Fieldwork

The natural world motivates my research interests, and my research inspires me to continue investigating certain systems more deeply, and search for new areas to explore. To catalogue and describe floristic diversity, I have been fortunate to collect plants across the Pacific Northwest, the French Alps, and New England. I am particularly interested in alpine ecosystems, but always seek new opportunities to expand my botanical horizons. Below I briefly describe a few of my recent expeditions, and include some of my favorite photos from each.

Typical plant's-eye-view from an alpine meadow in the Sawtooth Mountains, with Mt. Thompson towering above (click for more!)

Sawtooth National Forest, ID
During 2012 and 2013, I spent the summers collecting alpine plants from different peaks Across the Sawtooth, White Cloud, and Pioneer Mountains in central Idaho. This work was possible with a Stillinger Herbarium Expedition Grant through the University of Idaho, some adventurous friends-turned-field-assistants, and the Sawtooth Mountain Guides, who were incredibly patient with my alpine botanizing. I collected over 500 plants, and used high-throughput approaches to target gene sequence data and estimate evolutionary relationships. Uisng community phylogenetic analyses, I'm illuminating processes that generated the alpine flora that draws people to explore these stunning peaks.

Alpine Priumla sp. at the Col du Lautaret

French Alps
I moved to Grenoble, France in January 2014 to work for a year studying alpine plants at the Laboratoire d'Ecologie Alpine in collaboration with Dr. Sébastien Lavergne. Besides beginning some really interesting new research projects, I was able to participate in fieldwork in the French Alps. This included high-alpine floristic surveys in the Écrins National Park, and sampling leaf tissue for RNAseq at the Lautaret Alpine Botanic Garden. Here is a very small sample of my pictures from some of these adventures…

Gnarled trees and stone fences in New England

Harvard Forest, MA

For my postdoctoral research, I have been sampling functional genomic diversity of a plant community at Harvard Forest throughout the growing season. This is my first encounter with the flora of New England, and I am amazed by the diversity of ferns and deciduous trees. I'm definitely learning a lot, and looking forward to returning next summer!