Person standing a on a hillside

Brooke Kern

Research Q & A

What’s your hometown?

I’m from Columbus, Montana.

What are you currently working on?

Last summer, with the help of funding from the Bell Museum, I set up an experiment to track the movement of pollen in populations of the annual wildflower Clarkia xantiana (farewell-to-spring). I used quantum dots, a new and very accurate pollen labeling technique, to measure how far pollen can travel in a population and whether these distances change in sites with higher and lower densities of Clarkia.

Where are you working on research/field work?

My field sites are at the boundary of the Sierra Nevada foothills and the Mojave Desert in Kern County and Tulare County, California. I spend early summer in California, and the rest of my research is conducted in the greenhouse and lab on the Saint Paul campus of the University of Minnesota.

What will your next steps/research be?

This summer, I will be measuring pollen movement between separate populations of Clarkia xantiana to complement my work last summer within populations. I will also be starting a new project to determine how floral traits influence hybridization between the two subspecies of Clarkia xantiana.



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