Skip to main content

A7: Plasticity in thermal acclimation in selfing vs. outcrossing Capsella species

Prof. Dr. Ralph Tiedemann

Institute for Biochemistry and Biology, University of Potsdam, Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 24-25, 14476 Potsdam

Tel. +49-331-9775249, ralph.tiedemannuni-potsdamde



This project focusses on the genetic basis and evolution of physiological plasticity as expressed in acquired thermotolerance (aTT), using three Capsella species with varying aTT and reproductive mode (selfing vs. outcrossing) as models. aTT is the phenomenon where plants can survive an otherwise lethal heat shock if they have been pretreated with a sublethal heat shock, and this altered physiological state is maintained for several days. Depending on the length or strength of the first acclimatizing heat shock as the variable environmental cue, the extent of aTT as the plastic response varies, and species of Capsella differ in the reaction norm linking the strength of the acclimatizing heat shock to the extent of aTT.

The selected candidate will explore the high levels of genetic diversity found in the obligately outbreeding species C. grandiflora to dissect the genetic and molecular basis for variation in aTT plasticity and its evolution, applying genomics/transcriptomics and associated bioinformatics. In particular, the project will address three main questions: (1) Which genes underlie the plasticity of aTT and its variation in C. grandiflora? (2) What is the heat-inducible gene-regulatory network in C. grandiflora and which of its genes harbour natural genetic variation? and (3) How does the evolution of self-compatibility in C. rubella and C. orientalis impact aTT plasticity and its intraspecific variation? Results from these analyses will be integrated with the outcome of a selection experiment to determine whether selection lines converge to specific allelic combinations at plasticity genes.


Project-related publications

Romero-Mujalli D, Rochow M, Kahl S, Paraskevopoulou S, Folkertsma R, Jeltsch F, Tiedemann R (2021) Adaptive and non-adaptive plasticity in changing environments: implications for sexual species with different life history strategies. Ecology and Evolution 11, 6341-6357.

Paraskevopoulou S, Dennis AB, Weithoff G, Tiedemann R (2020) Temperature-dependent life history and transcriptomic responses in heat-tolerant versus heat-sensitive Brachionus rotifers. Scientific Reports 10, 13281.

Paraskevopoulou S, Dennis AB, Weithoff G, Hartmann S,  Tiedemann R (2019) Within species expressed genetic variability and gene expression response to different temperatures in the rotifer Brachionus calyciflorus sensu stricto. PLoS ONE 14, e0223134.

Paraskevopoulou S, Tiedemann R, Weithoff G (2018) Differential response to heat-stress among evolutionary lineages of an aquatic invertebrate species complex.Biology Letters 14, 20180498.