Research Interests:

  • Phylogenetics and bioinfomatics: I’m excited about the new developments in molecular data collections strategies. I’m a big supporter of publicly available data and open source code.
  • Trait evolution: Currently, I am exploring evolution of pollination syndrome in Lamourouxia and the evolution of Hemi- and Holo- parasitism in Orobanchaceae.
  • Biogeography: I am interested in the patterns and processes of diversification with regard to allopatric and sympatric speciation.

My goal is to integrate molecular, ecological, and geographic data with modern statistical and computational approaches to discover what previous generations of scientists could only guess at.

I started my botanical training at Willamette University with Dr. Susan Kephart studying pollination biology in Camas Lilies (Genus: Camassia) in 2013. Where I studied biogeography and population genetics in of several endemic Camassia species and subspecies in the Snake River watershed of eastern Oregon and west-central Idaho.

In August of 2016 I started working with Dr. David Tank at the University of Idaho. I am studying Lamourouxia a neotropical wildflower found from northern Mexico to Peru. I am building a multi-locus phylogeny to elucidate the evolutionary, ecological, and biogeographic history of the genus. This research will also provide a new phylogenetically informed taxonomic treatment of the genus that incorporates endemic and rare taxa.

Systematics of Lamourouxia (Orobanchaceae)

“The distribution of floral and vegetative characters seemed almost to be random so that relationships among the species were obscured.” - Wallace R. Ernst - Floral Morphology and Systematics of Lamourouxia (Scrophulariaceae: Rhinanthoideae)

Floral and vegetative variation in Lamourouxia

I am using preserved herbarium specimen, collected as far back as 1965, to build the first phylogeny of the genus Lamourouxia in order to answer questions about the evolution of pollination syndrome and biogeography.

Herbarium specimen from which we are extracting DNA