[Ann Sakai] [Stephen Weller] [Research-Dioecy] [Research-Heterostyly] [Research-Conservation]
Sakai/Weller Lab

Graduate Students

Jennifer Weber—My research focuses on the evolution of plant breeding systems.  Specifically, I am interested in the transition from tristyly to distyly and how variation differs among and within populations.  Other areas of interest include population genetics, phylogeography, and pollination biology.
Laura Vary--I’m interested in plant reproductive ecology and evolution, particularly in tropical island floras.  Though most flowering plants are hermaphroditic (80% worldwide), there is actually a myriad of other types of plant breeding systems, including plants with separate male and female individuals (dioecy) and plants with separate male and female flowers on the same individual (monoecy).  These breeding systems are rare worldwide, but have much higher incidences in tropical island floras.  I'm currently examining the evolution of breeding systems in the flora of Madagascar, focusing on the relationship between the evolution of monoecy and dioecy.
Jessica Poulin, Ph.D. 2005--Ecological and genetic factors affecting the invasiveness of fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum).

In my dissertation I explored the relative importance of genetic variation and variation in habitat for the invasiveness of fountain grass. Fountain grass is an apomictic species that is highly invasive in Hawaii, moderately invasive in Arizona, and less invasive in Southern California. My molecular work showed no genetic variation among populations from these areas. My field experiments indicated that differences in patterns of precipitation may be a critical factor in the spread of fountain grass.