PLANT ECOLOGY & EVOLUTION

Christopher Eckert, Department of Biology, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, K7L 3N6 Canada
ph +1-613-533-6158, fax +1-613-533-6617, chris.eckert[at]queensu.ca

 
 

The research in my lab investigates the process of and limits to adaptation in plants with a focus on understanding the ecological and evolutionary processes that limit species distributions. Plants often exhibit variation in reproductive traits across geographic ranges providing opportunities to tackle unresolved  questions concerning the evolution of sexuality vs. sexuality, outcrossing vs. self-fertilization, and dispersal. We also study biological invasions as an opportunity to study evolutionary adaptation in action, and apply the evolutionary and population genetic approaches to the management of plant species at risk.


We use a combination of large-scale geographical populations surveys, manipulative experiments in natural populations, genomic analysis of reproductive patterns & genetic structure, plus a variety of lab-based tools, including quantitative genetics, developmental analyses, image analysis, and computer modelling. Training includes a strong focus on quantitative and computational skills.


Our field work takes place in a variety of locations across North America and Europe. Currently, we have projects on the coevolution of geographic range limits and the mating system based on the pacific coast of North America, experimental and genomic analysis of elevational range limits in the Rocky Mountains of Canada, a large-scale analysis of adaptive evolution during biological invasion based in Europe and eastern North America, and studies of plant reproductive ecology at the Queen’s University Biological Station in eastern Ontario.

Our research investigates evolutionary adaptation in flowering plants: from reproductive systems to geographic range limits