The Trichostema laxum project: crowdsourcing ecology and evolution
I've been working on the ecology of Trichostema laxum, a cheery little serpentine-endemic mint, since 2013. The project has gone in ways I have not expected, but has taught me much about pollination, plant reproduction, color polymorphisms, fire ecology, and more. This work involves several awesome collaborators, including: Jenny Van Wyk (Davis/UMass), Tim Miller (CSU-Bakersfield), John Mola (Davis), Kathy Toll (Duke/MSU), Ross Brennan (Davis), and Marj Weber (MSU) on various aspects of the project.
I've also had outside help. A bunch of people volunteered and grew out seeds of T. laxum in 2016, and coupled with my own growouts, we now have a good idea of the Mendelian genetics behind certain flower color polymorphisms in T. laxum.
I'll write more here soon as it develops, but we've got some awesome data on outcrossing, pollination, fire, herbivory, and more!
(Also note: our largely ecological data could be really helped by - and potentially really useful for - someone interested in plant population genetics or chemistry, especially of anthocyanins - we're a fun bunch of collaborators, I promise!).
Only one paper so far (but its a good one!):
LoPresti, EF; Van Wyk, JI*.; Mola, JM*; Toll, K*; Miller TE & NM Williams. Wildfire lowers outcrossing in an annual mint through altered pollinator communities and changes in plant morphology. American Journal of Botany 105: 1-11