I am currently investigating the genetic underpinnings of shifts in the threshold induction of a plastic phenotypic character (tiny, self pollenating '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 (large, showy, open pollenated) flowers than the other populations. The shift in threshold means differences in population inbreeding rate, resource use and, potentially, duration of survival in the summer drought. Ultimately, we would like to understand how and why the shifts in environmental response threshold have occurred.
I greatly enjoy gardening, cooking, baking, hiking, listening to live music, and watching the occasional silly TV show.