Alannie-Grace Grant is modeling the climatic differences between closely related self-fertilizing and cross-fertilizing angiosperm plants. Her results show that self-fertilizing species live in a wider range of climatic zones and in warmer, drier regions than cross-fertilizing species. She hypothesizes that the reduced size of self-fertilizing species and potential for faster development rates may strongly affect photosynthetic water use efficiency (an indicator of physiological stress) or the species’ ability to reproduce before dry late-season conditions. Using the genus Collinsia as a model system, the NSF DDIG award will provide funds to perform experiments on self-fertilizing and cross-fertilizing plants in different climatic conditions.
Alannie-Grace will use the new plant growth chambers in EEB greenhouses to grow plants in a range of specifically programmed conditions, controlling light, CO2, water, and temperature. She will also explore how climatic conditions across the species’ geographic range may affect carbon acquisition by performing stable isotope analysis on herbarium specimens from different locations across the species’ range with the assistance of the UT Herbarium and the UT Stable Isotope Laboratory. Alannie-Grace is able to dedicate all her time to her research thanks to a UT Program for Excellence and Equity in Research Fellowship and UT Chancellor’s Top-Off Funds.
In addition to the NSF DDIG award, Alannie-Grace won second place in the Third Annual Cynthia B. Peterson Poster Competition, a competition for Genome Science and Technology (GST), Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology (BCMB), Microbiology, and Program for Excellence and Equity in Research (PEER) graduate students.