Corlett Wolfe Wood

  • Assistant Professor
  • Evolutionary Ecology

Contact

203 Clapp Hall
5th & Ruskin Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Many genes that organisms use to regulate their mutualists are also used to defend against parasites and pathogens. The shared genetic control of beneficial and harmful symbioses raises the intriguing possibility that susceptibility to infection is a pleiotropic cost of mutualism. Our goal is to understand how a genetic tradeoff between attracting mutualists and repelling parasites has shaped the genomic architecture of traits mediating species interactions, and how ongoing conflict influences adaptation.​​​

We combine fieldwork, experiments, and genomics & transcriptomics to explore these questions in the root microbiome of legumes in the genus Medicago. Legumes rely on nitrogen provided by mutualistic bacteria (rhizobia) to grow in poor soil, but they are also infected by parasitic nematodes that steal nutrients. The two symbionts form remarkably similar structures on plant roots (below).

We've discovered that plant responses to mutualistic rhizobia and parasitic nematodes are genetically coupled in the legume Medicago. Plant genotypes that attracted more rhizobia were more heavily infected by nematodes, indicating that susceptibility to parasitic nematodes is a cost of mutualism.

We're exploring the following questions in the legume genus Medicago :

In a genetic model plant (Medicago truncatula) ...

  • What are the genomic signatures of genetic conflict between mutualism and parasitism?

 

In a wild weed (Medicago lupulina) ...

  • How does genetic conflict influence adaptation?​
  • How does ecology mediate genetic conflict?

 

In alfalfa (Medicago sativa) ...

  • How can we mitigate conflict between mutualism and parasitism in crop microbiomes? 

Wood, C. W., Pilkington, B. L., Vaidya, P. , Bi

Wood, C. W., Pilkington, B. L., Vaidya, P. , Biel, C. and Stinchcombe, J. R. (2018), Genetic conflict with a parasitic nematode disrupts the legume–rhizobia mutualism. Evolution Letters, 2: 233-245.  https://doi.org/10.1002/evl3.51

Wood CW, EW Wice, J del Sol, S Paul, BJ Sanders

Wood CW, EW Wice, J del Sol, S Paul, BJ Sanderson, and ED Brodie III. 2018. Constraints imposed by a natural landscape override offspring fitness effects to shape oviposition decisions in wild forked fungus beetles. The American Naturalist 191:524-538. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/696218

Wood CW and JR Stinchcombe. 2017. News & Vi

Wood CW and JR Stinchcombe. 2017. News & Views: A window into the transcriptomic basis of genotype-by-genotype interactions in the legume-rhizobia mutualism. Molecular Ecology 26:5869-5871. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/mec.14370

Harrison TL, CW Wood, KD Heath, and JR Stinchco

Harrison TL, CW Wood, KD Heath, and JR Stinchcombe. 2017. Geographically structured genetic variation in the Medicago lupulina-Ensifer mutualism. Evolution 71:1787-1801. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/evo.13268

Harrison TL & CW Wood (contributed equally)

Harrison TL & CW Wood (contributed equally), I Borges, and JR Stinchcombe. 2017. No evidence for adaptation to local rhizobial mutualists in the legume Medicago lupulina. Ecology and Evolution 7:4367- 4376. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ece3.3012

CW Wood and ED Brodie III. 2016. Evolutionary r

CW Wood and ED Brodie III. 2016. Evolutionary response when selection and genetic variation covary across environments. Ecology Letters 19:1189-1200.  https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ele.12662

Formica VA, CW Wood, P Cook, and ED Brodie III.

Formica VA, CW Wood, P Cook, and ED Brodie III. 2016. Consistency of animal social networks after disturbance. Behavioral Ecology 28:85-93. https://academic.oup.com/beheco/article/28/1/85/2453500

Wood CW and ED Brodie III. 2015. Environmental

Wood CW and ED Brodie III. 2015. Environmental effects on the structure of the G-matrix. Evolution 69: 2927-2940.  https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/evo.12795

Wood CW, HE Marti, and ED Brodie III. 2014. The

Wood CW, HE Marti, and ED Brodie III. 2014. The effect of ecological context and relatedness on larval cannibalism in a fungus-associated beetle. Behavioral Ecology 25: 951-959.  https://academic.oup.com/beheco/article/25/4/951/257648

Wood CW, HM Donald, VA Formica, and ED Brodie I

Wood CW, HM Donald, VA Formica, and ED Brodie III. 2013. Surprisingly little population genetic structure in a fungus-associated beetle despite its exploitation of multiple hosts. Ecology and Evolution 3: 1484-1494.  https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ece3.560

Donald HM, CW Wood, KM Benowitz, RA Johnson, ED

Donald HM, CW Wood, KM Benowitz, RA Johnson, ED Brodie III, and VA Formica. 2012. Nondestructive sampling of insect DNA from defensive secretion. Molecular Ecology Resources 12: 856-860. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1755-0998.2012.03154.x

Formica VA, CW Wood, W Larsen, RE Butterfield,

Formica VA, CW Wood, W Larsen, RE Butterfield, ME Augat, H Hougen, and ED Brodie III. 2011. Fitness consequences of social network position in a wild population of forked fungus beetles (Bolitotherus cornutus). Journal of Evolutionary Biology 25: 130-137. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1420-9101.2011.02411.x

Formica VA, JW McGlothlin, CW Wood, ME Augat, R

Formica VA, JW McGlothlin, CW Wood, ME Augat, RE Butterfield, ME Barnard, and ED Brodie III. 2011. Phenotypic assortment mediates the effect of social selection in a wild beetle population. Evolution 65: 2771-2781. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1558-5646.2011.01340.x

Formica VA, JW McGlothlin, CW Wood, ME Augat, R

Formica VA, JW McGlothlin, CW Wood, ME Augat, RE Butterfield, ME Barnard, and ED Brodie III. 2011. Phenotypic assortment mediates the effect of social selection in a wild beetle population. Evolution 65: 2771-2781. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1558-5646.2011.01340.x

Formica VA, ME Augat, ME Barnard, RE Butterfiel

Formica VA, ME Augat, ME Barnard, RE Butterfield, CW Wood, and ED Brodie III. 2010. Using home range estimates to construct social networks for species with indirect behavioral interactions. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 64: 1199-1208.  https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00265-010-0957-5

Dr. Wood received her Ph.D. in 2015 with Edmund Brodie III at the University of Virginia, performed her postdoctoral studies with John Stinchcombe at the University of Toronto, and joined the Department in 2018.