Ecology | Evolution | Conservation
The Sexton lab studies the many factors that determine species distributions. Specifically, we are interested in plant adaptation and the processes that lead to both local adaptation and speciation. We use a great variety of methods, from genomics to distribution modeling to field and lab experiments. We also conduct research in a broad set of ecosystems, from deserts to vernal pools to mountains, and at a wide variety of scales, from genes to plant endophytes (e.g., bacteria and fungi) to plant communities. Our current research projects occur in California, Mexico, and Australia and are focused on the effects of environmental change on species range limits, the determinants of specialization (niche breadth), and the role of gene flow on adaptation. We are also focused on understanding vulnerabilities and adaptive responses of plants in the face of global change and we actively engage in interdisciplinary collaborations in order to develop solutions for conserving biodiversity.
A review of ours about how species come to expand their ability to use resources (i.e., niche breadth evolution) will be published in this year’s volume of Annual Reviews in Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics.
We will be attending/presenting research at the Evolution Meetings. Hope to see you there.
A paper first-authored by Megan Hirst that tests whether rare plant species can tolerate the same range of environments as widespread species has been published in the journal Ecology.
Brandon Hendrickson and Lillie Pennington will be joining our group as graduate students in Fall 2017. Welcome!
We received a Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units (CESU) agreement grant with the Bureau of Reclamation and the USFWS entitled, “Genetic investigation of listed vernal pool plants and their communities in Merced County.”
Dannise Ruiz-Ramos has joined the lab as a postdoctoral fellow through the UC Conservation Genomics Consortium and will be spearheading our CALeDNA project to study eDNA in vernal pool ecosystems and to sequence the Colusa grass genome, a rare grass found only in vernal pools.
Join us at the Northern California Botanists Symposium in Chico in January 2017.
Erin Dickman has graduated with her Master’s degree! Congratulations!
See a news story featuring Yazmin Lommel related to our collaboration with Yosemite National Park to better understand the giant sequoia seedling niche.
Some of us will be attending/presenting research at the Sequoia and Kings Canyon Science Symposium. Hope to see you there.
We enjoyed a few weeks of writing and analysis fun with Visiting Scientist, Rachel Slatyer.
Join us at the Species in the Age of Discordance conference in Salt Lake City in March 2017.
Our lab is collaborating in the newly awarded UC Catalyst Grant to develop new strategies and solutions in conservation genomics. Read more.
We welcome Molly Stephens to the lab as a Project Scientist!