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Rachel MacTavish

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PhD Candidate
B.S (2011) Kennesaw State University
M.S. (2014) Georgia Southern University

I am a quantitative geneticist using eco-evolutionary approaches to study the impact of novel soil resources on plants under anthropogenic disturbances, including climate change and excess nutrient availability, on evolutionary concepts such as trade-offs, plasticity, and patterns of selection. I combine large-scale, multi-season, factorialized greenhouse experiments with Boechera stricta (Brassicaceae) natural population data collected from a resource gradient. In the greenhouse I found water stress results in a fitness component trade-off across populations (local adaptation) and intensifies the trade-off between reproduction and growth, suggesting drought conditions constrain adaption despite the high inheritance of these fitness-related components (MacTavish and Anderson, 2020). Additionally, I have preliminary data revealing that soil water and nutrient availability act as agents of selection and identifying plasticity in timing of first flower appearance and reproductive structure height at first flowering. 

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Dissertation Chair

Associate Professor

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