B.S. Biological Sciences – Botany 2012, Colorado State University
My broad research interest concerns understanding organismal longevity. Conifers are the oldest-lived non-clonal organisms, yet the mechanisms underlying their longevity are rarely investigated. My current research interest is understanding how somatic mutation accumulation affects the longevity of individuals and the long-term survival of populations. Coast redwood provides an excellent opportunity to study this phenomenon, as it’s both old-lived and clonal. Therefore, somatic mutations can accumulate over many millennia, and tree ring science (dendrochronology) can calibrate the mutation rate to time. Mutation rate enables the observation of population demographics across evolutionary timescales and the continued improvement of forest conservation and management.