First and foremost, our lab is committed to diversity in all of its forms. We celebrate diversity in human identity, experience, and perspective. Collectively, we excel when we learn from each other and when we remain open to new points of view. We seek to cultivate an inclusive lab culture, open to people of all racial, socioeconomic, religious, and cultural backgrounds, and to people of all gender identities and sexual orientations.


Jill Anderson

Assistant Professor

Department of Geneticss

Odum School of Ecology

Office: Davison Life Sciences C312A

Office phone: 706-542-0853

Email: jta24 (at) uga (dot) edu

Jill's CV:pdf

I am an evolutionary ecologist broadly interested in natural plant populations. I grew up in Chicago, where I gained an appreciation for tallgrass prairies as a child through restoration workdays. After I finished my undergraduate degree at Brown University, I spent three years working as a tropical field biologist in Yasuni National Park (Ecuador), Pando (Bolivia) and Lomas de Barbudal Reserve (Costa Rica). I started grad school at Cornell determined to study seed dispersal by frugivorous fish in tropical South America. Along the way, I developed a strong interest in local adaptation in plant populations. When I finished my Ph.D. in the labs of Monica Geber and Peter Marks, I began a postdoc with Tom Mitchell-Olds at Duke.  

Sandra Bibiana Correa

Postdoctoral Associate

Dept. of Genetics and Odum School of Ecology

April 2018: Assistant Professor, Mississippi State U.

Email: sandrabibianacorrea (at) gmail (dot) com


Sandra's CV:pdf

I am primarily interested in ecology, evolutionary biology, biogeography, and conservation of tropical freshwater fishes and their habitats. One of the main goals of my research is to examine the factors underlying species coexistence and diversity maintenance. My model system is species-rich Amazonian floodplain fish assemblages. Recent projects have focused on community ecology, trophic ecology, and functional morphology. Another line of research I actively pursue is the evolution of frugivory among fishes and the ecological role of fruit-eating fishes in forest regeneration. In collaboration with several colleagues, I wrote the first synthesis articles on the subject, which greatly advanced knowledge on this unique interaction. I seek to expand these lines of research to new systems, incorporate emerging ecological theories and analytical techniques, and establish long-term research programs that can trace individual-, community- and ecosystem-level responses to a changing climate.

Susana Wadgymar

Postdoctoral Associate

Dept. of Genetics and Odum School of Ecology

Office: Davison Life Sciences C312

Office phone: 706-542-0910

July 2018: Assistant Professor, Davidson College

Email: susanaw (at) uga (dot) edu


My research centers around the ecological and evolutionary processes that govern species’ responses to environmental change. With a focus on plants, I make use of field and greenhouse manipulative experiments to assess the factors that promote or impede adaptive responses to climate change, often in the context of conservation management practices.

Graduate students

Rachel Mactavish

Ph.D. student

Genetics Department

Research Topic: Life history evolution and climate change

Email: rmactavish (at) uga (dot) edu

My research combines greenhouse manipulations and field experiments to answer questions about life history evolution under climate change, using Boechera stricta as an ecological model species. Additionally, I aim to investigate spatial and temporal shifts in plant-microbial interactions and subsequent nutrient processing in the context of climate change.

Kelly Petersen

Ph.D. student

Odum School of Ecology

Research Topic: Evolutionary consequences of habitat fragmentation

for tallgrass prairie plants

Email: kelly (dot) n (dot) petersen (at) gmail (dot) com

I am a NSF GRFP Fellow and a Ph.D. student in the Odum School of Ecology. My research investigates the effects of fragmentation on levels of molecular and quantitative genetic diversity in tallgrass prairie in the U.S. Midwest, as well as how that diversity is (or is not) incorporated when prairies are restored.

Deidre Keating

Ph.D. student

Plant Biology

Research Topic: Evolutionary genetic responses

to climate change in plants

Email: deidre (dot) keating (at) uga (dot) edu

My research addresses the adaptive potential of native plants to climate change, using the ecological model organism Boechera stricta. I use molecular approaches such as comparative transcriptomics to evaluate genotypic differentiation and the extent to which climate change induces novel patterns of gene expression.

Former graduate students at the University of South Carolina

Rebecca Cain

M.S.: Earth and Environmental Resources Management

Environment and Sustainability Program

Research Topic: Hunting as a management strategy for white-tailed deer

Email: cainrl (at) email (dot) sc (dot) edu

Sam Johnson

M.S.: Earth and Environmental Resources Management

Environment and Sustainability Program

Research Topic: Consequences of climate change for germination success and phenology in a subalpine mustard (B. stricta).

Email: johnsosb (at) email (dot) sc (dot) edu

Rebecca Givens

M.S.: Earth and Environmental Resources Management

Environment and Sustainability Program

Research Topic: Invasive plant species in urban settings

Undergraduate students

Students at UGA: Kathryn Mckibben, Sunishka Thakur, Haaroon Tariq, Haley Nagle, James Workman, Cherien Abou-harb, Tiffany Jones, Bonnie Pirlot, Sahana Srivatsan, Jessica Teleaga

Students at the University of South Carolina: Reena Patel, Cassidy Way, Brenna Teixeira

Join Us!

We are currently recruiting graduate students and postdocs with an interest in plant evolutionary ecology to join us at the University of Georgia. We encourage prospective students and postdocs to contact Jill [jta24 (at) uga (dot) edu] to discuss opportunities and openings in the lab.