Ex situ conservation, conservation genetics, population genetics, living collections, tree conservation
I am broadly interested in conservation genetics, plant collections management, and temperate-forest trees. My research is focused on integrating genetic data and analyses into species conservation planning at botanic gardens. I seek to understanding how population genetics can enable collection managers to develop and maintain optimal genetic diversity in conservation collections to ensure the greatest potential for sustained reintroduction of rare or endangered plants into the wild. For my master's thesis research I am using a threaten oak species (Quercus oglethorpensis) endemic to the Southeastern U.S. and neutral genetic markers to conduct a species-specific evaluation that will serve to inform and refine existing ex situ conservation protocols of long-lived species. Furthermore, my research will explore how genetic data can be incorporated into population management software (PMx: Software for pedigree analysis and management, Ballou et al. 2010) to help coordinate conservation efforts across botanic gardens.