NSF Speciation and mating system evolution grant funded

The Moeller Lab, in collaboration with Emma Goldberg (UMN EEB) and Yaniv Brandvain (UMN PMB), received four years of funding ($974,762) to investigate the role of mating system transitions in plant speciation. This new funding continues past work that revealed reproductive character displacement between incipient Clarkia species, and provided evidence of reinforcement in secondary sympatry. The new project integrates mathematical modeling, field experimentation, and genomic analysis.


Stephanie successfully defends masters thesis!

Stephanie gave a seminar and defended her masters thesis titled, “History, dispersal limitation, and environment shape the current and future ranges of forest herbs of the Southern Appalachians”. For her thesis, she developed species distribution models for 8 forest herb species, half of which are narrow endemics to the Southern Appalachians. She examined the extent to which their ranges are limited by opportunity (failure of the range to shift north following glaciation) versus adaptation (failure to adapt to environments north of the range). She also examined how each species’ range may shift or contract with climate change. Congrats Stephanie!

NSF LTREB grant on geographic range limits funded

Our project on the evolution of geographic range limits in Clarkia xantiana was just funded for five years from the NSF Long-Term Research in Environmental Biology program (Moeller, PI; Geber, co-PI, Eckhart, co-PI). This work has been ongoing for 13 years and the new funding will result in 18-year datasets on population demography and associated factors (abiotic and biotic environment) from across the species’ range. This is the third round of funding from NSF for this work and we greatly appreciate the support!

John wins best talk at PMB Graduate Program Retreat!

Plant & Microbial Biology graduate students presented their research at the graduate program’s annual retreat on Friday. John presented an excellent talk on his work on biotic interactions and geographic range limits in Clarkia. Votes were cast after the symposium and John was the winner! Congrats John!

Eric Chu receives prestigious Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship!

Eric Chu, a former undergraduate researcher in the lab (Summa cum laude with Honors), received the highly selective Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship from the U.S. Department of State. The Pickering Fellowship Program provides graduate students with financial support, mentoring and professional development to prepare them for a career with the U.S. Department of State. Eric will attend Georgetown University for a Masters program in Global Human Development. After graduate school, Eric is interested in entering the Foreign Service, whose members serve the 265 U.S. diplomatic missions around the world.