Dr. Sapir Yuval

Yuval obtained his BSc in Biology in 1997 at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. He loved the botanical-garden-like campus in Givat Ram, so he stayed there for his MSc and PhD. His master’s thesis dealt with Iris morphological taxonomy, while in his doctorate thesis he studied the pollination ecology of the Oncocyclus irises. He received his PhD in 2004. During a postdoc at Indiana University (USA) he carried out research on the ecological genetics of hybrid sunflower species, Helianthus anomalus, and on the pollination ecology of recombinant inbred lines of the cultivated and wild common sunflower. Yuval Joined Tel Aviv University as a Porter research fellow in School for Environmental Studies in 2008. He appointed as a director of the Tel Aviv University Botanical Garden in 2009 and joined the Dept. of Plant Sciences as a faculty member in 2012. His current research interests include the evolution of plants under climate changes, ecological speciation of Oncocyclus irises, and the effect of pollinators’ behavior on the evolution of flowers.

Our main interest is in the evolutionary ecology of plants, which is the interface between environmental factors and genetics. Ever since Darwin, scientists have wondered about the role of ecological factors as agents of natural selection in evolution. Our research objective is to uncover the genetic mechanisms governing plant’s adaptations and its ecological interactions, and how phenotypic selection drives evolution. We are studying adaptations of plants to biotic and abiotic factors, as well as adaptive species divergence and ecological speciation. Major research topics include pollination biology and flower evolution, adaptation to climate and conservation biology. We combine multiple biological levels, from gene to population to species, in order to reveal a broad view on the evolutionary process. We use molecular and ecological methods in model and non-model plants, in order to understand the source of the vast diversity, and the astonishing beauty, of plants.

 Research interests include:

Plant-pollinator interactions and flower evolution
Genetic basis of, and selection on signaling of flowers
Macro-evolution, taxonomy of plants and speciation
Conservation biology of endangered plants.
Botanical art
Economy of conservation

Email: sapiry@tauex.tau.ac.il
Phone: 03-6407354
Another phone: 03-6409910
Office: Botanical Gardens, 06

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