stay tuned! If you are attending fill out this questionnaire. to see a tentative list of participants see our google doc.

rob baker / laryssa baldridge-barnett / paul beardsley [not attending] / ben blackman / yaniv brandvain / ian breckheimer / kelsey byers / kelly carscadden / arielle cooley [not attending] / jenn coughlan / patrick edger / katie ferris findley finseth / naomi fraga / katie greenhamliza holeski / annie jeong / amanda kenney /nic kooyers / young wha lee / päivi leinonen / david bryant lowry / mario vallejo-marín [not attending] / jen modliszewski / chris muir /  guy nesom / elen oneal /   pauline oliveira pantoja /   john paul / megan peterson / josh puzey / kermit ritland / michael rotter / matthew rubin / steve schoenig / violeta i. simón-porcar / jay sobel / matt streisfeld  /andrea sweigart / steve travers / john willis / kevin wright / carrie wu / levi yant /  yaowu yuan / jinshun zhong / elizabeth (liz) zimmer

Rob Baker. NSF Postdoctoral Fellow. Weinig Lab. University of Wyoming
Research interests: 1) evolution/development 2) morphology/anatomy 3) genomic architecture 4) Genotype –> ??? –>  Phenotype.Hobbies: 1) Skiing 2) Biking.Research Blurb: I am broadly interested in understanding the adaptation and evolution of genomes, phenotypes, and species as it pertains to intraspecific evolution and crop domestication/improvement. My specific research interests lie at the interface of development, evolution, and ecology. I use comparative and experimental approaches to investigate the evolution of development (evo-devo) in growth chamber, greenhouse, and field studies. A strong foundation in plant developmental morphology and careful phenotyping at the anatomic through organismal levels anchor my work at the gene, genome, and transcriptome levels.


Laryssa Baldridge-Barnett. PhD Student. Willis Lab. Duke University
Research interests: 1) Cleistogamy 2) Environmentally induced phenotypic plasticity 3) Threshold responses 4) Breeding systems
Hobbies: 1) Gardening 2) Cooking international foods
Research blurb: I am currently investigating the genetic underpinnings of shifts in the threshold induction of a plastic phenotypic character (cleistogamous flowers) in Mimulus douglasii. Different populations of M. douglasii in California have drastically different population averages for the type of flower produced under controlled temperature and photoperiod conditions. Some populations have a low environmental response threshold for inducing cleistogamous flowers and some populations have a much higher threshold, which means they make more chasmogamous flowers than the other populations. The shift in threshold means differences in population inbreeding rate, resource use and duration of survival in the summer drought. Ultimately we would like to understand how and why the shifts in environmental response threshold have occurred.
Contributed Data: We have full genome (100bp paired-end, 40X coverage) sequence for Mimulus douglasii and Mimulus kelloggii. We also have lots of phenotypic data for M. douglasii. Additionally, we have a substantial amount of seeds for M. douglasii, M. kelloggii, and M. congdonii.


Paul Beardsley, Assistant professor, Cal Poly Pomona
Research interests: 1) Mimulus in the classroom 2) Genetics of M. parishii 3) Phylogeny / genetics of Hemichaena 4) Student learning in evolution
Hobbies: 1) Coaching pee-wee soccer 2) Long-distance running  / monkeyflower hunting


Ben Blackman. Assistant Professor. University of Virginia.
Blackman_NewPhoto Research interests: 1) Genetics of Adaptation 2) Phenotypic Plasticity 3) Evolution of Development 4) Domestication. Hobbies: 1) Baking 2) Biking.  Research Blurb: My research program focuses on the genetics basis of adaptation and domestication, with a particular focus on traits related to developmental timing and its plasticity to daily and seasonal environmental cues.  In particular, we seek to address three major questions: 1) how do organisms integrate environmental cues to trigger developmental events, 2) through what mechanisms does this plasticity evolve and 3) what natural or anthropogenic factors have driven or maintain this variation? One system where we have been pursuing these questions is through the genetics and ecology of natural variation in the photoperiod requirement for flowering among annual populations of Mimulus guttatus.  Our work has demonstrated that longer days are required for flowering at higher elevations, and through quantitative genomic studies we have shown that the genetics of divergence in photoperiod threshold is simple within elevation transects but markedly polygenic across the species range.  Current efforts are focused on working down to the nucleotide level and identifying the underlying genes through further genetic, gene expression, and functional studies.  We are also expanding out to the ecological level by investigating the consequences of this allelic variation for flowering, fitness, and local adaptation in native habitats. Resources: Seed collections from many annual and some perennial M. guttatus populations along 10 altitudinal transects throughout California and Oregon
F1 crosses of ~20-30 annual populations of M. guttatus with IM62
Linkage maps for 5 crosses between annual M. guttatus populations generated by MSG (under construction)
1 year of environmental data for high and low elevation field sites in Oregon
Phenotypic data (phenology, shoot architecture, floral morphology, some ecophys traits) for greenhouse common garden of  58 annual M. guttatus populations


Yaniv Brandvain. Assistant Professor. University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
 Research int13669426624_145cb96028_merests: 1) Speciation. 2)The evolution of selfing. 3)Genomic imprinting. 4) Genetic conflict  Hobbies: 1) Squash
Blurb: I am interested in the population genomics of speciation and mating system evolution.


