We are biologists who seek to understand and explain biodiversity in an ever-changing world. To reach this goal, we challenge hypotheses with simple models, analyses of DNA sequence variation, information on traits, and manipulative studies in natural populations or controlled settings. These efforts help to elucidate the processes that shape patterns of organismal diversity in the wild.
Our projects mostly dissect the causes and consequences of evolution. We are particularly interested in traits that influence the magnitude and expression of genetic variation in natural populations (e.g. self-fertilization and ploidy). Using plants as model systems (see the images above for exemplary Leavenworthia and Mimulus), most work centers on these themes: 1) the evolution of mating systems in natural populations; 2) feedbacks between trait evolution and species’ geographic ranges; and 3) the short- and long-term consequences of transitions in ploidy.
To prospective students: