Research in my lab centers around the question of how ecological and chromosomal diversification interact in the origins of species and lineages, using sedges as our study system. Sedge chromosomes are holocentric, meaning that centromeric activity is distributed along the entire length of the chromosome arms. This characteristic is shared by a few isolated angiosperm, arthropod, and flatworm lineages. It presents a fascinating experimental system for understanding the implications of chromosome fission (breakages) and fusion for reproductive isolation and speciation. There are also significant practical ramifications of this work: understanding the interaction between chromosome evolution and gene flow in the temperate zone's largest genus (the sedge genus Carex numbers ca. 2,000 species worldwide) is essential to understanding the impacts of genetic and chromosomal divergence on ecological restoration and long-term species viability in fragmented landscapes.
Current projects in chromosome evolution
Oaks, the genus Quercus
Sedges, the genus Carex
Other projects in plant biodiversity