I’m interested in local adaptation and allocation strategies in plants.
M.Sc. – Syracuse University, 2015 – present
B.S. – Rowan University, 2013
I am researching the effect of the environment on allocation strategies in plants. In particular, I am interested in how daylength affects trade-offs between allocation to growth versus flowering. To address this, I am using the plant Mimulus guttatus, because it grows in a variety of habitats that span a large geographic range, and it has distinct ecotypes that have either annual or perennial life history strategies. I expect that populations from different habitats, and the different ecotypes, will differ in their plasticity to daylength. In an initial experiment, I grew plants from 6 populations that spanned the species range of M. guttatus, in 4 growth chambers that varied in their photoperiod from 12 hours of daylight through to 24 hours. By measuring a suite of vegetative and flowering traits, I hope to determine if there is variable plasticity in allocation trade-offs. In a second experiment, I grew plants from a single population of M. guttatus that exhibits great morphological variation. These plants were grown under photoperiods that reflected the full growing season in their native environment. By using full-sib families, I will partition phenotypic variation across environments into their genetic and environmental components to assess the degree of plasticity in trade-offs, and whether families differ in their plasticity. Ultimately, the goal of my research is to better understand how plants may respond to novel environments.