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Sunflower Greenhouse.JPG

Welcome to the Donovan Lab!

The Donovan lab investigates plant evolutionary ecophysiology, with an emphasis on stress and resource use traits as they relate to plant performance. We examine ecological and evolutionary responses to growth limiting factors (e.g. water and nutrient limitations, salinity, heavy metals, and competition) in a number of plant systems. Our current study system is primarily a suite of Helianthus species, due to their wide-ranging ecology and available genetic and genomic tools. In general, we want to know how individual plant traits affect plant fitness and distribution, and how these traits evolve. To address these questions, we use a combination of ecological, ecophysiological, evolutionary genetic and genomic approaches. Please see the research page for descriptions of individual projects.

Postdoc Positions available: Two postdoctoral positions were initially available as part of a collaborative project between the labs of Lisa Donovan and John Burke and in the Department of Plant Biology at the University of Georgia. The postdoc positions will involve the genomic and physiological analysis of resistance to abiotic stresses (drought, salt stress, nutrient limitation) in cultivated sunflower and related wild sunflower species. A postdoc with ecophysiological expertise to be based in the Donovan lab has recently been hired and will be arriving in January.  The ideal candidate for the remaining position will have a strong background in one or more of the following areas: molecular stress physiology, population/quantitative genetics, genomics, bioinformatics. Funds are available to support the position over multiple years with a preferred start date of January 2016. Review of applications for the second postdoc will continue until the positions is filled.  To apply, please send your CV, a brief statement of research interests, and the names and contact information for three references in a single PDF document to  and Informal inquiries are also encouraged.

Prospective Students:  I welcome inquiries from undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in plant responses to the environment and want to work in a collaborative environment.  Undergraduates are encouraged to inquire about independent research opportunities for future semesters. Graduate students applications are now being considered for Fall 2016 admission!  I anticipate taking on several new students on the project described for the postdoc positions (above).