Research topics

  • Competition for pollination

  • Comparative pollination of Silene

  • Cytoplasmic male sterilty

  • Reproductive assurance

  • research students Spring 2016-2017

    Research team, 2016-2017: (from left to right): Vlad Reznichenko, Travis Specht, Austin Cutler, Melissa Lecht, and Ben Montgomery.

    Research summary

    My research focuses on the evolutionary ecology of plant reproduction and plant pollinator interactions.  I currently focus on the partitioning of pollinators among different species of Silene, a genus of wildflowers with a wide array of floral traits and multiple pollination syndromes.

    Additionally, I am interested in studying the reproduction of various flax (Linum) species in order to bester understand the role of delayed self pollination as a mechanism that allows for cross pollination while also providing reproductive assurance.

    Longer term research interests include competition for pollination between different species and mechanisms for the maintenance of cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) as well as repercussions of CMS for the maintenance of genetic diversity.

    Teaching summary

    Courses taught include the following:

    Biol 101/L: (Biological Science I & Lab)

    Biol 102L: (Biological Science II Lab)

    Biol 301L: (Introduction to Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Lab)

    Biol 320/L: General Botany (Lecture & Lab)

    Biol 525/L: Plant Taxonomy (Lecture & Lab)

    Biol 599: Senior Seminar

    Service activities

    I serve on the board of the Hub City Farmers Market, which works to increase the supply, demand, and access to healthy, local food in Spartanburg County. We run the Urban Farm designed to grow fresh produce in Spartanburg's Northside Neighborhood.

    I have worked with the Spartanburg Trees Coalition to work toward the eradication of kudzu in a natural area on the USC Upstate Campus. Information about the kudzu control work of the Trees Coaltion is linked here

    Herbarium curation

    I am the de facto curator of the Upstate Herbarium (for historical reasons formally listed as the University of South Carolina Spartanburg Herbarium: USCS). Check out the hundreds of high quality images in the database, linked here.

    We are currently in the process of indexing and digitizing images of all herbarium specimen as part of the "The Key to the Cabinets" TCN (Thematic Collections Network) grant from NSF to the SouthEast Regional Network of Expertise and Collections (SERNEC). Our collection, half of which includes digitized images, can be browsed through the SERNEC Portal.

    I serve on or have recently served on various departmental and university committees and the Faculty Senate.

    research students Spring 2013

    Research team, 2012-2013: (from left to right): Britt Twitty, Kathryn Blair White, Donathan Dendy, Caleb Phillips, and Ben Montgomery.