I study plant systematics — specifically, the evolution of the Potentilla breweri complex (Rosaceae), a group of strawberry-like mountain-meadow wildflowers that casually thumbs its collective nose at the concept of species boundaries. It’s a complex case study in network phylogeny, introgressive hybridization, and sky-island biogeography.
The plants are found in scattered high-montane to subalpine meadows in the Sierra Nevada, the Cascades, and the isolated mountain ranges of the Great Basin, with one species (P. drummondii) ranging as far north as Alaska. I’ve collected them from all over their United States range.
I’m now using genome skimming (next-generation sequencing) to build a network phylogeny and reconstruct their history of hybridization and introgression, onto which I’ll map information about their cytology (DNA content values), morphology (morphometrics of both wild-collected and common-garden phenotypes), ecology and biogeography (niche modeling).