Ian Breckheimer. PhD Student, Hille Ris Lambers Lab, University of Washington
 Research interests: 1) Climate change impacts on plant communities. 2) Local adaptation  3) Quantitative genetics -> population dynamics4) Spatial climatology
Hobbies: 1) Paddling 2) Baking 3) Gardening
Research blurb:  How do gene flow and local adaptation interact to define niche boundaries and geographic ranges? Answering this question is critical if we want to successfully manage ecosystems under climate change.  I intend to use molecular tools, common-garden experiments, and experimental crosses to determine how gene flow between contrasting environments and hybridization influences current and future geographic distributions of Mimulus guttatus and Mimulus tilingii, monkeyflower species with contrasting altitudinal distributions.


Kelsey Byers —  Graduate student (just completed PhD), Bradshaw/Riffell Labs, University of Washington, Seattle
Research interests: 1) floral scent 2) reproductive isolation 3) pollination 4) phenotypic variation
Hobbies: 1) backpacking 2) cooking and baking
Research blurb: Research into pollinator-based prezygotic reproductive isolation in Mimulus is largely focused on floral color, which is controlled by a series of deposition and synthesis loci with differing alleles in each species. However, floral color is only one of many ways in which pollinators detect, evaluate, and interact with flowers. Based on prior research with hawkmoths and Mimulus (see below), Mimulus also uses floral scent to attract pollinators.  My PhD work focused on identifying floral volatile differences in Mimulus lewisii and M. cardinalis and determining which were important for bumblebee pollinators.  Three volatiles were identified as critical for bumblebee attraction to M. lewisii; we identified their genetic basis, created knockdown transgenics in M. lewisii, and tested them in the greenhouse with free-flying captive bumblebees.  We found that knockdown of one gene (and one volatile product) produced a significant decrease in bumblebee visitation. Separately, I am investigating floral scent across section Erythranthe, and collecting published and anecdotal data on pollinator identities in the entirety of Mimulus.


Kelly Carscadden. PhD student, Cadotte & Gilbert Labs, University of Toronto, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
 Research interests: 1) Niche breadth and range size 2) Phenotypic plasticity and local adaptation 3) Intraspecific variation 4) Mating systems  Hobbies: 1) Hiking 2) Acrylic painting
Research blurb: The niche breadth hypothesis looks to variation in environmental tolerances to explain differences in species’ geographic ranges. I am investigating range-wide trait variation in monkeyflowers to determine if species with high phenotypic variation occur across a greater suite of environments and how trait data adds to our understanding of niche breadth. This phenotypic variation can be produced through plasticity or local adaptation, and a central goal of my thesis is to experimentally test how these two mechanisms contribute to niche breadth. I am using a multi-population approach to determine how the predominant mechanism will vary across the landscape and to see how niche breadth is partitioned within or between populations. Finally, as my first step towards understanding how mating system variation fits into this mosaic, I am investigating population-level variation in autonomous selfing ability and floral traits along an elevation gradient.


Arielle Cooley — Assistant Professor, Whitman College.
 Research interests: 1) evolutionary genetics 2) repeated evolution of floral color patterning 3) molecular mechanisms 4) anthocyanin pigment adaptations
Hobbies: 1) salsa dancing 2) now that I have a new baby – sleeping
Research blurb: Evolution sometimes yields independent yet similar-looking traits. Discovering the genetic changes and molecular mechanisms underlying repeated (parallel or convergent) phenotypic evolution can show how, and to what extent, evolution is genetically constrained and thus predictable.  I am interested in the parallel evolution of floral color patterning in a colorful group of monkeyflowers from Chile. The monophyletic luteus group belongs to the Simiolus section, which displays highly conserved floral pigmentation: yellow carotenoids in the petals, and small dots of red anthocyanins in the throat area. The luteus group is a splashy exception, containing purple-, orange-, and pink-flowered species. All three of these derived phenotypes are caused by an expansion of anthocyanins in the petal area, and all three expansions appear to have occurred independently – but how, and why? In addition to genetic mapping and molecular characterization of the causal genes and mutations, I am exploring fitness consequences of these dramatic and recent evolutionary changes..


Jenn Coughlan — Graduate Student.  Willis Lab!!!! Biology Department, Duke University
 Research interests: All things speciation! Including, but not limited to: ecological speciation, local adaptation, hybridization/secondary contact, migration-selection balance, inversions.
Hobbies: walking the dog, culinary experimentation.
Research blurb: I’m a second year grad student in the Willis lab interested in speciation genetics. Currently, I’m working with M. glaucescens to better understand local adaptation, secondary contact between closely related species, and the evolution of reproductive barriers.


