Latitudinal Diversity and Adaptation
Cakile has diversified across a wide range of latitudes, naturally occurring as far north as northern Norway and as far south as the southern coasts of the Caribbean. Cakile has also been recently introduced to western North American, Australia and New Zealand. This latitudinal range, combined with an otherwise similar coastal dune habitat, makes Cakile an ideal system in which to study phenological adaptation to climate.
Dispersal and Range
The genus Cakile has a unique fruit type, termed heteroarthrocarpy. Each fruit consists of a two segments: a proximal segment, which remains attached to the maternal plant, and a distal segment, which detachs and has the potential disperse long-distances via wind or water. The potential for long-distance dispersal means that species can potentially experience a wide-range of climatic conditions.
The genus Cakile has undergone a relatively recent diversification. Data on local phenology combined with genetic and geographic distribution data will help us understand how phenological adaptation has contributed to the diversification of the clade.