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Plant Adaptation to a Changing Climate

Event organized by Genspace

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This class will cover the basics of global climate change, how certain plants are able to acclimate or adapt to changing climates, and the plant traits that are becoming increasingly important to climate change adaptation.

The first part of the class will focus on the aspects of climate that are changing, such as temperature and precipitation, and how the ranges and genetics of plant populations are altered by climate change. We will also discuss the types of experiments that allow us to study how plant populations are acclimating and adapting to climate change.

The second part of the class will delve deeper into the natural selection that can cause, or not cause, rapid adaptation to climate change. This will include a review of trait selection, the genetic constraints that can prevent or deter rapid evolution, and creating/reading fitness landscapes. In order to connect the plant traits important to climate change and the genes that impact them, we will extract DNA from plants, amplify a gene using PCR reactions, and visualize any size changes via electrophoresis.

This class is a perfect introduction to anyone interested in climate change ecology, plant adaptation, or the link between genes and traits.


Dr. Michael Sekor is a plant evolutionary ecologist with a focus on studying how plants rapidly adapt to novel environments. He began his research career while studying at Vassar College and has conducted research in New York, Louisiana, and Colorado. Prior to completing his PhD in Biology at Fordham University in 2017, he was an Instructor in the General Genetics Laboratory. He has also taught in the Adult Education Department at the New York Botanical Garden and was a Project Leader at the Queens Zoo for Project TRUE (Teens Research Urban Ecology).