Research in our lab focuses on the macroevolution, macroecology, and functional diversity of plants. While we often incorporate global phylogenetic perspectives, many projects in my lab focus on gathering empirical data on the mechanistic underpinnings of plant diversity within particular locales (Southwestern BC and the Rocky Mountains), or lineages (Anemone, Mimulus, Plectritis).
Ecophylogenetics of functional diversity
We investigate the role of trait diversity in determining stability and productivity in ecosystems. To understand the mechanisms underlying the effects of space versus intrinsic traits we are currently conducting community-level analyses to investigate the role of traits such as pollinator composition, floral traits, and the spatial heterogeneity of coflowering neighbors (invasive and native) on the reproductive success of native plant species. Recently, we have begun to incorporate genomics and DNA barcoding into our investigations of the role of specialization in functional diversity, and applying these methods to expand our understanding of how biodiversity contributes to sustainable agriculture and food security.
Macroevolutionary patterns of plant speciation and extinction
Our lab empoys phylogenetic tools to uncover important drivers of diversification. We explore the roles of intrinsic traits (e.g., floral shape, colour) and extrinsic traits (e.g., geographical distribution) in determining the variation we observe in flowering plant diversity. We are currently involved in detrmining how speciation and extinction rates depend on past range expansion to locales where different pollinator guilds are predominant. Within a particular spatial context we can begin to gather more precise information on the phylogenetic distribution of flowering plants at risk of extinction. From this, we hope to predict which species are more likely to be susceptible to disturbance.
Want to know more about the use of phylogenies as tools? You can see an article summarizing my work at [PhylogeneticTools].
For those interested in pursuing graduate studies under my supervision, please e-mail
me with your specific research interests.
Links to my publications can be found here.