Gretel Clarke, Biology Department Graduate Student, received a “Grants in Aid of Research” Award from Sigma Xi this year.
“My research investigates the extent to which herbivores, seed predators, and pollinators influence population trends and gynodioecy- a breeding system characterized by separate female and hermaphroditic sex morphs- in Polemonium foliosissimum, Sticky Polemonium. Sex morphs may face different selective pressures from ecological players and may have different life-history strategies as a result. My research uses experimental manipulations and demographic modeling to explicitly account for these life-history differences. Experimental manipulations include excluding herbivores, removing seed predator eggs, and artificially increasing pollen receipt. Demography data from control and experimental plots can be used to project population trends under ambient, deer removed, and increased pollinator abundance (etc.) conditions. Demographic modeling will allow me to assess which vital rates are important to population growth rates, how ecological players differently affect the vital rates of sex morphs, and ultimately how these effects translate into ultimate long-term fitness differences among sex morphs in a sexually dimorphic species”.
Please see link for more information about the program: http://www.sigmaxi.org/programs/giar/index.shtml