Welcome. Our lab studies the evolutionary ecology of natural populations of plants, specifically the influence of environment on phenology, edaphic influences on plant reproduction and genetic diversity patterns in prairie plants.
316 Stevens Hall
North Dakota State University
Fargo, ND 58108
PhD, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1998
Conservation Biology, Evolution, Evolutionary Ecology
Our lab studies the evolutionary ecology of natural populations of plants, specifically the influence of environment on phenology, edaphic influences on plant reproduction and genetic diversity patterns in prairie plants.
Phenology - Increasing global temperatures as a result of anthropogenic forcings are associated with earlier spring and lengthening growing seasons for plants relative to 100 years ago. One biological consequence of these climate and abiotic environment changes are that many species of plants and animals are shifting the timing of life cycle events (i.e. phenology) to earlier in the calendar year relative to historical patterns.
Our lab is examining changes in the timing of plant phenophases in the Red River region of North Dakota and Minnesota by comparing contemporary phenological patterns of wild species to the flowering patterns of the same species 100 years ago. By using archival data on first flowering time collected by NDSU professor O.A. Stevens from 1910 to 1961 we can test the null hypothesis that flowering phenology is the same as prior to the dramatic increases in global temperatures in the 1980's.
For a summary of our results please see this poster of Kelsey Johnson' work: Plant phenology in the Red River valley
Also, check out our Local Phenology Phenokey.
Here is an interview on our Phenology work
Population Genetics - The Western Prairie Fringed orchid is the only threatened plant species in North Dakota and known from a handful of meta-populations throughout the northern plains. Restrictions on reproduction and recruitment are only now beginning to be understood. We are using micro-satellite molecular markers developed specifically for this species to examine patterns in genetic diversity, gene flow and isolation among natural populations of this rare plant. Please see this poster of Andrew Ross's summary of our current work here: Western Prairie Fringed Orchid
For a complete list of my papers please see my Google Scholar page:
Lauren Denhardt (PhD)
Sarah Wrobleski (Masters)
Elise Boehm (MS)
Andrew Ross (MS)
Magdalene Ovbiebo (BS)