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Lisa A. Donovan

Distinguished Research Professor and Department Head
Plant Biology

Basic Information

Plant Sciences, Rm 3514/2502
Lab office:
Plant Sciences, Rm 3501
Research Interests:

The Donovan lab investigates plant evolutionary ecophysiology, with an emphasis on resource use and stress tolerance traits as they relate to plant performance. We study adaptations to growth limiting factors such as drought, nutrient limitations, and salinity. Our current study system primarily consists of wild and cultivated sunflowers that encompass a of wide range of plant ecological strategies and a powerful toolkit of ecological, genetic and genomic tools. In general, we want to know how individual plant traits affect plant fitness and distribution, and how adaptive traits evolve. To address these questions, we use a combination of ecological, ecophysiological, evolutionary genetic and genomic approaches. Prospective PhD students with an interest in functional ecology, evolution, and genomics of plant traits are encouraged to apply through the Integrated Plant Sciences portal:


2015-2020. National Science Foundation, Plant Genome Research Program.  Evolutionary Genomics of Abiotic Stress Resistance in Wild and Cultivated Sunflowers.  PI Burke, CO-PIs Andrade-Sanchez, Bali, Dechaine, Donovan, Langlade, Rieseberg, White.

2015-2020. Genome Canada. Genomics of Abiotic Stress Resistance in Wild and Cultivated Sunflowers.  Project Leaders Riesebeg and Burke, CO-Applicants Donovan, Langlade, Marden, Hulke, Yeaman, Navin.

Selected Publications:

Ph.D Biology, University of Utah 1992

M.S. Marine Studies, University of Delaware 1982

B.S. Biology, Salisbury State College 1980

Of note:
  • 2016-2017 UGA Women’s Leadership Fellow
  • 2014-2015 UGA Graduate School Outstanding Mentoring Award in Life and Physical Sciences
  • 2014 Distinguished Research Professor
  • 2012 American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow
  • 2009 Fulbright Visiting Professor, University of Radboud, Nijmegen, Netherlands
  • 2006 University of Georgia Creative Research Medal
  • Stebbins Medal award for or the best paper/book published in the area of plant evolution and systematics during 2003 (Rieseberg et al. 2003 Science paper) from the International Association Plant Taxonomists

My Graduate Students

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