Evolutionary Ecology & Polyploid Speciation

I am a plant evolutionary ecologist at Rhodes College interested in the processes generating patterns of biodiversity. The main thrust of my NSF funded research focuses on the interplay between ecology, genome duplication (polyploidy), and speciation. To answer questions at the interface of ecology and evolution I employ a wide range of tools, including ecological field studies, population genetics and molecular systematics, and greenhouse experiments.

Polyploidy is common in flowering plants, yet the ecological consequences of genome duplication for patterns of diversification remain unclear. Using the North American desert dominant Creosote Bush (Larrea tridentata, Zygophyllaceae) to investigate this question, I have established field sites and a collection of greenhouse plants to make repeated ecological, phenological, and physiological measurements. I am also investigating the population genetics of the species, identifying patterns of gene flow, and characterizing plant-pollinator interactions in native habitat.

Rhodes College
Department of Biology
2000 North Parkway
Memphis, TN  38112

laportr[at]rhodes.edu
You can also find me on ResearchGate, Twitter, and LinkedIn.