Reese grew up in Boulder county, got his undergraduate degree at CU Boulder with a B.A. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and is still here at CU now as a graduate student. Given the diversity of ecosystems within the state’s gradient of elevations, from the short grass prairies of the Great Plains all the way up to arctic/alpine communities on mountaintops, it has certainly been hard to leave this wonderful area. His graduate studies are also still within the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department, with a focus on plant evolutionary biology, systematics and genomics. Specifically he aims to investigate the evolutionary history of blueberries and their relatives (genus Vaccinium) from a genomic standpoint. Blueberries and co. tend to exhibit high levels of genetic exchange across species boundaries (i.e. hybridization and introgression) and this has obscured understanding of their evolution in the past. However, genomics has the potential to resolve these issues and open up many possibilities! When he is not working towards his degree or TAing classes, Reese enjoys hiking around the woods and mountains of Colorado, rock climbing, and spending time with his family.
Recently, his graduate student career just began in the fall of 2017 and it has been great to become immersed in the lively yet rigorous graduate culture here at CU. He is currently working on drafting a manuscript evaluating the presence and patterns of introgression between a few species of western North American bilberries (Vaccinium section Myrtillus).
Louise concluded a successful field season in RSA, where she worked out of Steve Johnson’s lab at the University of Kwazulu Natal to assess hypotheses of local adaptation in Zaluzianskya microsiphon.
Raised in Georgia, Louise has spent the majority of her life outside, barefooted, and in constant explore mode. After receiving her Bachelors in psychology from the College of Charleston, she went on to pursue her passion for botany and completed a BS in evolutionary biology at the University of North Carolina in Asheville. While there, she became enamored with botanical research and worked on numerous projects- including a population demographic and genetic study on American ginseng. After graduating, she began working at Archbold Biological Station, where she completed a project studying the breeding system and fire dynamics of a FL endemic pawpaw species (Asimina reticulata). Over the past two summers, she has also assisted in research with the Blue Ridge Parkway, using repelling equipment to survey the endangered cliff dwelling Appalachian Avens. For her masters, she has been studying altitudinal clines in the floral evolution of Zaluzianskya microsiphon, an herb endemic to South Africa. Specifically, examining how altitude may effect the interactions of this plant with its’ long proboscid fly pollinator (Proseca granglbaurai). Louise is also a primitive skills enthusiast and enjoys wild foraging, carving spoons, tanning/working leather, and fermentation projects of various sorts.
Check out her webpage and blog or this short article about her field work!
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