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Adaptation to climate change in scarlet monkeyflowers

Haley Branch, a PhD student at the Biodiversity Research Centre, describes her research on how populations adapt to climate change, specifically, by looking at 4 different types of scarlet monkey-flowers which grow among the West coast.

Hi, I'm Haley Branch. I am a PhD candidate in Amy Angert's lab here at the Biodiversity Research Centre. Overall I'm trying to understand how differences in climate affect a population's ability to respond to future climatic change. To study this, I am using seeds from four populations of scarlet monkeyflower, or Mimulus cardinalis - two from the northern wet sites and two from dry southern sites. Specifically, I look at seeds collected before a recent major drought and during the peak of the drought. This allows me to observe changes in traits, not only across regions, but also across time, shedding light on their ability to rapidly evolve.

My favourite research memory is actually from two years ago when I was working with the University of Minnesota and I was spending two months in the field and it was just an amazing desert experience.

I don't have a favourite organism per se but my favourite system is the desert, specifically the Mojave Desert, so pretty much anything that lives there.


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