Lab overview

We study the population genetics process of Adaptation in natural plant populations, using state of the art techniques in a handful of model organisms. We ask questions such as, how are populations shaped by their local environment? What traits are under selection? What are the genetic loci underlying these traits? Are alleles at these loci filtered by environmental gradients on the landscape over and above background genomic differentiation? Ultimately alleles at adaptive loci in foundation species may have an extended phenotype and determine ecosystem properties and services? High throughput genome sequencing allows us to use Genome Wide Association Studies to determine the causative alleles and fine patterns population structure associated with adaptive trait variation. It also allows Landscape Genomic studies to determine the spatial and temporal variation of alleles at adaptive and neutral loci across environmental gradients. Another critical tool is high resolution phenotyping by in-situ imaging. These Phenomic studies are being performed on mapping populations in climate chambers to quantify growth (photosynthesis), development (photomorphogenesis), and reproduction (fitness) in real time throughout the growing season.

Projects

  • Genetics of adaptation in natural plant populations
  • Phenotypic plasticity in Brachypodium under Australian environments
  • Realtime Heritable trait discovery in plants using phenomics across scales
  • Genetic basis of natural variation in photoprotection in Arabidopsis