Na Wei, PhD


Evolutionary Ecology


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

Research Interests

My research program seeks to elucidate the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that confer or constrain plant adaptation to environmental change. By leveraging the rich collections of wild apples (or crabapples) and the natural populations of wild strawberries at Holden, our lab addresses eco-evolutionary adaptation through the lenses of ecology, genomics, and microbiome. Currently, we are working on: (1) harnessing microbiome for disease resistance and stress tolerance; (2) examining the perks of genome size in a rapidly changing world; 3) investigating the emerging threats of nanoparticles to the evolution of plant–microbiome interactions; (4) exploring plant–pollinator interactions and their roles in microbiome assembly. To address these questions, we are using interdisciplinary approaches by integrating functional ecology, community ecology, microbial ecology, population genomics, phylogenomics, and quantitative genetics.

Select Publications

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Guo W†, Wei N†*, Hao G-Y, Yang S-J, Zhu Z-Y, Yang Y-P and Duan Y-W. 2021. Competitive asymmetry confers polyploid advantage under environmental stress. bioRxiv. †co-first author; *corresponding author
  • 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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