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Jessa Finch

jfinch's picture
PhD Candidate
Chicago Botanic Garden, Northwestern University

jfinch at chicagobotanic dot org

PhD student working with Dr. Havens-Young since 2013. Dissertation research focuses on the impact of climate change on early life stages (dormancy break, germination, and seedling establishment) of three common milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) in the Midwest U.S. Other research interests include urban ecology, monarch-milkweed biology, phenology, and restoration ecology.   


Projects
Local adaptation of flowering phenology in common milkweed (2017)

Local adaptation is a well-documented phenomenon in plants, whereby populations evolve specialization to local environmental conditions, such as climate. The timing of life cycle events such as flowering and fruit set, also known as phenology, often displays local adaptation. As many flowering plants are pollinated by animals, aligning flowering time with pollinator emergence and activity is...


Defining germination tolerance ranges for three milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) (2016)

Early life stages (dormancy break, germination, and seedling establishment) are predicted to be more sensitive to climate than adult stages, potentially serving as a large bottleneck to recruitment under climate change. We predict that sensitivity to climate will also be influenced by species traits known to be associated with gene flow, such as type of breeding system and pollination syndrome...


From small town seeds to big city weeds: Variation in Asclepias spp. along climatic gradients and across life stages (2016)

Intern will assist in several ongoing projects investigating three milkweed species (Ascelpias spp.) across life stages and along climatic gradients. Early life stages will be examined through laboratory germination trials at Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG) and a field germination experiment at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. A second year of monitoring data will be collected from a...


Monarch utilization of milkweed populations along an urbanization gradient (2015)

This research project examines monarch utilization of common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) populations along an urbanization gradient in and around Chicago, IL. In response to recent dramatic declines in the monarch butterfly population, a large milkweed planting initiative is underway across the nation. Milkweeds (Asclepias spp.are the obligate host plant of the...


Impacts of Climate Change on Germination of Native Species. (2014)

Investigating Plant Regeneration Responses along an Environmental Gradient: This project aims to examine variation in tolerance range for dormancy break, germination of seeds, and establishment of seedlings, in order to compare contemporary and future regeneration within the context of climate change. Currently, very little is known about how altered environmental cues will impact plant...