Associate Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences
We were able to travel the same awe-inspiring trail that Langsdorff took when he crossed Unalaska, sampling monkeyflowers at places that we believe this fascinating species originated from. Up to now, imperfect historical records have made it challenging to fully understand and reconstruct the history of biological invasions such as these.
Dr Mario Vallejo-Marin, Associate Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences who led the expedition and study, said: "Unravelling the history of biological invasions provides a starting point to understand how invasive populations adapt to new environments. These invasions are one of the most important threats we see to biodiversity so understanding how native and invasive populations are related to one another goes some way to helping us understand how to best protect environments in the future.”
The multinational research – entitled ‘Population genomic and historical analysis suggests a global invasion by bridgehead processes in Mimulus guttatus’ – was funded by National Geographic, the Natural Environment Research Council, the National Science Foundation, the European Research Council and the Mésocentre de Calcul Intensif Aquitain.
Dr Vallejo-Marin was joined on the Alaskan expedition by experts from universities in the USA and Canada as well as local botanical authorities Suzi Golodoff and Stacy Studebaker. The research involved collaborators who sampled species across the world including New Zealand and the Faroe Islands.