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 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. selfing and ploidy). Using plants as model systems (see the images above for exemplary Leavenworthia and Erythranthe), most work centers on these themes: 1) mechanisms that facilitate or constrain the evolution of self-fertilization; 2) feedbacks between trait evolution and species’ geographic ranges; and 3) the short- and long-term consequences of transitions in ploidy.
To prospective students: