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Are exotic hybrids dominant in urban habitats?

Project Full Title:

Using genomic data to investigate the nature of exotic trees in the urban habitats

Project Mentor(s):

Li,Jianhua

Project Mentor(s) EMail:

li@hope.edu

Project Start Date:

5/16/2022

Project End Date:

7/22/2022

Project Description:

Exotic invasive species including trees, shrubs, herbs, and animals have become widely distributed in some urban habitats in the United States; however, the nature of such species have not been studied thoroughly. Yew tree seedlings have been observed in many urban habitats and their morphological traits demonstrate some intermediacies among several native and exotic species. Their widespread distribution and morphological variation point to the possibility of their hybrid origin. In this study, we focus on testing the hypothesis that the yew trees in urban habitats represent a hybrid swarm composed of several parental species and their hybrid offspring using genomic data from nuclear, chloroplast, and mitochondrial genomes. The results will help gain insights into the nature of the invasive urban trees, interactions among native and exotic species, and the consequences of the interactions at the morphological and genetic levels.

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