John Chau

Postdoctoral Associate

Spatial genetic patterns of plants on sub-Antarctic islands: influence of landscape, climate, history, and biology

Sub-Antarctic islands feature unique environments with distinct assemblages of species that are expected to be highly impacted by rapid environmental change, including climate change and the spread of alien invasive species. These islands also represent ideal model systems for the study of evolutionary and ecological processes because of their bounded and simple yet well-developed terrestrial ecosystems and the presence of a continuum of structural complexities on different islands.

The spatial genetic structure of most plant species on sub-Antarctic islands is unknown, and therefore what the effects of geology, climate, and organismal traits are on these populations remains an unanswered question. John’s work includes on comparisons of Azorella species on Marion and Macquarie islands and he documented the effects of island topography and history on genetic patterns, and comparisons of the plants Azorella and Acaena on Marion Island to study the effects of seed dispersal syndromes on genetic structure.