Patrick Edger. Postdoctoral Fellow, Freeling Lab, UC-Berkeley.
 Research interests: 1) Phylogenomics 2) Paleopolyploidy 3) Metabolomics 4) Coevolution. Hobbies: 1) Backpacking/Hiking 2) Fly Fishing
Blurb: Investigating the impact of whole genome duplications across plants.


Katie Ferris  Post-doctoral Scholar, Nachman Lab, UC Berkeley.
 Research interests: 1) Genetics 2) Local adaptation 3) Speciation  4)Mimulus!
Hobbies: 1) Cooking/Baking 2) eating what I’ve cooked or baked 3) running 4) reading Jane Austen 5) aesthetics
Research blurb: I am broadly interested in the genetics of adaptation and speciation. I am particularly interested in how organisms adapt to different local environments. In my post-doc work I am examining phenotypic variation in the house mouse, Mus domesticus, along a latitudinal cline from Brazil to upstate New York. House mice have recently colonized and expanded across the Americas from Europe. I am particularly interested in potential differences in metabolic and life history traits between populations at the extremes of this cline.
In my PhD work I studied the genetics of adaptation to granite outcrop environments in the Mimulus guttatus species complex. M. laciniatus is a member of this closely related group of monkey flowers that is endemic to the Californian Sierra Nevada mountain range. This species occurs in the middle of dry, exposed granite outcrops from mid to high elevation. Just meters away the ancestral M. guttatus grows in adjacent seeps and streams. How has M. laciniatus adapted to its comparatively harsh local environment? To answer this question I investigated the genetic architecture and adaptive significance of differences in flowering time, mating system, and leaf shape between M. laciniatus and M. guttatus using combination of QTL mapping with next gen sequencing and reciprocal transplants with hybrid individuals in the field.


Findley Finseth, Post-doc at Fishman lab, University of Montana
 Research interests: 1) Non-mendelian transmission  2) Centromere evolution 3) Molecular evolution 4) Using genomics approaches to studying adaptation
Hobbies: 1) Gardening 2) World cup anyone?
Research blurb: I am broadly interested in how Non-Mendelian selective processes shape molecular variation and their consequences on fitness.  In the past, I used experimental, genomic, and molecular evolutionary approaches to understand the evolution of genes conferring a competitive advantage to sperm.  Currently, I am studying various aspects of female meiotic drive in Mimulus using genomic, molecular evolutionary and (eventually) cytogenetic approaches.  The focus of my work thus far has been understanding centromere and centromere protein evolution in the context of female meiotic drive.  In addition, I am applying genomic approaches to study adaptation and speciation in various ongoing Fishman lab projects.


Naomi Fraga Conservation Botanist/ PhD candidate. Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
Research interests: 1) Range size as it relates to rarity 2) Taxonomy 3) Pollination biology 4) biogeography/phylogeography. Hobbies: 1) baking 2) gardening (sometimes with monkeyflowers). Research blurb: My current research focuses on a group of little known species in the genus Erythranthe Spach. (Phrymaceae) Section Paradantha. These tiny annuals occur primarily in southern California and many of the species are narrow endemics. My interest in the group stems from my interest in natural rarity, conservation of the native flora, California floristics, and pollination biology. My works has focuses on taxonomy, conservation, and reproductive biology of this charasmatic group of annual plants.


Katie Greenham, NSF Postdoctoral Fellow – McClung Lab, Dartmouth College
Research interests: 1) The Circadian Clock 2) Circadian regulation of abiotic stress response 3) Comparative network biology
Research blurb: Using paleopolyploidy and natural variation to uncover the molecular mechanisms important for the circadian regulation of stress response and enhanced fitness in plants.


Liza Holeski Assistant Professor. Northern Arizona University
Liza.picResearch interests: 1) Plant-herbivore interactions 2) Plant evolutionary ecology and genetics. Research blurb: My research is focused on the ecology, evolution, and genetics of plant defenses against herbivores.  In Mimulus guttatus, I am particularly interested in how differential natural selection pressures across populations have shaped the evolution and genetic architecture of physical and phytochemical defense traits.


 Annie Jeong – PhD Candidate, Willis lab. Duke University
Research interests: 1) Genetics of Adaptation 2) Parallel and convergent evolution 3) Serpentine tolerance
Hobbies: 1) Playing with dogs and other friendly animals 2) Crafting and cooking
Research blurb: I am investigating the repeated evolution of serpentine tolerance among Mimulus species. Serpentine tolerance exists not only in the guttatus complex, but across the genus, including M. douglasii, M. layneaea, M. floribundus, as well as many others. By studying these species’ genetics and physiology, I hope to gain a better understanding of the ways serpentine tolerance may evolve.


