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Mackenzie Taylor
Ph.D. Program: Department of Ecology and Evolution
University of Tennessee

Advisor: Joseph Williams

Research Interests:

The flower, a defining feature of angiosperms, exhibits tremendous diversity in morphology and development. Much of this diversity arises from the flower's role in producing pollen and in attracting pollen and/or pollinators. However, flowers must also function to mediate pollen germination and the development of a compatible pollen tube that carries the sperm to the egg during the fertilization interval. Although pollination must occur prior to pollen tube growth, little is known about how evolutionary changes in pollinator attraction have affected downstream developmental processes that occur after pollination. The goal of my research in this area is to investigate how evolutionary transitions in floral morphology and reproductive ecology, including pollination biology, are linked to changes in post-pollination development. My research goals focus on understanding the consequences of evolution of angiosperm reproductive structures, such as the carpel and pollen, and of their reproductive function. I am interested in the developmental and ecological factors that effect or constrain this evolutionary change