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Carolyn Wessinger

My primary interest is exploring the nature of phenotypic evolution and diversification. I'm particularly interested in why certain evolutionary shifts are unidirectional and if that is related to the type of genetic change underlying the shift. I'm also quite interested in the genetic basis of parallel phenotypic evolution and the conditions promoting its occurrence. I'm in Mark Rausher's lab studying nature of repeated shifts in floral phenotype among Penstemon species. Specifically, this genus of plants has repeatedly evolved red hummingbird-pollinated flowers from blue bee-pollinated flowers.

I graduated from Brown University in 2004 where I investigated the influence of environmental signals on flowering time. I then spent two years working as a technician at UC Davis investigating natural variation in plant response to light environments. I began graduate studies at Duke in August of 2006. Duke UPGG is an incredible program to pursue studies in evolutionary genetics based on the high quality of research and the collaborative environment provided by both faculty and students.

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National Science Foundation (NSF) Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, 2010

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