Welcome to Ruth G. Shaw’s Research Group in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the University of Minnesota

We study evolutionary processes in contemporary plant populations. A central goal of our research is to clarify the dynamics of evolutionary change in nature, using a combination of quantitative genetics, population biology, and field experiments. Recurring and ongoing themes of our research include adaptation to climate change and evolutionary consequences of severe fragmentation of populations. Explore this site further for descriptions of our current work.


Congratulations to Naomi Rushing on her stunning defense of her doctoral dissertation (Oct 2022): “Seed sourcing for ecological restoration in an era of climate change: Impacts of source latitude and hybridization.”!

Congratulations to Amy Waananen who has been awarded a UMN Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship for 2022-23! Amy gave a successful presentation at the August 2022 Ecological Society of America conference on seedling demography and the long-term fitness consequences of mating potential in Echinacea.

Anna Mason received a UROP to investigate the maternal effects of drought on dominant grasses in an old-field chronosequence at Cedar Creek. Anna joined the Shaw research group in the spring of 2021 and is working with Amy Waananen to study gene flow in Echinacea populations

Congratulations to Wes Braker who completed his prelims in August 2022!

Congratulations to Anna Peschel on her eloquent doctoral defense in October 2021 of her dissertation: Estimating the capacity of Chamaecrista fasciculata to adapt to novel environments!

We are excited that the work of alumnus Will Reed to estimate Genetic variation in reproductive timing in a long-lived herbaceous perennial. is set to appear in a special issue of American Journal of Botany.

For our August field campaign to gather fitness data on 6 and 7 year old cohorts of prairie species for the Healthy Prairies Project, our congenial, efficient crew (Ruth Shaw, Georgiana May, Anna Peschel, Em Daily, Wes Braker, Cedric Ndinga, Brooke Warhem, Rozlynn Mathison, Richard Diedrich) was fortunate to have fine weather.

We are glad to have corrected a computational error in our 2019 paper in Evolution, Additive genetic variance for lifetime fitness and the capacity for adaptation in an annual plant. Fortunately, the correction, published as (Additive genetic variance for lifetime fitness and the capacity for adaptation in an annual plant (vol 73, pg 1746, 2019), did not alter the main conclusions. The code is fully documented at https://zenodo.org/record/7013786 .

News Archive

Summer 2021

Ruth gives the SSE Presidential Address at the 2021 Virtual Evolution Meeting: “Entanglement of genomic and environmental influences on organismal fitness: its bearing on two research programs.” A list of works cited can be found here.

Shelby Flint, Ruth Shaw, and Nicholas Jordan published a paper in Sustainability: “Effects of selection regime on invasive characteristics in an emerging biomass crop, switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.). https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095045

Naomi, Shelby, and Ruth had their paper, “Latitude of seed source impacts flowering phenology and fitness in translocated plant populations,” published in Restoration Ecology. https://doi.org/10.1111/rec.13464