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Katherine Kucera

MS student

Major adviser: Andrea Kramer, PhD
Research: Characterizing genetic changes in the production of multi-source seed lots in Penstemon pachyphyllus
Research interests: genetic conservation; restoration ecology; seed biology; climate change; adaptation; plant-pollinator relationships 

Current research: Penstemon pachyphyllus is a pollinator-friendly, long-lived perennial forb used in large-scale seeded restorations in the Great Basin region of the western U.S. Currently. P. pachyphyllus seeds used for restorations are produced in multi-source seed lots. Multi-source seed lots combine seed from multiple wild populations in order to increase the genetic diversity and volume of seeds used for restorations. It is important to have genetically diverse seeds for restorations to maintain plant adaptations and ensure that plant populations can successfully establish at restoration sites. My current research, in collaboration with the Forest Service and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, assesses both intentional and unintentional changes in genetic diversity through the seed production process for P. pachyphyllus, from wild seed-source populations through to produced multi-source seed lot populations. I am also utilizing germination data for P. pachyphyllus to determine if there is a relationship between germination rate and changes in genetic diversity when seeds from wild populations are combined.

Penstemon pachyphyllus
Grants and awards:
2018 Alumnae of Northwestern University Grant 
2018 Plant Biology and Conservation Research Award, Northwestern University 
2018 Illinois State Academy of Science, Student Research Award
2018 American Penstemon Society Special Project Grant