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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Awardee:UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS
Doing Business As Name:University of California-Davis
PD/PI:
  • Eric D Sanford
  • (707) 875-2040
  • edsanford@ucdavis.edu
Award Date:02/22/2019
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 519,028
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 519,028
  • FY 2019=$519,028
Start Date:04/01/2019
End Date:03/31/2022
Transaction Type:Grant
Agency:NSF
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.050
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Coastal mosaics of local adaptation and the eco-evolutionary dynamics of a marine predator-prey interaction
Federal Award ID Number:1851462
DUNS ID:047120084
Parent DUNS ID:071549000
Program:BIOLOGICAL OCEANOGRAPHY
Program Officer:
  • Cynthia Suchman
  • (703) 292-2092
  • csuchman@nsf.gov

Awardee Location

Street:OR/Sponsored Programs
City:Davis
State:CA
ZIP:95618-6134
County:Davis
Country:US
Awardee Cong. District:03

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory
Street:2099 Westshore Rd.
City:Bodega Bay
State:CA
ZIP:94923-0247
County:Bodega Bay
Country:US
Cong. District:02

Abstract at Time of Award

Historically, ecologists regarded evolution as a process that typically acts slowly over very long time scales. However, recent studies suggest that evolution might also shape the way species interact over much shorter timespans, ranging from weeks to years. Are these sorts of rapid feedbacks between evolution and ecology important in marine ecosystems? This project will address this question along the Pacific coast of the United States by studying predatory snails (Channeled Dogwhelks) that feed on California Mussels, an important habitat-forming species on rocky intertidal shores. Prior research shows that some dogwhelk populations are composed of an assortment of individuals that differ genetically in how effectively they can drill through mussel shells. This project will test whether short-term changes in the environment can impose rapid natural selection that favors some of these drilling variants over others, altering the effects that a dogwhelk population has on the surrounding mussel bed. At the same time, this project will examine whether regional differences in mussel shell thickness have influenced the evolution of drilling ability among dogwhelk populations distributed along >900 kilometers of the California and Oregon coasts. Overall, this study seeks to understand the dynamic feedbacks between evolution and ecology that might influence marine communities in the face of changing ocean conditions. This project will train diverse undergraduate and graduate students and will provide the foundation for a significant public outreach component, including the production of accessible video documentaries. This project seeks to advance our understanding of eco-evolutionary dynamics in the sea by investigating links among oceanographic variation, natural selection, species interactions, and community succession. This project will use the interaction between the Channeled Dogwhelk (Nucella canaliculata) and the California Mussel (Mytilus californianus) as a model system to address two central objectives. (1) The research team will explore how spatial mosaics of selection drive adaptive differentiation among populations of consumers. Newly collected and archived mussels will be analyzed to characterize variation in shell thickness along the coasts of California and Oregon, and to evaluate whether this spatial mosaic has been consistent or variable over the past two decades. Laboratory experiments will test whether dogwhelk populations distributed across this mosaic have diverged in the thickness of shell that they can drill successfully. (2) The research team will examine whether temporal variation in selection on consumer phenotypes shapes predator-prey interactions, with cascading effects on ecological dynamics. In particular, the project will test whether short-term variation in prey recruitment and shell thickness can impose rapid selection on the frequency of drilling phenotypes within a dogwhelk population. A field experiment will also test whether selection on these predator phenotypes in turn alters the trajectory of mussel bed succession. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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