Dr Akane Uesugi
Lecturer - Plant Ecology
Akane is a lecturer in plant ecology and evolutionary biology, with a particular interest in understanding ecological and evolutionary drivers of plant invasion. Using field and greenhouse experiments, plant secondary metabolite analyses, quantitative genetics analyses, and ecological niche modelling, Akane’s current research projects with goldenrod (Solidago altissima) and capeweed (Arctotheca calendula) ask:
- Why do some exotic species become invasive in their novel ranges (and why some don’t)?
- Do invasive populations have evolutionary potential to adapt to novel environments and expand their distributions?
- How will invasive species distributions change under climate change?
- How does allelopathy (chemical inhibition of competitor plants) influence plant invasions?
- Does a release from herbivory lead to evolution of plant defense in invasive ranges?
- How do invasive plants become adapted to arid environments, and what physiological and chemical traits are involved in the adaptation?
- How do plants communicate the presence of herbivores with each other?
- What ecological interactions drive the evolution of flower colour polymorphism?
Akane has a broad background in ecology, with her previous projects extending to plant-insect interactions, plant-mycorrhizal interactions, plant chemical ecology, community and landscape ecology (birds), and plant eco-physiology.
Akane received PhD from University of Michigan (USA). Prior to joining RMIT, Akane held several postdoctoral and teaching positions:
- DECRA fellow (Monash University, 2018-current)
- Research and teaching associate (Monash University, 2014-2020)
- Postdoctoral fellow (Cornell University, USA, 2009-2014)
- Lecturer (Ithaca College, USA, 2010-2013)
If you are interested in joining Akane’s research group as either a Ph.D., M.Sc. or Honours student, please get in touch by emailing to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan, USA, 2009
- M. Sc. in Environmental Earth Science, Hokkaido University, Japan, 2003
- B.A. in Biology, Bowdoin College, USA, 2000
- Carvalho, C.,Davis, R.,Connallon, T.,Gleadow, R.,Moore, J.,Uesugi, A. (2022). Multivariate selection mediated by aridity predicts divergence of drought-resistant traits along natural aridity gradients of an invasive weed In: New Phytologist, 234, 1088 - 1100
- Lloyd, G.,Uesugi, A.,Gleadow, R. (2021). Effects of salinity on the growth and nutrition of taro (Colocasia esculenta): Implications for food security In: Plants, 10, 1 - 17
- Uesugi, A.,Baker, D.,de Silva, N.,Nurkowski, K.,Hodgins, K. (2020). A lack of genetically compatible mates constrains the spread of an invasive weed In: New Phytologist, 226, 1864 - 1872
- Kalske, A.,Shioriji, K.,Uesugi, A.,Sakata, Y.,Morrell, K.,Kessler, A. (2019). Insect Herbivory Selects for Volatile-Mediated Plant-Plant Communication In: Current Biology, 29, 3128 - 3133.e3
- Boheemen, L.,Bou-Assi, S.,Uesugi, A.,Hodgins, K. (2019). Rapid growth and defence evolution following multiple introductions In: Ecology and Evolution, 9, 7942 - 7956
- Uesugi, A.,Johnson, R.,Kessler, A. (2019). Context-dependent induction of allelopathy in plants under competition In: Oikos, 128, 1492 - 1502
- Uesugi, A.,Connallon, T.,Kessler, A.,Monro, K. (2017). Relaxation of herbivore-mediated selection drives the evolution of genetic covariances between plant competitive and defense traits In: Evolution, 71, 1700 - 1709
- Uesugi, A.,Kessler, A. (2016). Herbivore release drives parallel patterns of evolutionary divergence in invasive plant phenotypes In: Journal of Ecology, 104, 876 - 886
- Uesugi, A.,Morrell, K.,Poelman, E.,Raaijmakers, C.,Kessler, A. (2016). Modification of plant-induced responses by an insect ecosystem engineer influences the colonization behaviour of subsequent shelter-users In: Journal of Ecology, 104, 1096 - 1105
- Uesugi, A. (2015). The slow-growth high-mortality hypothesis: Direct experimental support in a leafmining fly In: Ecological Entomology, 40, 221 - 228
2 PhD Current Supervisions
- Eco-evolutionary drivers of niche dynamics in invasive weeds. Funded by: ARC Discovery Projects commencing in 2022 from (2022 to 2025)
- Experimental tests of driver-passenger hypotheses: effects of weeds, fire, and soil microbes on native plant restoration. Funded by: Australian Academy of Science (AAS) Thomas Davies Research Grant for Marine, Soil and Plant Biology (2018 onwards) from (2021 to 2023)
- Evolution of chemical warfare in invasive plants. Funded by: Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) 2018 from (2018 to 2022)