Dr Collin Ahrens joined the Edwards lab as a postdoctoral researcher in January of 2021. He studies local adaptation to environmental variation (e.g. pathogens, drought, heatwaves etc.), and investigates how these adaptive patterns can be used to manage plant populations.
Local adaptation is often driven by differential physiological responses to environmental stress, controlled by genetic mechanisms. Therefore, he focuses on the E + G = P paradigm to ask questions such as how do populations evolve such different responses to different environmental conditions? And how do species evolve such different responses to the same environmental conditions? To answer these fundamental questions, he leverages several computational techniques to disentangle patterns of adaptation. At the Edwards lab, he will use whole genome sequencing, quantitative genetics, and physiological experimentation to explore how myrtle rust resistance segregates within Melaleuca quinquenervia populations to assist in broader conservation programs, including applied outcomes such as seed collection and ex situ breeding programs.