A primary focus of our group is to understand the accumulation of mutations within individual plants. These mutations are thought to play many important roles in plant ecology and evolution, but very little is undertsood about them. This work takes us to beautiful places, and allows us to study one of the most fundamental processes in evolutionary biology: the generation of new variation. I am always interested to talk to students who are keen to discover more.
The areas we are interested in include but are not limited to:
1. Understanding exceptional longevity in plants
2. Testing hypotheses about the causes and consequences of somatic mutations
3. Testing hypotheses about the adaptive significance of somatic mutations in plants
4. Using somatic mutations to understand plant development (AKA cell-lineage tracking)
5. Testing hypotheses about the inheritance of somatic mutations in plants
6. Comparing long- and short-term rates of evolution in plants
Different projects can have different components including fieldwork (old trees live in interesting places!), evolutionary/ecological theory, and bioinformatics. You do not need experience in these areas - I can teach you the relevant skills. You do need enthusiasm and a willingness to work hard.