Elizabeth Elle

Professor

Community and Evolutionary Ecology

Departmental Chair

Education

  • BSc, MAT, SUNY Binghamton
  • PhD, Rutgers University

Areas of Research

Research Interests

My research program has two main foci:  1) the importance of ecological selection pressures, primarily by insects, for the evolution of plant traits, and 2) the determinants and impacts of variation in pollinator diversity in fragmented ecosystems.  My evolutionary ecology program is mostly focused on mating system evolution, especially the evolution of selfing in the highly polymorphic annual, Collinsia parviflora; in addition, I have studied the evolution of resistance to herbivory and the importance of plant-herbivore interactions for invasiveness of plants. My approach has been to test current models of trait evolution within the context of the natural history of an organism. I choose traits that have a genetic basis that is known or can be determined (using classic quantitative genetic techniques), and so can respond to selection; combine controlled experiments with studies of natural populations; and in some cases have used genetic markers to refine my estimates of realized reproductive success (e.g. paternity analysis and outcrossing rate estimation).
 
My biodiversity program seeks to link local and landscape-scale factors to among-site variation in pollinator diversity in two highly fragmented BC ecosystems:  the endangered Garry Oak Ecosystem of Vancouver Island and the bunchgrass/shrub steppe of the South Okanagan (the latter work includes the wild/agroecosystem interface).  Our approach aims to unite the plant- and insect-focused views of the ecosystem service of pollination.  We estimate pollinator biodiversity, evaluate the properties of plant-pollinator interaction webs, and measure pollen limitation of both wildflowers and crops in multiple sites and years to evaluate the contribution of native pollinator diversity to pollination services.  For more information, please see my Lab Page.

Courses

Summer 2017

Future courses may be subject to change.