Ruth G. Shaw
Ruth earned her B.A. in Biology at Oberlin College and her Ph.D. in Botany and Genetics at Duke University with Janis Antonovics, followed by a postdoc with Joe Felsenstein at University of Washington. She was then an Assistant Professor at the University of California, Riverside before she joined the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the University of Minnesota in 1993. In her empirical studies of plant populations, she strives to understand evolutionary change as it is influenced by ecological context. In support of the empirical research, she has worked toward enhancing statistical capabilities for quantitative genetics and for analysis of fitness. Ruth’s CV.
Graduate students and postdocs
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Shelby earned B.A. degrees in political science and women’s studies from the University of Arizona, a M.S. in Water Resources at the University of New Hampshire with William McDowell, and her Ph.D. in Conservation Biology from the University of Minnesota with Ruth and Nicholas Jordan. Shelby is interested in ecosystem responses to anthropogenic stressors and associated impacts on ecosystem services. Her past work includes investigations of N and C cycling in headwater wetlands, contaminant exposure and effects, international GMO governance, and translocation risks of native plant populations. Shelby’s work with the Healthy Prairies project centers on studies of local adaptation and adaptive capacity in native prairie plant species. Despite never having played basketball herself, she is an avid Minnesota Lynx fan. Shelby’s CV and researchgate profile.
Nicholas joined the Shaw Research Group in 2012 after graduating with his B.S. in Plant Biology from Purdue University. He is interested in the potential of populations to adapt to changing conditions, especially those caused by people. His dissertation research uses quantitative genetic methods to examine the potential of two native prairie species (Rudbeckia hirta, Black Eyed Susan, and Chamaecrista fasciculata, Partridge Pea) to adapt to human impacts, and uses focus groups to examine the obstacles facing the production and use of locally-sourced native seeds. Nicholas’s CV. Nicholas’s LinkedIn.
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Mason earned a BSc (4-year, honors) from University of Winnipeg, and a PhD from University of Manitoba with Anne Worley, followed by a postdoc with Lawrence Harder and Sam Yeaman at University of Calgary. His past research has examined how selection on floral traits by multiple effective pollinators shape floral designs (Polemonium brandegeei), and the role of negative-frequency dependent selection on plant phenology strategies (Delphinium glaucum). Mason’s current research explores the immediate capacity for adaptation in natural populations of Chamaecrista fasciculata, and evaluating the extent to which adaptation is realized. He is also using a theoretical approach to address the recurrence of male sterility in plants, and empirically evaluating the interactive effects of population density and inbreeding on overall fitness. Finally, Mason is a loyal Winnipeg Jets fan and is determined to convert the rest of his lab-mates on the importance of hockey.
Anna received a B.A. in environmental studies with a biology focus from Macalester College in 2008. From 2008-2012 she worked as a seasonal biological technician for native plant restoration and research projects in various regions of the United States. In August 2014 she received an M.S. in Conservation Ecology from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment. She currently works as a research assistant for the Healthy Prairies Project, which seeks to discover the scale of local adaptation, as well as the adaptive capacity, for plant species in the prairie region of Minnesota. Anna’s CV.
Naomi earned her B.A. in general science with concentrations in biology and environmental studies from Grinnell College. After graduating she worked as a biological science technician at Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge and at Iowa State University, and more recently as a Minnesota Master Naturalist Instructor at the Carleton College Cowling Arboretum. Naomi is interested in the consequences of translocating plant populations during prairie restoration efforts and in the scale of local adaptation of native prairie plant species.
Rachel received her B.A in biology with an environmental studies concentration from St. Olaf College in 2013. After graduation, she worked as a field technician for several agroecology labs at the University of Minnesota. In the spring of 2014, she began working with the Chamaecrista Project, studying the capacity for ongoing adaptation, using partridge pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata) populations.
Undergraduate research assistants and volunteers
Former graduate students
Amber Eule-Nashoba (Plant Biological Sciences), Ph.D. 2016: “Fitness and adaptive capacity in a Minnesota prairie”. Future Faculty Fellow, Northeastern University.
Shelby Flint (Conservation Biology, coadvisor N. Jordan), Ph.D. 2015: “Translocating Panicum virgatum L.: Performance, community impact, and competitive outcome”. Postdoctoral Associate, University of Minnesota
Marcus Warwell (Ecology, Evolution & Behavior), Ph.D. 2015: “Genecology and phenotypic evolution of whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) and ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) under warm-dry climate”. Geneticist, US Forest Service
Gina Quiram (Ecology, Evolution & Behavior, coadvisor J. Cavender-Bares), Ph.D. 2013: “The ecology and evolution of an invasive perennial plant (Lythrum salicaria) in the context of biological control by specialist herbivores (Galerucella spp.)”. Restoration Evaluation Specialist, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Gina’s LinkedIn profile.
Amy Dykstra (Plant Biological Sciences), Ph.D. 2013: “Seedling recruitment in fragmented populations of Echinacea angustifolia”. Assistant Professor, Bethel University. Amy’s website.
