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Mercer Laboratory

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Effects of moisture variation on weeds and monoecious crops

Climate change is already altering the phenology and productivity of many plant and animal species.  Depending on each species' capacity for plasticity, as well as its ability to evolve or migrate, some will be more susceptible than others altered biotic and abiotic conditions.  Crop species may vary in their responses to climate change depending, in part, on their pollination systems.  We investigate how productivity of monoecious crops (those with separate male and female flowers on the same plant, e.g., squash) may be affected by altered phenology and reproductive synchrony induced by variation in moisture stress.  We also study whether weedy species (e.g., velvetleaf) have the capacity to evolve in response to variable moisture.  This work involves collaborations with Dr. Lesley Campbell(Ryerson University, Toronto) and Dr. Jing Luo (Ohio State University).