Halmos College Faculty Publishes Review on Plants and Animals ‘Gone Wild’

This fall, Halmos College Biology faculty member Eben Gering, Ph.D. was the lead author for the paper, “Getting Back to Nature: Feralization in Animals and Plants” in the highly respected and widely read journal, Trends in Ecology & Evolution. The article brings together experts in animal behavior, plant genetics, and evolutionary theory to examine how feral organisms evolve after escaping into the wild.

From weedy rice to feral hogs – formerly domesticated crops, pets, and livestock are now ubiquitous worldwide. Nonetheless, their evolution is poorly studied. The new article addresses this gap by synthesizing information from disparate species, and by outlining future research avenues. This work can ultimately illuminate adaptive evolution, while enhancing our understanding of domestic organisms we rely on for food, labor, and companionship. Included in the paper is a video showing the evolutionary forces that shape feral gene pools and traits, and featuring illustrations provided by teen artists at REACH, a community art center in Lansing, Michigan.