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About Christina L. Richards

My research interests incorporate genomics tools and approaches into robust ecological experiments because this will be a critical component of understanding how organisms respond to the ecological and evolutionary challenges of human alteration of the global environment. The rapidly escalating amount of genomic tools developed for model systems grown in controlled conditions can be used to examine the mechanisms of phenotypic response in a broad array of wild organisms and biologically relevant conditions. Also, several epigenetic mechanisms have dramatic effects on phenotype, even in the absence of changes in genotype, and there is increasing evidence that epigenetic processes are an important component of hybridization events and response to stressful environments. Hybridization and exposure to stressful conditions have been important in the evolutionary history of many plant species and especially in more recent, human mediated plant invasions. Therefore, investigating epigenetic effects in our experimental studies could significantly improve our understanding of the mechanisms underlying phenotypic variation and the translation from genotype to phenotype. Placing genomics and systems biology within a classic ecological genetics framework allows us to investigate these components of plant response to natural and human altered environments. Current and future research in my laboratory include studies of 1) ecological genetics and genomics in coastal salt marsh plants to address ecological interactions and response to climate change; 2) how epigenetic effects contribute to phenotypic variation and ecological breadth in native and invasive plants; 3) experimental evolution of epigenetic effects in Arabidopsis 4) phenotypic plasticity in natural and agricultural systems in changing environments.


Present Assistant Professor of Integrative Biology, University of South Florida

Contact Information

Office: SCA 127
Phone: 813-974-5090