M.S. student in Biology at MTSU / Ph.D. student in EEB at University of Colorado Boulder
Jesse's thesis work involves a comparative plastomic analysis of American sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) and testing the impact of marker choice on phylogeographic inference. Jesse is also interested in the evolution of floral morphology and species boundaries in North American leatherflowers (Clematis).
Lee's thesis research involves documenting changes in forest structure and composition over a 23-year period in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. He is working in high-elevation beech (Fagus grandifolia) forests that have been monitored for impacts of beech bark disease, an invasive insect / fungal pathogen that has resulted in mass mortality of beech forests in North America and beyond.
Bleu's dissertation research focuses on the evolutionary implications of gynodioecy. She is using largeleaf pennywort (Hydrocotyle bonariensis), a clonal dune herb, as a model system in which to test several assumptions regarding the ability of hermaphrodites to self and how that may result in a female fitness advantage, and how this relationship changes over time as a consequence of fluctuating pollen limitation. She will also investigating the interplay between clonal structure and potential inbreeding depression in this system.
Emily's research focuses on clonal and genetic structure in the state endangered running glade clover (Trifolium calcaricum). We are working with Margie Hunter, who has initiated a reintroduction effort for this rare species. The recovery of T. calcaricum is considered a priority for the Tennessee Plant Conservation Alliance.
Jeremy's research involves screening published microsatellite markers for utility in the invasive zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha). We are beginning a project with Dr. Ryan Otter here at MTSU to assess population genetic structure of zebra mussels in TN waterways.
Maddy is just beginning her research to investigate seed germination success in Tennessee populations of the federally endangered leafy prairie clover (Dalea foliosa).
FORMER GRADUATE STUDENT LAB MEMBERS
Kevin Trostel (M.S. August 2017) Population Genetics of the rare cedar glade endemic Astragalus bibullatus (Fabaceae) using nuclear microsatellites
Rayne Leonard (M.S. December 2015) Using comparative plastomics to identify potentially informative non-coding regions for basal angiosperms, with a focus on Illicium (Schisandraceae)
Jackie Howell (M.S. December 2012) University of South Alabama - Co-Chaired with Tim Sherman Species distribution and hybridization of Sarracenia at Splinter Hill Bog Preserve
Elizabeth Hieb (M.S. December 2012) University of South Alabama - Co-Chaired with Anne Boettcher A genetic analysis of population structure and reproductive ecology in the Alabama red-bellied turtle (Pseudemys alabamensis Baur)
Brenna Ehmen (M.S. December 2012) University of South Alabama - Thesis Committee Member Seagrass abundance and population structure in Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Mississippi
T.G. Jackson (M.S. May 2009) University of South Alabama - Co-Chaired with David Nelson A phylogenetic appraisal of the endangered Alabama red-bellied turtle (Pseudemys alabamensis Baur)
FORMER UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT LAB MEMBERS
Fady Girgis (B.S. December 2017) Systematics of Old World Illicium (Schisandraceae)
Mora Sedhom (B.S. December 2017) Systematics of Astragalus section Sarcocarpi (Fabaceae)
Ash Johnson Systematics of Dalea section Kuhnistera ser. Candidae (Fabaceae)
Shelby Watkins (B.S. December 2017) Genetic diversity in reintroduced and augmented populations of Dalea foliosa in Illinois
Cassandra Scalf (B.S. August 2015), Austin Burleyson (B.S. December 2015), and LaTonya Johnson (B.S. December 2015) Characterization of novel microsatellite loci for the federally endangered Astragalus bibullatus
Emily McElroy Intraspecific comparative plastomics of Liquidambar styraciflua
Nick Taylor (B.S. May 2016) Comparative plastomics of Astragalus section Sarcocarpi
Ashley Witt Building a campus-wide teaching resource for tree identification at MTSU
Nick Gonder Reorganization and digitization of the MTSU herbarium
Stephanie Cooper (B.S. December 2016), Shelby Watkins (B.S. December 2017),Zach Hull Characterization of nuclear microsatellite loci in Dalea foliosa, a federally endangered Cedar Glade legume
Penny Carroll & Rayne Leonard Characterization of nuclear microsatellite loci in Illicium parviflorum, a basal angiosperm endemic to Central Florida
Kelsie Mason & Nicole Millsaps Clonal population genetic structure in Fagus grandifolia as determined by nuclear microsatellite loci Marcelle Albert & Ali Fricke Soil microbial community diversity in high-elevation beech gaps of Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Marion Bustos&Cliff Hunn Screening nuclear and plastid genes for phylogeny reconstruction in the basal angiosperm genus Illicium Erin Tyrell (Post-Baccalaureate) Reproductive ecology of Colonel’s Island Basswood on the barrier islands of Georgia
FORMER UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT LAB MEMBERS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH ALABAMA (USA)
While at USA, I had five undergraduate students working on diverse projects. Leslie Cazeaux and Serena Nimityongskil used TRFLP data to characterize bacterial community structure in Sarracenia pitcher plants. Erica Branch and Micah El Farrahworked to identify chloroplast DNA barcoding regions for closely related species of Illicium. Jackie Howell evaluated the utility of published microsatellite loci for determining clonal structure in American beech. I also co-mentored Nicole Bulla for her Honors thesis on Ruppia maritima.