University of Vermont

College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Biology

Ph.D. Student - Gretel Clarke

Gretel Clarke

Gretel Clarke, Ph.D. Student

Contact Information
Email: Gretel Clarke

Marsh Life Science Building, Rm 205
Phone: (802) 656-0451
Advisor: Alison Brody

Research

My research investigates the extent to which herbivores, seed predators, and pollinators influence gynodioecy- a breeding system characterized by separate female and hermaphroditic sex morphs- in Polemonium foliosissimum by assessing the individual and interactive effects of these players on sex morph fitness. 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 pollinator abundances (using naturally colonized nest boxes) and pollen receipt (via hand pollinations). Demography data from control and experimental plots can be used to create alternative transition matrices for 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.

 

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