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Kay Havens

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Medard and Elizabeth Welch Director, Plant Science and Conservation
Chicago Botanic Garden

khavens at chicagobotanic dot org

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...


Sex in an evening primrose: can hand pollination select for traits that make plants less attractive to hawkmoths? (2017)

Oenothera organensis is a rare evening primrose, found only in the Organ Mountains of New Mexico. The Chicago Botanic Garden obtained plants from a greenhouse collection at Indiana University of Oe. organensis descended from individuals collected in the wild in 1938, as well as plants collected last year from the wild. Oe. organensis is self-incompatible, and...


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...


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...


Interactions between a Suite of Biocontrol Weevils and the Ecosystem of Cirsium pitcheri (2014)

This project focuses on interactions between a suite of biocontrol weevils and the threatened plant, Cirsium pitcheri, and carries implications for management and biocontrol usage in the United States. Work will be split between a lab at the Chicago Botanic Garden and field sites in Door County, Wisconsin. The weevils have been used to control Cirsium, Carduus, and Centaurea species in North...