Ecology and Evolution of Chemical Defense of Plant Seeds
I am an evolutionary ecologist broadly interested in the interactions of plants with natural enemies and the chemical defense of plant tissues. I am particularly intrigued by how plants cope with a changing array of enemies and changing environmental conditions throughout a day, a year, and a lifetime. Seeds exist as such in at least two distinct environments: on the maternal plant pre-dispersal and away from the maternal plant post-dispersal. The post-dispersal phase can include time spent in the gut of dispersing animals, on the soil surface, and buried at different depths within the soil. How these quiescent reproductive packages protect the embryo from the different communities of pathogens and seed predators present in these distinct environments is a major topic of my dissertation research.