Amanda Kenney. Postdoc, Sweigart Lab, University of Georgia
Research interests: 1) Genetics of adaptation 2) Speciation 3) Mating system evolution 4) Hybridization & introgression
Hobbies: 1) Biking & bikes 2) Dance trapeze
Research blurb: I am generally interested in the genetic basis of adaptation and speciation, with a particular focus on how local adaptation and mating system evolution contribute to speciation. Some specific interests include the genetic basis of adaptation across species’ ranges, the genetic basis of flowering time divergence, forces driving the evolution of selfing, the role of selfing in local adaptation and speciation, and using naturally hybridizing species to understand the maintenance of species boundaries. My work involves a combination of genetic mapping, manipulative experiments, and population genomics.


Nic Kooyers Postdoc. Blackman Lab at University of Virginia
Research interests: 1) Evolution of adaptive differentiation 2) Predictability of evolution 3) Evolution of drought stress resistance 4) Genetic mechanisms underlying GxE interactions Hobbies: 1) Team sports 2) Slug wrangling
Research blurb: My research is focused on understanding how organisms are able to adapt to local environments. I am particularly interested in identifying the genetic, physiological and phenotypic differences that underlie variation in fitness between populations as well as the environmental factors that maintain this variation. My research often utilizes multiple environmental gradients as replicates of the adaptive process in order to identify predictable patterns of selection.


Young Wha Lee. PostDoc at University of Toronto in the Stinchcombe / Wright lab
Research interests: 1) Maintenance of standing variation 2) Genetic basis of complex traits 3) Adaptation from standing variation 4) GxE interactions. Hobbies: 1) um…… 2) I used to swing dance?Research blurb: The interplay of different types of selective forces and mutation in the maintenance of complex trait variation within populations is a fundamental unknown in evolutionary biology. Is genetic variation for complex traits primarily composed of the cumulative effects of rare, mostly deleterious alleles maintained by mutation selection balance, or does balancing selection maintain some subset of mutations at more common frequencies? How are the fitness effects of these mutations dependent on environmental and genomic context? These basic questions have profound implications for understanding how rapidly populations might adapt to environmental change, and they are also of fundamental importance in identifying the best strategies for mapping traits of agronomic importance in genome-wide association studies (GWAS). To address these questions directly the major theme of my research program has been the genomic dissection of complex polygenic traits to conduct tests of selection on functional variants.


Päivi H. Leinonen. Willis lab at Duke University & University of Oulu
Research interests: 1) Genetics of local adaptation 2) Flowering time variation 3) Population ecology 4) Speciation
Hobbies: 1) Computer games 2) Amateur astronomy 3) Fishing
Research blurb: My research aims at discovering genetic architecture of local adaptation and related traits. More specifically, my current research involves examining genetic basis of natural variation in flowering phenology and photoperiod responses. I’m using common garden and QTL mapping experiments both in controlled growth chamber conditions and in the field. My current study systems are annual Mimulus laciniatus and M. guttatus. In my previous studies I have examined related questions in a perennial model organism Arabidopsis lyrata.


David Bryant Lowry. Assistant Professor. Michigan State University.
Research interests: 1) Local adaptation 2) Speciation 3) Quantitative genetics 4) Landscape evolutionary genomics. Hobbies: 1) Parenting 2) Being outside. Research blurb: My research program is centered on identifying the genetic and genomic mechanisms of ecological adaptations and how those adaptations contribute to the formation of new species. A primary focus of my research is to understand how differences in water availability between habitats drives adaptation in plant species. To this end, I am studying the genetic basis of adaptive divergence and reproductive isolation between coastal perennial and inland annual ecotypes of the yellow monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus). During graduate school, I discovered a chromosomal inversion that differentiates the annual and perennial ecotypes across western North America. The inversion polymorphism contributes to a suite of adaptive phenotypic traits including the perennial/annual life-history transition. Using field experiments, I demonstrated that the inversion contributes to ecological adaptation and multiple reproductive isolating barriers between ecotypes. I am now focused on determining the genetic and physiological mechanisms by which the inversion contributes phenotypic divergence between annuals and perennial populations.


Mario Vallejo-Marín. Assistant Professor University of Stirling. Scotland, U.K. [not attending]
Research interests: 1) Polyploidy 2) Adaptation 3) Ecological genomics 4) Speciation Hobbies: 1) Travelling 2) Hiking. My lab studies plant diversity and evolution, with a particular emphasis on the diversification of reproductive strategies and speciation. Our overarching goal is to understand how ecological, genetic and evolutionary processes interact to generate the amazing diversity of flowering plants. To tackle this main goal, we use a combination of field and glasshouse experiments, genetic and genomic analyses, phylogenetics, and theoretical models.For the past 5 years we have been studying introduced populations of Mimulus spp. in the United Kingdom and beyond. We recently discovered the most recently speciation event in Mimulus, the allopolyploid M. peregrinus, which has started a new collaborative research program in my lab on the ecological genomics of polyploid speciation and rapid evolution.Please get in touch with me if you are interested in a PhD or postdoctoral position in my Lab. We are trying to establish a Mimulus outpost in the Old World!


