Na Wei, PhD


Evolutionary Ecology


  • Ph.D. | 2015 | University of Michigan, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Adjunct Appointments

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor
    Case Western Reserve University
    Department of Biology
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor
    Cleveland State University
    Department of Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences

Research Interests

My research program seeks to elucidate the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that confer or constrain plant adaptation to rapid environmental change. Our lab studies eco-evolutionary adaptation through the lenses of ecology, genomics, and microbiome. By leveraging the biofuel plants (duckweeds, Lemnoideae) and crop wild relatives (wild apples or crabapples, Malus, and wild strawberries, Fragaria), our work addresses not only fundamental questions in evolutionary ecology and genomics, but also practical problems faced by agriculture, ecosystem management, and biodiversity conservation under climate change. Currently, we are working on (1) plant–microbe symbiosis, (2) adaptation conferred by polyploidy, (3) plant–pollinator interactions, and (4) agricultural and urban microbiomes.

Select Publications

  • Ashman T-L†* and Wei N†* 2023. Evaluating the influences of floral traits and pollinator generalism on α and β diversity of heterospecific pollen on stigmas. Functional Ecology. †co-first author; *corresponding author
  • Wei N and Tan J. 2023. Environment and host genetics influence the geographic distribution of plant microbiome structure. Microbial Ecology 86:2858-2868.
  • Tan J†*, Wei N†*, and Turcotte MM. 2023. Trophic interactions in microbiomes influence plant host population size and ecosystem function. bioRxiv. †co-first author; *corresponding author
  • Guo W†, Wei N†*, Hao G-Y, Yang S-J, Zhu Z-Y, Yang Y-P and Duan Y-W. 2023. Competitive asymmetry confers polyploid advantage under environmental stress. Journal of Ecology 111:1327-1339. †co-first author; *corresponding author
  • Fetters AM, Cantalupoa PG, Wei N, Roblesa MTS, Stephens JD, Pipasa JM and Ashman T-L. 2022. The pollen virome of wild plants and its association with variation in floral traits and land use. Nature Communications 13:523.
  • Wei N, Whyle RL, Ashman T-L and Jamieson MA. 2022. Genotypic variation in floral volatiles influences floral microbiome more strongly than interactions with herbivores and mycorrhizae in strawberries. Horticulture Research 9:uhab005.
  • Wei N, Kaczorowski RL, Arceo-Gómez G, O’Neill EM, Hayes RA, Ashman T-L. 2021. Pollinators contribute to the maintenance of flowering plant diversity. Nature 597:688-692.  
  • Wei N, Russell AL, Jarrett AR and Ashman T-L. 2021. Pollinators mediate floral microbial diversity and network under agrochemical disturbance. Molecular Ecology 30:2235-2247.
  • Cullen N, Xia J, Wei N, Kaczorowski RL, Arceo-Gómez G, O’Neill EM, Hayes RA and Ashman T-L. 2021. Diversity and composition of pollen loads carried by pollinators are primarily driven by insect traits, not floral community characteristics. Oecologia 196:131-143.
  • Wei N, Du ZK, Liston A and Ashman T-L. 2020. Genome duplication effects on functional traits and fitness are genetic context and species dependent: studies of synthetic polyploid Fragaria. American Journal of Botany 107:262-272.
  • Liston A, Wei N, Tennessen JA, Li J, Dong M and Ashman T-L. 2020. Revisiting the origin of octoploid strawberry. Nature Genetics 52:2-4.
  • Wei N, Cronn R, Liston A and Ashman T-L. 2019. Functional trait divergence and trait plasticity confer polyploid advantage in heterogeneous environments. New Phytologist 221:2286-2297
  • Rebolleda-Gómez M, Forrester NJ, Russell AL, Wei N, Fetters AM, Stephens JD and Ashman TL. 2019. Gazing into the anthosphere: considering how microbes influence floral evolution. New Phytologist 224:1012-1020.
  • Wei N and Ashman T-L. 2018. The effects of host species and sexual dimorphism differ among root, leaf and flower microbiomes of wild strawberries in situ. Scientific Reports 8:5195.
  • Tennessen JA, Wei N, Straub S, Govindarajulu R, Liston A and Ashman T-L. 2018. Repeated translocation of a gene cassette drives sex chromosome turnover in strawberries. PLOS Biology 16: e2006062.
  • Dillenberger MS, Wei N, Tennessen JA, Ashman T-L and Liston A. 2018. Plastid genomes reveal recurrent formation of allopolyploid Fragaria. American Journal of Botany 105:1-13.
  • Wei N, Tennessen JA, Liston A and Ashman T-L. 2017. Present-day sympatry belies the evolutionary origin of a high-order polyploid. New Phytologist 216:279-290.


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