2007 B.S. Biology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
2012 Ph.D. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
The Genung Lab studies community ecology, mostly using flowering plants and wild pollinators. Our research has a strong quantitative and theoretical focus. We are fascinated by the complexity of ecological systems and the sophistication required to develop analytical approaches to account for this complexity.
Research in the lab focuses on three fundamental areas. First, we study the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function in real-world systems. Ecosystem services (e.g. carbon storage, pollination) are derived from Earth’s biodiversity and are essential for human life, but it remains unclear how these services will be affected by species loss and the homogenization of communities. Second, we study the ecological and evolutionary links between pollinator traits and pollination efficiency. Many pollination ecology studies have measured only the abundance and species identities of pollinators, and we need to do more to understand how effective different pollinator species are (i.e. pollen deposition and fruit production rates) depending on the plant species they are pollinating. Third, we study the importance of within-species variation for the structure and function of plant and pollinator communities. Not all individuals of a species are exactly the same. This is an obvious statement, but for many years, within-species variation was under-appreciated. While we have made a lot of progress understanding the ecological importance of within-species variation in plants, we have much more work to do for other organisms, including pollinators.
Please visit The Genung Lab for more information. We are recruiting a postdoc and graduate/undergraduate students to begin in January 2019.