Jen Modliszewski. Postdoc. UNC-Chapel Hill/Copenhaver Lab.
jen_fallResearch interests: 1) Polyploidy and Phenotypic Evolution 2) Polyploidy and Meiotic Recombination
Hobbies: 1) Running 2) Gardening (why are we only allowed two hobbies?…maybe this is a sign I have too many…) 3) Photography 4) Orchids (growing and finding)
Research blurb: I am interested in how polyploidy affects phenotypic evolution, and how meiotic recombination evolves in response to polyploidization. My current research involves mapping meiotic regulators of DMC1 (a strand exchange protein critical for meiotic recombination) and investigating the molecular mechanisms of temperature-induced changes in recombination frequency in the uncharismatic but useful model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana.


Chris Muir. Biodiversity Postdoctoral Fellow. Angert lab, University of British Columbia
Research interests: 1) adaptation 2) ecophysiology 3) speciation 4) genetics of adaptation
Hobbies: 1) distance running 2) backpacking Research blurb: I am an evolutionary biologist who uses ecophysiology as a way to connect fitness tradeoffs to local adaptation and speciation. Physiologists have discovered numerous tradeoffs that organisms must confront in order to survive and reproduce in a given environment. Such fitness tradeoffs are the theoretical foundation for most evolutionary models of local adaptation and speciation. Despite decades of interest in an evolutionary physiology synthesis, there is still little integration between fields. The result is that we know little about the role of physiological tradeoffs in adaptive evolution, even though such tradeoffs are widely assumed to be a significant cause of divergent natural selection between populations. The goal of my research is to renew and advance an evolutionary physiology synthesis in plants using comparative methods, genetics, field studies, and theory.


Guy Nesom. Retired (April 2014) as contributor to Flora of North America project, but have lots of projects to finish (unpaid)
StLooey2006Research interests and blurb: I’ve been involved in taxonomy pretty much straight through since school, primarily as a student of Asteraceae until 2009, when I was employed by FNA to provide treatments of miscellaneous families and genera.  In all, I’ve published studies including more than 25 plant families –– see website list of all pubs –– mostly in North America, sporadically ranging further outward.  Primarily circumscriptions of species and, when appropriate (as in Mimulus and others), definitions of genera.  The monkeyflower studies began in 2011 with an FNA assignment –– I felt comfortable with it since in 2010 I had published a study of monkeygrass (Liriope and Ophiopogon).
Hobbies: taxonomy and biology of plants (hard to separate from ‘job’); music (jazz, especially as guitar player).


 Elen Oneal — Postdoc, Willis Lab, Duke University.
Research interests1) genetics of hybrid incompatibility 2) speciation 3) endosperm development 4) genomic imprinting
Hobbies: 1) reading 2)baking
Research blurb: The evolution of reproductive isolation is a critical component of speciation. Evidence is emerging that reproductive isolation can evolve in the absence of natural selection and may be driven by genomic conflict, such as parent offspring conflict over resource allocation in endosperm. My research aims to uncover the genes that underlie hybrid seed lethality, a common barrier to hybridization in plants in general, and the primary barrier between Mimulus guttatus and M. nudatus. My work on the development of wildtype and hybrid seeds indicates that hybrid breakdown is manifested by a failure of endosperm development. Preliminary results have identified at least two major QTL for hybrid seed lethality between M. guttatus and M. nudatus. My work is devoted to narrowing down the genomic breadth of these QTL, (hopefully) fine mapping down to candidate genes, and further exploring the possibility that genomic imprinting may play a role in hybrid seed lethality.


 Pauline Oliveira Pantoja. PhD student. Vallejo-Marin Lab, University of Stirling, School of Natural Sciences.
Research interests:1) Ecological genomics 2) Population genetics 3) Mimulus guttatus 4)Ecology and Evolution
1)Travel 2)Watch TV series and movies
Research blurb:
I am working with invasive Mimulus guttatus in United Kingdom. As many plants has the capacity of reproducing by sexual and asexual means simultaneously it is expected to be a trade-off between sexual and asexual reproduction. even if the trade-off has a genetic basis the expression of trade-offs can vary among environments. For instance, a phenotypic trade-off can be obscured under very good resource availability, but revealed under resource poor conditions. Therefore phenotypic correlation between traits may be determined by a combination of genetic and environment.
Previous studies with Mimulus guttatus have shown that the allocation between sexual and asexual reproduction varies with latitude both in native and introduced range, however it is not known what environmental factors may affect the expression of trade-off between both modes of reproduction. The objective of this experiment is to determine if is there a phenotypic trade-off between production of flowers and vegetative reproduction (clonal reproduction), if is there a clinal variation in this trade-off and to what extent such a trade-off is affected by environmental characteristics such as nutrient and space availability. I am developing common garden experiment with 13 populations from different latitudes in UK to address these questions.


