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.
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. Students who are Plant Biology majors are preferred and are eligible for a PBIO 4960 Undergraduate Research Award to facilitate the resaerch ($500, see details at http://plantbio.uga.edu/pbio-undergraduate-research-opportunities). I anticipate taking on new graduate students in the area of wild and culativated sunflower stress ecophysiology and genomics.