Phenotypic Evolution and Plasticity

Surprisingly, the asexual females of P. antipodarum have been very successful at invading and spreading in new environments globally. Asexual populations have invaded a range of environments globally, from warm lakes and streams in Australia, estuaries of the Baltic Sea in northern Europe, the Great Lakes and the intermountain west in the USA. Recently, our research has focused on these populations.  Most have little genotypic variation, raising the question of how they adapt to new environments.

Our most recent projects focus on mechanisms that contribute to the success of asexual clonal populations, and adaptation and plasticity in variable environments.  We are addressing these questions by studying plasticity when multiple environmental variables change simultaneously, transgenerational plasticity, and epigenetic variation.


*Kistner, E.J. and M.F. Dybdahl.  2014.  Parallel variation among populations in the shell morphology between sympatric native and invasive aquatic snails.  Biological Invasions. 10.1007/s10530-014-0691-4

Levri E.P., Krist A.C., Bilka R., Dybdahl M.F.  2014. Phenotypic Plasticity of the Introduced New Zealand Mud Snail, Potamopyrgus antipodarum, Compared to Sympatric Native Snails. PLoS ONE 9(4): e93985. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0093985

*Kistner, E. and M.F. Dybdahl.  2013. Adaptive responses and invasion: the role of plasticity and evolution in snail shell morphology. Evolution and Ecology. doi: 10.1002/ece3.471

Dybdahl M.F.,and *Drown DM. 2011. The absence of genotypic diversity in a successful parthenogenetic invader. Biological Invasions 13: 1663-1672.

*Drown DM, Levri EP, Dybdahl M.F. 2010. Invasive genotypes are opportunistic specialists not general purpose genotypes. Evolutionary Applications 4: 132-143.


Dybdahl, M.F. and S.L. Kane. 2005. Adaptation versus phenotypic plasticity in the success of a clonal invader. Ecology. 86:1592-1601

Dybdahl, M.F. 1995. Selection on life-history traits across a wave exposure gradient in the tidepool copepod Tigriopus californicus. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 192:195-210

Dybdahl, M.F. 1994. Extinction, recolonization, and the genetic structure of tidepool copepods. Evolutionary Ecology 8:113-124



*WSU graduate student author