We are biologists who seek to understand and explain biodiversity. To reach this goal, we challenge hypotheses with simple models, analyses of DNA sequence variation, information on traits, and manipulative studies in natural populations. These efforts help to elucidate the processes that shape patterns of organismal diversity in the wild.
Much of our work aims to understand trait diversity in flowering plants. This group of organisms displays tremendous variability in the form and arrangement of their reproductive structures. Floral traits have long been associated with the benefits of cross-pollination in nature, yet we are interested in the challenges faced by populations when cross-pollination is ineffective or costly. Specifically, current research focuses on three major themes: 1) mechanisms that facilitate or constrain the evolution of self-fertilization; 2) the roles of ecological filtering and adaptation on plant traits; and 3) the influence of breeding systems on species ranges.