Ph.D Plant Evolutionary Biology, University of Georgia 2003
The unifying theme of my research is investigation of the evolutionary factors that shape patterns of genetic variation in natural plant populations and the manner in which species-wide diversity is partitioned and maintained at various spatial and temporal scales. More specifically, my lab studies: i) contemporary gene flow using direct approaches, ii) historical patterns of gene movement over shallow and deeper temporal scales, and iii) long-distance seed dispersal and the tail of the dispersal kernel empirically. We often explore the role of both pollen-mediated and seed-mediated gene dispersal to address these questions. This research is particularly pertinent in the context of nearly ubiquitous, anthropogenic habitat disturbance and accelerating climate change. I am especially interested in studying epiphytes which account for approximately 10% of all vascular plant species, and orchids because of their varied evolutionary strategies and somewhat unique biology. Our lab employs a variety of population genetic tools to address these questions.
- Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Geographic patterns in the population genetic structure of Oxypolis canbyi (Canby’s dropwort) and its common congener Oxypolis filiformis.
- Australian Orchid Foundation (Co-PIs: Kingsley Dixon & Ryan Phillips). The role of colonization in establishment of self-sustaining populations of rare terrestrial orchids – a template study for establishing principles to guide translocation and conservation programs.
- Organization for Tropical Studies, Assembly of Delegates representative for the University of Georgia, 2009 – present; Chair of audit committee, 2015 – present.
- Member of International Working Group for the Friends of Nakanai, East New Britain, Papua New Guinea.2013 - present.