John R. Paul. Assistant Professor  University of San Francisco
John_R_PaulResearch interests: 1) Geographic range limits 2) Abundance and distribution 3) Population genetics 4) Phylogenetics Hobbies: 1) Hiking 2) Fly fishing
Research blurb: My research focuses on understanding variation in the abundance and distribution of plant species. I examine how evolutionary history impacts variation in abundance and distribution of closely-related plant species, what factors limit adaptation at geographic range margins, and how demographic history and local adaptation impact the distribution of genetic polymorphisms in populations across geographic ranges. I employ a wide array of empirical approaches, using a combination of phylogenetics, population and functional genomics, species distribution modeling, greenhouse and growth chamber experiments, and extensive fieldwork.


Megan Peterson. PhD candidate. Kay lab, UC Santa Cruz
IMG_5394[1]Research interests: 1) speciation 2) life history evolution 3) mating system evolution 4) inbreeding depression
Hobbies: 1) hiking /backpacking 2) cooking
Research blurb: I’m broadly interested in the origin and maintenance of adaptive divergence and reproductive isolation. My dissertation research uses comparative demography to examine life history selection and the evolution of early reproductive barriers among annual and montane perennial populations of M. guttatus. I’m also interested in mating system evolution and plant-pollinator interactions. I’m currently investigating the consequences of mating system plasticity on colonization dynamics in simulated source-sink populations, as well as the distribution and ecology of UV nectar guides in M. guttatus.


Josh Puzey – Assistant Prof., College of William and Mary
Research interests: 1) Polyploidy 2) Genomics 3) Development/Biomechanics
Hobbies: 1) Hiking 2) Reading
Research blurb: My research uses Mimulus as a model for developing an integrated picture of genetic, epigenetic, and gene expression changes during the early stages of polyploidy. I also use population genomics in Mimulus to understand population structure and search for signals of natural selection. Collaborations with physicists help me explore basic mechanical principles that direct pattern formation in plants with the goal of receiving inspiration from biology for new engineering designs.


Kermit Ritland. Professor – Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, University of British Columbia
Research interests: 1) Monkeyflowers 2) Trees 3) Population genetics 4) Genomics Hobbies: 1) Skiing 2) Backpacking
Research blurb: Fred Ganders first alerted to the prospects of Mimulus when I did a post-doc with him at UBC Botany.  In my first position at U. Toronto Botany, I would relish the Spring visit to California. Toronto would be leafless and lifeless and California a bouquet of flowers. In Toronto I did entirely Mimulus work (with theory added).   Next I went to UBC where I (actually my students and post-docs) did research with many organisms, including the “Spirit Bear”.  I had 3 people work on Mimulus since 1996. In 2001 we got the very first Genome Canada grant.  We have had Forestry (tree) genome grants continuously since then.   For my next NSERC grant (equivalent to NSF kind of), I intend to use next-gen sequencing for expression QTL mapping and gene expression evolution in Mimulus.


 Michael C. Rotter — PhD Student, Holeski Lab, Northern Arizona University
Research interests: 1) Herbivory 2) Insect/ plant interactions 3) Trophic influences on ecosystem structure 4) Natural History
Hobbies: 1) Naturalizing 2) Birding
Research blurb: I am an incoming PhD student this fall and am currently in the process of getting together research ideas. I would like to explore how unique natural history features of insect herbivores can impact the evolutionary trajectories of Mimulus populations.


 Matthew Rubin. Graduate Student at University of Wyoming- Weinig Lab; to be Post-doc. Friedman lab [sept 1 2014]
Research interests:1) Genetic mechanisms of adaptation to heterogeneous environments 2) Genetic architecture and evolution of plant circadian clocks 3) Genetic and environmental control of branching patterns 4) Phenotypic plasticity
1) Hiking 2) Backpacking/Traveling
Research blurb:
I am broadly interested in genetic mechanisms of adaptation to heterogeneous environments, including plasticity in trait expression across environments.  Environmental heterogeneity may be encountered over multiple spatial and temporal scales; any developmental mechanisms that enable detection and response to the environment, or anticipation, could be advantageous.  One such mechanism may be the circadian clock.  My current research focuses on the genetic basis and adaptive value of the circadian clock in the model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana grown under field conditions. Specifically, I am interested in understanding the role of environmental cues in entrainment of the clock and the role of the circadian clock in regulating the expression of other traits, including flowering time and branching patterns. 


Steve Schoenig. Branch Chief – California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife / Biogeographic Data Branch
Research interests: 1) Systematics and conservation of Mimulus (s.l.)/Phrymaceae (in California). 2) Synthesizing current taxonomic understanding of species and discrete variants in to a book for professional and avid amateur botanists to help make sense out of California Mimulus.  Emphasis will be on diagnostic and characteristic photos and maps. Hobbies: 1) Plant photography, guitar, backpacking, travel 2) Creating a cataloging the plants of California with obligate and tolerance relationships to carbonate edaphic substrates (so far serpentine gets all the attention);  Floristic study of Last Chance Mountains of Death Valley NP.  Research blurb: Interested in collaborative research leading to clearer delineation of the valid taxonomy categories to be applied to the wildly diverse variability found between monkeyflower populations in California leading to a book on California Monkeyflowers.  Plan to continue teaching and enhance a field class on California monkeyflowers. See for 600 Mimulus photos under my name..


Violeta I. Simón-Porcar. Postdoc. Biological and Environmental Sciences. University of Stirling.
Research interests: 1) Evolution of Sexual and Mating Systems 2) Pollination biology 3) Floral biology 4) Local Adaptation Hobbies: 1) Traveling 2) Hiking Research blurb: My research focus on the evolution of sexual systems. I am interested both in the drivers and the outcomes of sexual systems divergences, at intra and interspecific levels. During my PhD, I studied the geographic pattern in the presence/absence of stylar polymorphism in the populations of a daffodil, Narcissus papyraceus, which were locally adapted to their pollinator fauna in the south of Spain and Morocco. In my postdoc, I will investigate the differences in local adaptation to the latitude gradient between the facultative sexual species Mimulus guttatus and the obligate asexual species Mimulus x robertsii in the UK.


Jay Sobel. Assistant Professor, Binghamton University
Research interests: 1) speciation 2) adaptation 3) genetics/genomics 4) comparative biology
Hobbies: 1) fishing 2) fishing
Research Blurb: I am inspired by the tremendous biological diversity found across all forms of life, and my research focuses on the underlying processes of adaptation and speciation. I use a wide variety of techniques to characterize the ecological, genetic, and molecular basis of adaptive traits, especially when associated with the emergence of reproductive isolation between recently diverged species. I use the wildflower genus Mimulus as my primary study system, and I have had the opportunity to gain experience working with many species across this diverse and fascinating group.


Matt Streisfeld. Assistant Professor, University of Oregon
Research interests: 1) The ecological mechanisms, evolutionary processes, and genetic/genomic changes that drive adaptation and speciation in plants. 2) Predictability and repeatability of the evolutionary process, focusing on the genetic changes that accompany convergent flower color evolution. 3) Molecular evolution of developmental shifts in gene regulatory networks that accompany transitions in flower color among species.
Research blurb: Research in my lab lies at the interface among ecology, evolution, genetics, and genomics. The major objective of this research program is to dissect the processes of adaptive evolution and speciation in natural plant populations. To do so involves a thorough examination of the mechanisms that link genotype, phenotype, and fitness in nature. Therefore, it is necessary to (i) quantify the strength, patterns, and agents of natural selection affecting ecologically important traits, (ii) characterize the molecular basis for this phenotypic change, (iii) assess whether molecular signatures of selection exist in these genomic regions, and (iv) re-create the historical events that led to the origin and spread of adaptive alleles. We examine geographic variation among members of the diverse Mimulus aurantiacus (sticky monkeyflower) complex.


Andrea Sweigart. Assistant Professor. University of Georgia.
SweigartResearch interests: 1) Genetics of speciation 2) Hybrid incompatibilities 3) Introgression, hybridization 4) Population genomics 5) Mating system evolution 6) Polyploid speciation/adaptation Hobbies: 1) Backpacking 2) Biking Research blurb: The goal of our lab’s research is to understand how populations evolve into reproductively isolated species. Does speciation occur in allopatry or do populations diverge with ongoing gene flow? What is the genetic basis of reproductive isolation? What are the evolutionary dynamics of loci that contribute to local adaptation and reproductive isolation? We address these questions using closely related species of the Mimulus guttatus complex.


Steve Travers. Associate Professor. North Dakota State University.
Research interests: 1) reproductive success in plants 2) population genetics of rare species 3) flowering phenology and climate change Hobbies: 1) playing music Research blurb: My research interests include both the ecology and evolution of plant populations. Learning how plant populations change both phenotypically and genetically in response to new environments is fundamental to understanding adaptation, speciation and the ecological determinants of species range and abundance. My goals are to link knowledge of individual plants at the genetic level with an understanding of how phenotype affects individual fitness and leads to adaptation and genetic differentiation at the population and species levels.


John Willis. Professor, Duke.
Research interests: anything Mimulus! Hobbies: cooking, eating, traveling, Mimulus! Research blurb: Researchers in our lab are motivated by a desire to further our fundamental understanding of the evolutionary dynamics of how species are formed, the origin of reproductive isolating barriers, mechanisms by which genetic variation is maintained, and the underlying genetic architecture of adaptive traits. We employ an integrated approach, combining the use of field studies, high throughput-biotechnology, and comparative genomics in our search for answers


Kevin Wright. PostDoc. Bomblies Lab, OEB, Harvard University
Research interests: 1) Genomic basis of adaptation. 2) Recombination rate variation. 3) Meiosis functioning protein evolution. Research blurb: My research program focuses on understanding how genetic variation is maintained within natural populations. In particular, I am investigating the genomic basis of adaptive variation and whether parallel phenotypic evolution is caused by parallel genetic evolution. A second goal of my research program is focused on investigating how variation in the distribution of recombination events is shaped by the evolution of meiosis functioning proteins and genome structure. In order to address these questions, I employ genomic tools, field based reciprocal transplant experiments, and molecular/cytological tools to investigate protein function.


