Plant Sciences, Rm 3612
Ph.D Plant Evolutionary Biology, Duke University 1997
I am interested in the ecological and evolutionary questions concerning plant reproduction. I am particularly curious about the processes that generate and maintain genetic variation in characters that appear to have obvious effects on reproductive success of plants in natural population. In the past I have combined observation from natural populations, manipulative experiments in the greenhouse and in common gardens, quantitative genetics and molecular evolution approaches in my studies. Though I consider myself an empirical biologist, I am very fond of theoretical studies, and have occasionally done some theoretical investigation for factors difficult to study empirically.
Past research topics include: (1) evolution of selfing in Ipomoea purpurea, (2) molecular evolution of a regulatory gene that influences flower pigmentation in Ipomoea purpurea and (3) characteristics of the spontaneous mutation in Arabidopsis thaliana.
Recently, my research has been focusing on questions relating to the evolution of plant mating systems. There are two main lines of research that are currently ongoing in my lab: (I) Gender specific selection in hermaphroditic plants, and (II) Evolution of separate sexes in plants.
- National Science Foundation, Population Biology Panel, “Evolutionary and functional analysis of variation in pollen traits for the common morning glory, Ipomoea purpurea”. 2007 – 2011.
- National Science Foundation, Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) initiative. “Genetics of Invasive Species Exchanged Between the Southeastern U.S. and China, Taiwan and Hong Kong” 2007 – 2012.
- GA-Department of Natural Resources, “Assessing the reproductive investments and strategies among widely disjunct populations of the endangered plant fringed campion (Silene polypetala) to refine site-specific population sustainability objectives in the recovery plan”. 2007-2010.
- State of Art Conference. 2008. “Weeds of Agricultural Importance: Bridging the Gap between Evolutionary Ecology and Crop Science.” Co-organizer, Sep 2008, University of Georgia, Athens, GA.