Jeff Conner

W. K. Kellogg Biological Station
Michigan State University

Email - Website

Research Interests:

Members of my lab group conduct laboratory, greenhouse, and field studies integrating evolution, genetics, genomics, and ecology. Our goal is to attack problems at the interface of these areas in novel ways. Currently most of these studies deal with plant-insect interactions, especially pollination. I am interested in understanding the mechanisms by which natural selection in plants produces (sometimes very rapid) adaptation to a variable environment, as well as possible constraints to this adaptation. We measure the strength of selection acting in present-day populations and combine this with quantitative and molecular genetic as well as genomic analyses to predict short-term evolutionary change and identify the genetic mechanisms underlying adaptation and constraint.

A closely related interest is how different traits evolve to work together as an adaptively integrated unit; the model system we use for this work is the evolution of flower size and shape. This research includes pollination ecology, measurements of additive genetic variances and covariances, molecular genetic paternity analysis to estimate selection through male fitness, QTL mapping of floral traits, and gene sequencing for measuring both coding and regulatory evolution.