parameters on their evolutionary dynamics, and the multiple selective pressures that interact to determine the final outcome of phenotypic selection. My research uses demography, plant-animal interactions, and manipulative experiments to answer questions related to the dynamics of selection of fitness-related traits and empirical tests of ecological theory. I mainly focus on the evolutionary ecology of the seeds of annual plants in desert ecosystems and the trade-offs that shape their adaptive evolution.
I am now starting a postdoctoral project in the Mazer lab working with the quantitative genetics of seed size and correlated fitness-related traits in Dithyrea californica, a model system that has allowed me to investigate the selective dynamics of seed size in the wild. D. californica has a special feature that allows us to retrospectively know the size of the seed from which individual plants originated: a persistent mericarpal ring that stays attached to the root for an individual’s entire life. In this project, we are going to create pedigreed seeds from four populations of D. californica using a diallel design and then perform a series of selection experiments to investigate how seed size and fitness-related traits evolve in heterogeneous environments.