Dr Katie Wenzell

Postdoctoral Scientist Genes in the Environment

Flowering plants comprise over a quarter of a million species and are characterised by a dazzling array of floral colours, shapes, structures, rewards and scents, many of which serve to attract animal pollinators.

To better understand how this diversity of traits and species arose, Katie’s research explores the evolutionary ecology of flowers and plant-pollinator interactions.

Her work in the Byers Group investigates how floral scent has evolved across the genus Mimulus (the monkeyflowers) in relation to other floral traits and major pollinators.

By understanding how plants have evolved such diverse signals to attract pollinators to their flowers, this work informs our knowledge of how interactions with animal pollinators influence plant reproduction and evolution.

Katie completed her PhD in Plant Biology and Conservation at Northwestern University and Chicago Botanic Garden, where she studied range-wide variation in floral traits and local pollinators of Castilleja (the paintbrushes) and whether differences in pollination mode impact the genetic structure and connectivity of plant populations.