November 18, 2013 @ 6:30 p.m. Plants in a Changing World: A Citizen Science Project on Plant Evolution

Plants in a Changing World: A Citizen Science Project on Plant Evolution

Dr. Jennifer Lau, Kellogg Biological Station, Michigan State University

Monday, November 18, 2013; 6:30 p.m.

People’s Church 1758 N 10th St., Oshtemo Township


We live in a changing world. Native plants are faced with many new challenges from invasive species to climate change. Species threatened by these changes have three options: they can migrate, adapt, or go extinct. Dr. Lau’s research investigates how plants respond to these types of environmental change. She asks questions such as: How do environmental changes affect plant populations? Is evolution an option for dealing with these new challenges? 


Even though scientists now know that evolution occurs and can occur rapidly, we still do not know the main environmental factors driving the evolution of our favorite plants. Answering these questions requires understanding the environmental factors that affect plant evolution, which requires large scale studies that include many populations across multiple years. Dr. Lau will speak about the science behind how plants respond to environmental change and will solicit your input on ideas for a new citizen science project to answer these questions.


Dr. Lau is an Associate Professor in the Department of Plant Biology and Kellogg Biological Station at Michigan State University. She received her PhD from the University of California, Davis in 2005. You can learn more about her lab’s research at, and read about exciting advances in ecology and evolution as summarized by her lab at