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).