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Yan Liu - PhD - genomics and evolution of UV reflectance in flowers

Research Summary: I am interested in the evolutionary forces that drive the diversity of angiosperm floral morphology. Previous research has focussed on the role of visible floral traits, and little work has focussed on traits that are harder to detect. With this knowledge gap in mind, I became curious what the role of UV reflectance is in the evolution of flora traits. I am using phylogenetic comparative methods to estimate correlations between UV parameters and other floral traits (e.g., tubuluar flowers, visible floral colour) across a range of angisoperm species using different models of trait evolution. I am also embarking on research on quantitative trait loci (QTL) of UV reflectance in the Mimulus model system (a genus that shows a high degree of variabilitiy in UV reflectance) to characterize the number and location of genes involved in the UV reflectance phenotype. Finally, I am interested in the genetic diversity of species that exhibit UV reflectance and am conducting a study that will reveal the demographic history and current population structure of Mimulus guttatus. Thus we can estimate the influence of past glacial periods placing geographical barriers that determine the current geographic distribution and potential for range expansion of this species. Implementing evolutionary principles of gene flow and genetic diversity with a fuller understanding of traits, both visible and invisible to the human eye, can provide a significant contribution to our understanding of how to conserve our natural resources.
For more information about my research, visit my website or contact me at

Soraya Villalobos - PhD - specialization and ecosystem services in plant-pollinator interactions
Research Summary: My project aims to study the role of pollinator specialization in the reproductive ecology of plants. I integrate phylogenetic information with metrics of betadiversity for species and communities spatially segregated. Specifically, I am investigating large-scale patterns in phylogenetic turnover in plants and its pollinators comparing patterns in tropical vs different ecozones across Canada. My research emphasizes two key topics within the study of ecophylogenetic of plant-pollinator interaction: (1) geographical variation in pollinator specialisation and (2) the effect of pollinator specialisation on ecosystem services. I expect to gain a better understanding of ecological and evolutionary processes underlying community assembly and species turnover. Understanding these aspects are important to prioritise the management and conservation of local biodiversity.
For more information, see my website

Doug Curley - MSc (co-supervised) - Evolutionary ecology of dietary specialization

Lisa Cahoon- MSc - Role of native vegetation in resisting plant invasions

Cole Burns - MSc - Effects of pollen limitation on fruit production of Rubus arcticus

Cassiano Porto - MSc (co-supervised)- Using herbarium specimens to measure phenological changes in Alberta

Moin Tinwala - Honours - Genetic correlations between floral traits in Mimulus guttatus

Past Lab Members
Visiting Scholars and Post-docs:
Yan-Bing Gong - Visiting Scientist '16- nectar microbiome influences plant-pollinator interactions
Scott Chamberlain - PDF '14 - phylogenetic and functional diversity in plant-pollinator networks
Yvonne Davila - PDF '11- plant-pollinator networks and pollen limitation

Ezgi Ogutzen - PhD '16 - the influences of dispersal and vicariance on the evolution of pollination specialization

Jamie McEwen - MSc'12 - evolutionary genomics of polyploidy (co-supervised with Sean Rogers)
Lorraine Adderley - MSc. '12- pollinator heterogeneity and variation in selfing
Jennifer Muir - MSc'13. - the effects of Scotch Broom invasion on the pollination success of native species

Caylie Boos - Honours '16 - Range size in bee- and hummingbird pollinated species
Vy Mai - Honours '16 - The influence of invasion on pollinator visitation to native species of Garry Oak meadows of BC
Maegan Lacuata - Honours '16 - MinION Nanopore sequencing of the genome of Mimulus guttatus
Ben Cheung - Honours '16- Host specialization on coastal algae of BC
Omar Abdullah UGRA '15- Independent project - Latitudinal gradients in pollinator specialization
Dan King NSERC USRA '15 - landscape ecology and specialization
Safaa Al-Khaz'Aly - UGRA '15 - genomics of MImulus guttatus
Ramandeep Parmar UGRA '15 - gene flow in Mimulus guttatus
Dylan Cole UGRA '14- polinator specialization in networks
Jolan Theriault UGRA '14 - speciation, geography, and pollinator switching
Brooklyn Hamper UGRA'13 - floral traits and phylogenetics of Mimulus
Juliana Abbatia Science Without Borders UGRA' - range limits and plant-pollinator interactions
Sarah Minions UGRA'13 - pollen limitation in plant communities
Carolyn Reinholz UGRA - pollen limitation in plant communities
Mariah Milne UGRA - floral traits and phylogenetics in Plantaginaceae
Sarah Oberholtzer- Honours '12- phylogenetic diversity of plants and pollinators
Jeremie Lauth - Independent project '08 - extinction and speciation rates of dioecious lineages
Cathy Hepp - UGRA '08 - evolutionary ecology of invasive species
Elissa Schuett - Honours '09 - dynamics of heterospecific pollen transfer
Jamie McEwen- Honours '09 - Floral colour distirbutions within communities
Julia Smith - UGRA'10 - Plant pollinator networks within Garry Oak communities
Ryan Groves - UGRA'10 -Pollinator diversity along altitudinal gradients
Andrew Marcil - Independent project '10 - correlated evolution of leaf traits
Jason Rae - Honours '11 - selective advantages of UV reflectance
Arpen Mahal - Independent project '11 - diversity of pollinators influences seed set
Kelsey Holoweckyj - Independent project '11 - distribution of secondary metabolites in plant communities