John Stanton-Geddes (Ecology, Evolution & Behavior, coadvisor P. Tiffin), Ph.D. 2011: “Limits to range expansion in the native annual legume, Chamaecrista fasciculata”. Data Scientist, dealer.com
Rachel Mills (Plant Biological Sciences), M.S. 2008. “Evolutionary divergence of the invasive prairie species Melilotus officinalis”. Arctic Slope Regional Corp. Energy Service
Laurie Goldsmith (née Stone, Plant Biological Sciences, coadvisor P. Tiffin), M.S. 2007: “CO2, N, and Biodiversity Effects on Phenotypic Selection and Demography of Native Grassland Perennials”. Harmony Wildflowers, Blue Thumb
Kristin Mercer (Applied Plant Sciences, coadvisor D. Wyse), Ph.D. 2005: “Seed germination, growth and fitness in crop-wild sunflower hybrids from multiple genetic backgrounds: genetic and environmental effects on evolution of wild populations”. Assistant Professor, Ohio State University
Jason Hill (Plant Biological Sciences), Ph. D.2004: “Effects of spontaneous mutation on fitness of Arabidopsis thaliana”. Associate Professor, Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, University of Minnesota
Eric Lonsdorf (Ecology, Evolution & Behavior, coadvisor D. Alstad), Ph.D. 2003: “Consequences of inbreeding in fragmented habitat for plant populations and communities”. Research Associate in Biology, Franklin and Marshall College
Stacey Halpern (Ecology, Evolution & Behavior, coadvisor P. Morrow), Ph.D. 2003: “Evaluating the potential for adaptation to climate change in Lupinus perennis”. Associate Professor, Pacific University
Nadilia Gomez (Plant Biological Sciences, coadvisor G. May), M.S. 2001: “Effect of inbreeding on male and female fertility of Nemophila menziesii”. (Ph.D. 2005, Applied Plant Sciences, Univ. of Minnesota). Data and Analytics Lead, DuPont Pioneer.
Christina Kavanaugh (Plant Biological Sciences), M.S. 2000: “The effects of spontaneous mutation on fitness and response to shading in Arabidopsis thaliana”. Greenhouse System Improvement Lead, Monsanto
David Heiser (Ecology, Evolution & Behavior), M.S. 2000: “Fitness effects of outcrossing and the occurrence of insect-mediated cross-pollination in Calylophus serrulatus, a prairie perennial”. Head of Education and Outreach, Peabody Museum, Yale University
Julie Etterson (Ecology, Evolution & Behavior), Ph.D. 2000: “Evolutionary potential of the annual legume, Chamaecrista fasciculata, in relation to global warming”. Associate Professor, University of Minnesota-Duluth
Elizabeth Svenson, (Ecology, coadvisor P. Morrow), M.S. 1995: “Response of prairie species and old-field vegetation in an experimental restoration from seed”.
Robert Podolsky, (Plant Genetics, UC-Riverside), Ph.D. 1994: “Population genetic structure of Clarkia dudleyana”. Associate Professor, Wayne State University
Former postdoctoral associates
Kane Keller, 2016-2017 – Assistant Professor, California State University – Bakersfield. Kane’s website.
Seema Sheth, 2014-2015 – NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Integrative Biology and the University and Jepson Herbaria, University of California at Berkeley. Seema’s website.
Caroline Ridley, 2008-09 – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Jen Lau, 2005-07 –Associate Professor, Indiana University
Helen Hangelbroek, 2003-05
Stuart Wagenius, 2000-02 –Conservation Scientist, Northwestern University
Shumei Chang, 1999-2001 – Associate Professor, University of Georgia
Diane Byers, 1993-98- Associate Professor, Illinois State University
Stefan Andersson, 1992-93 – Professor, Lund University
Gerrit A.J. Platenkamp, 1988-91 –Environmental Consultant
Former staff & research assistants
Will Reed, 2014-2018, Echinacea Project & Healthy Prairies
Matthew Gullickson, 2016-17 – Healthy Prairies senior technician
Whitney Watson, 2016-17 – Healthy Prairies senior technician
Laura Seefeldt, 2015 – Healthy Prairies senior technician
Thorin Gustafson, 2015 – Healthy Prairies field assistant
Lily Brown, 2014-15 – Healthy Prairies lab assistant
Ian Carriere, 2014-15 – Healthy Prairies lab assistant
Santi Charry, 2014-5 – Healthy Prairies lab & data assistant
Erin Karan, 2014-15 – Healthy Prairies lab & greenhouse assistant
Kayla Witt, 2014-15 – Healthy Prairies lab, greenhouse & field assistant
Jillian Riley, 2014 – Healthy Prairies seed collection
Brittany Dilley, 2012-14 – Healthy Prairies seed collection & lab assistant
Sam Weaver, 2014 – NSF REU student, St. Olaf College – Chamaecrista Project
Dana Olofson, 2013 – Chamaecrista Project lab assistant