Home People Faculty Jeffrey K. Conner
Jeffrey K. Conner PDF Print E-mail
Professor of Plant BiologyJeffConnerWeb

Ph. D. Cornell University 1988

W. K. Kellogg Biological Station
Michigan State University
Hickory Corners, MI 49060
Phone: (269) 671-2269
Fax: (269) 671-2104
Email: connerj(at)msu.edu

Conner Lab webpage


Research Interests

conner3Members of my lab group conduct laboratory, greenhouse, and field studies integrating evolution, genetics, genomics, and ecology.  Our goal is to attack problems at the interface of these areas in novel ways.  Currently most of these studies deal with plant-insect interactions, especially pollination. I am interested in understanding the mechanisms by which natural selection in plants produces (sometimes very rapid) adaptation to a variable environment, as well as possible constraints to this adaptation. We measure the strength of selection acting in present-day populations and combine this with quantitative and molecular genetic as well as genomic analyses to predict short-term evolutionary change and identify the genetic mechanisms underlying adaptation and constraint.

A closely related interest is how different traits evolve to work together as an adaptively integrated unit; the model system we use for this work is the evolution of flower size and shape.  This research includes pollination ecology, measurements of additive genetic variances and covariances, molecular genetic paternity analysis to estimate selection through male fitness, QTL mapping of floral traits, and gene sequencing for measuring both coding and regulatory evolution. conner2

Students in my lab can choose to do research in any area of plant-insect interactions, evolutionary ecology, and/or ecological genetics, or in the application of these basic concepts to environmental problems, including invasive species, biological control, ecological effects of transgene escape, global climate change, and conservation genetics.   Current and recent Ph.D research have focused on natural selection, adaptation, constraint, and mutation, mainly in floral traits. Species studied include wild radish, Arabidopsis lyrata and A. thaliana, five species of milkweed, and blue-eyed Mary.

See our lab website (link above) for publications and much more information about the lab.

conner7Conner, J.K. and D.L. Hartl. A Primer of Ecological Genetics. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, MA.

"Your new Primer of Ecological Genetics is absolutely terrific, and I plan on making it required reading for graduate students in my lab and for other graduate students on whose committees I serve. Your book is bound to go a long way in clearing up fuzzy thinking about basic concepts at the interface of evolution and ecology. Just as importantly, I think your book will result in much better experimental design -- and much clearer discussion of results -- in future dissertations and the papers that result from them." ~John N. Thompson, University of California at Santa Cruz

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 October 2011 18:09