I’m an evolutionary biologist and teach courses reflecting both my interests and training.
Teaching: Bio 111 - Introduction to Ecology and Evolution; Bio 204 - Biology of Flowering Plants; Bio 314 - Evolution; Bio 315 - Genome and Molecular Evolution; Bio 361 Evolutionary Medicine
My research is in the field of evolutionary ecology.
Recently (2012), in collaboration with Dr. Greg Krukonis, I have started a project exploring the ecology and evolution of phages - viruses that infect bacteria - and their bacterial hosts. We have two avenues of research:
Studying the ecology and evolution of bacteriophages of Bacillus subtilis, found in desert environments. These phages differ in their host ranges and we are exploring the genetic factors that determine host range. In the long term, we are planning experiments that will look at how genome changes as phages adapt to new hosts.
Most of my past research focused on the ecology and evolution of reproductive strategies in flowering plants. There are over 250,000 described species of flowering plants and much of this diversity involves variation in reproductive strategies. I'm particularly interested in:
Understanding what factors determine the allocation of resources to male function (pollen number and size, nectar and petals that attract pollinators and thus lead to the dispersal of pollen to other flowers) as opposed to female function (ovule number, seed number and size).
Understanding how breeding systems (inbreeding versus outcrossing) and plant-pollinator interactions affect gender allocation patterns.
Areas of interests: Coevolution of phage and bacterial hosts - Genome organization in bacteriophage - Ecology and evolution of sexual/mating systems in plants - Sex allocation theory