Lisa A. Donovan
Department Head
Distinguished Research Professor
Plant Sciences, Rm 3514/2502
Phone Number:  706-542-1811 or 706-542-2969
(706) 542-1805
Office/Lab:  Plant Sciences, Rm 3501

Ph.D Plant Physiological Ecology, University of Utah 1992

M.S. Marine Studies, University of Delaware 1982

B.S. Biology, Salisbury State College 1980

Research Projects: 

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 students with an interest in functional ecology, evolution, and genomics of plant traits are encouraged to apply. 

Grant Support: 
  • National Science Foundation. “ The evolution of the Worldwide Leaf Economic Spectrum (WLES) in Helianthus” 2011-2015.

  • National Science Foundation. “Evolutionary ecophysiology of nutrient relations in a desert sunflower of hybrid origin” 2006-2012

  • National Science Foundation. “Acquisition of Growth Chambers for the University of Georgia Biological Sciences Plant Growth Facility” 2006 -2009

Of Note: 
  • 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
  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
Recent Publications: