We are biologists who seek to understand and explain biodiversity in an ever-changing world. Most of our projects therefore dissect the causes and consequences of evolution, and plants are typical study systems (see the images above for exemplary Leavenworthia and Mimulus). On any given day, we spend our time challenging hypotheses with simple models, analyses of DNA sequence variation, studies of traits in natural populations, and experimental evolution (a new and exciting pursuit!).
We are particularly interested in traits that influence genetic variability. Mating systems are perhaps the most impactful of such traits because they profoundly influence the distribution of genetic variation within and among populations. Most of our current work centers on these themes: 1) the evolution of mating systems in natural populations; 2) how close inbreeding influences evolutionary change; and 3) feedbacks between trait evolution and species’ geographic ranges.
To prospective students: