Research in my lab centers on understanding diversification mechanisms of flowering plants, including adaptation and speciation. I study natural plant populations, from both tropical and temperate systems, and I would like to understand the ecological and geographical settings in which speciation occurs, the divergent adaptations and phenotypic changes that contribute to reproductive isolation, and the genetics underlying those adaptations. I am especially interested in plant adaptations to pollinators and to the edaphic environment, and the role those types of adaptations play in plant diversification at the population, species, and whole-flora levels. My work combines field and greenhouse observations and experiments with insight from molecular genetics, microscopy, phylogenetic inference, and comparative biology.
Current research projects include:
(1) Speciation of the Neotropical spiral gingers (genus Costus).
(2) Geographic divergence in pollination systems and habitat affinity in Clarkia concinna and C. breweri in the California Coast Ranges.
(3) The causes and consequences of heteranthery in the evening primrose family.
(4) Adaptation to serpentine soils in goldfields, coyote mints, and the CA flora, in general.