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Megan Bontrager

Assistant Professor

BSc, UC Santa Cruz
Postdoc, UC Davis

ESC 2047


Local adaptation—in which populations perform best in their home environments—occurs frequently in nature, but we don’t know which components of the environment are its most important drivers. Additionally, adaptation sometimes fails, resulting in limits to species’ distributions on the landscape. What are the selective and demographic contexts that lead to these failures? These are the questions that motivate research in my lab. The answers have particular relevance as we try to anticipate how biodiversity will respond to global change.  

My group works at the intersection of ecology and evolution, conducting field experiments that test hypotheses about geographic range limits and local adaptation. We complement this field work with experiments in controlled environments, quantitative syntheses of the literature, and genomic approaches. Plants are our main study systems. To learn more about recent and ongoing work, check out our lab webpage.