Floyd/Ogg/Cleland Plant and Fungal Biology Final Year Fellowship

2020 Floyd/Ogg/Cleland Plant and Fungal Biology Final Year Fellow: Jay Goldberg

Jay Goldberg, a Ph.D. candidate in Distinguished Professor Lynda Delph's lab, studies the evolutionary mechanisms maintaining variation in plant defensive traits. He uses western jimson weed (Datura wrightii) as his study system because of a widespread trichome dimorphism in which some plants feel sticky whereas others are soft to the touch, and both phenotypes can be found coexisiting within populations across the state of California. Using a field observational approach to examine how morph frequencies within populations have changed over a 20-year period, he was able to show that negative frequency-dependent selection—in which rare morphs have a fitness advantage over common ones—is acting on dimorphic D. wrightii.