Science Research Maria Clauss Evolution Ecology


Scientific Research in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

The interaction between ecological and evolutionary processes in natural ecosystems has interested me for many years. Bet-hedging in desert environments and phenotypic plasticity in herbivore defense are two of the adaptive traits complexes I have investigated via field and greenhouse studies, molecular analyses and modelling.

Organisms of Study

• Short lived annual plants: Arabidopsis thaliana, Plantago ovata
• Perennial plants: Arabidopsis spp., Carex subspathecea

Field Research Locations

Fraenkische Schweiz, Germany
Organ Pipe National Monument, Sonoran Desert, Arizona, USA
La Perouse Bay, Churchill, Manitoba, Canada
Barro Colorado Island, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama
El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico


The following is a selection of the scientific articles I published in peer-reviewed journals while at the Max Plank Institute for Chemical Ecology, University of Arizona, Queen's University and University of Toronto.

• Molecular Evolution

Prasad, K.V.S.K, Bong, B., Olson-Manning, C., Anderson, J.T., Lee, C., Schranz, M.E., Windsor, A.J., Clauss, M.J., Manzaneda, A.J., Naqvi, I., Reichelt, M., Gershenzon, J., Rupasinghe, S.G., Schuler, M.A., Mitchell-Olds, T. (2012). A Gain-of-Function Polymorphism Controlling Complex Traits and Fitness in Nature. Science, 337(6098), 1081-1084.
Clauss, M. J., Koch, M. A. (2006). Poorly known relatives of Arabidopsis thaliana. Trends in Plant Science, 11(9), 449-459
Clauss, M. J., Mitchell-Olds, T. (2006). Population genetic structure of Arabidopsis lyrata in Europe. Molecular Ecology, 15(10), 2753-2766
Clauss, M. J., Mitchell-Olds, T. (2003). Population genetics of tandem trypsin inhibitor genes in Arabidopsis species with contrasting ecology and life history. Molecular Ecology, 12(5), 1287-1299.

• Herbivore Defense

Clauss, M. J., Dietel, S., Schubert, G., Mitchell-Olds, T. (2006). Glucosinolate and trichome defenses in a natural Arabidopsis lyrata population. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 32(11), 2351-2373.
Clauss, M. J., Mitchell-Olds, T. (2004). Functional divergence in tandemly duplicated Arabidopsis thaliana trypsin inhibitor genes. Genetics, 166(3), 1419-1436
Zellmer, I. D., M. J. Clauss, D. S. Hik and R.L . Jefferies. 1993. Growth responses of arctic graminoids to grazing by captive goslings. Oecologia 93:487-492.

• Life History Evolution

Leinonen, P. H., Sandring, S., Quilot, B., Clauss, M., Mitchell-Olds, T., Agren, J., et al. (2009). Local adaptation in European populations of Arabidopsis lyrata (Brassicaceae). American Journal of Botany, 96, 1129-1137.
Clauss, M. J., Venable, D. L. (2000). Seed germination in desert annuals: An empirical test of adaptive bet hedging. American Naturalist, 155(2), 168-186
Clauss, M. J. & L. W. Aarssen. (1994). Phenotypic plasticity of size-fecundity relationships in Arabidopsis thaliana. Journal of Ecology 82:447-456.