Carrie Wu. Assistant Professor, University of Richmond
CWu in NPBResearch interests: 1) Local adaptation and speciation 2) Hybridization 3) Invasive species
Hobbies: 1) Hiking/camping/being outside 2) Procrastination baking 3) Amy wrangling
Research blurb: I am broadly interested in how plants respond to their local environments, and the role those adaptations play in diversification at the genomic, population, and species levels. While evidence for local adaptation in plants is abundant, much less is known about the particular traits and genes that confer this specialization to specific environments.  My research uses the wildflower genera Ipomopsis and Mimulus (mostly M. guttatus and M. tilingii) to examine how environmental heterogeneity influences phenotypic and genetic variation among natural plant populations. I combine observations of natural populations and experimental manipulations in the field and greenhouse with tools from quantitative genetics and physiological ecology.  Together, these studies provide insight into how environmental stresses, adaptation to these conditions, and evolutionary change are intertwined, using tractable, ecologically relevant systems.


 Levi Yant. NIH Postdoctoral Fellow. Harvard
yantResearch interests: 1) Adaptation to big genomic changes and the repeatability of evolution in independent systems. 2) Adaptation to extreme edaphic conditions and repeatability here also.
Hobbies: 1) Climbing 2) Distance running & cycling
Research blurb: I’m excited by our ability to see especially clear signatures of selection in natural populations in response to intense selective pressures. Examples of systems I’m working on that present such intense pressure include adaptation to whole genome duplication and extreme edaphic conditions, such as lead mine or serpentine tolerance. I’m concentrating my work now on focused genome scans for signs of selective sweeps in many independently genome duplicated species, for example, resequencing populations of diploid and autopolyploid Mimulus and Chamerion (Fireweed), both long established ecological models. I’m doing this also on separate cases of serpentine and lead tolerant populations in the Brassicaceae. Results from these scans are providing some clear parallels to our studies in other species, such as Arabidopsis arenosa, but also surprising differences, suggesting fruitful inroads for detailed functional analyses of the consequences of genome evolution. My overall goal is to understand how the cell adapts to the sudden internal upheaval by investigating many independently evolved natural solutions. Results of our initial work have surprised us by indicating that even conserved meiotic processes are capable of nimble evolutionary shifts when required.


Yaowu Yuan. Assistant Professor. University of Connecticut
Research interests: 1) Developmental genetics of ecologically important floral traits 2) Genetics, development, and evolution of phenotypic diversity 3) Genetics of adaptation and speciation 4) Plant-pollinator interactions 5) Plant systematics 6) Transposable elements
Hobbies: 1) Table tennis 2) Fishing
Research blurb: Currently we focus on two major lines of research: (1) Developmental genetics of ecologically important floral traits, including carotenoid pigmentation, corolla tube formation and elaboration, stamen and pistil arrangement, nectar volume, etc. Very little is known about the genes and developmental networks regulating these floral traits, largely because the conventional genetic model system, Arabidopsis, is not particularly suitable to study them. Our work leverages the recently developed genomic resources, stable transgenic tools, and chemically induced mutants of Mimulus lewisii to address this problem. In addition, we are carrying out a large scale transposon-mediated activation tagging experiment in M. lewisii to generate gain-of-function mutants, to complement what we could learn from chemically induced, loss-of-function mutants. (2) The genetic bases and developmental mechanisms underlying the tremendous variation of flower color patterns and corolla tube shapes among natural Mimulus species. At the moment we are mainly working on anthocyanin pigmentation patterns, but we will certainly get into carotenoid pigmentation and corolla tube variation once we have learned more about the basic developmental genetics of these traits from the M. lewisii mutants.


Jinshun Zhong. Postdoctoral associate, the University of Vermont
Jinshun_ZhongResearch interests: 1) floral development and evolution 2) gene duplication and retention 3) hybridization and polyploidization
Hobbies: 1) hiking 2) fishing etc
Research blurb: The development and evolution of organ fusion in general, formation of floral tube in particular.n


Elizabeth (Liz) Zimmer. Dept. of Botany, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian
Research interests: 1)  genetic measures of inbreeding and outbreeding of M. guttatus 2)  invasive M. guttatus 3)  molecular phylogenetics of various angiosperms and of Isoetes
Hobbies: 1)  Theater going and ushering 2)  Reading (I’m pretty boring)
Research blurb: I am working with Jason Berg and Michele Dudash on population genetics of native and introduced  M. guttatus.  We all are collaborating with Mario Villejo-Marin



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