Biology ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 9-15-2021


Genetic and phenotypic variation can have different patterns within a species if it has populations with contrasting histories. Populations can have discrete differences that are shaped by different evolutionary scenarios, but within each population, range, or region, traits and association with fitness can also be affected by both edaphic and landscape variation. For my dissertation, I surveyed and experimentally analyzed variation and adaptive potential in Sahara mustard (Brassica tournefortii), a desert annual that has endemic, invasive, and agricultural populations in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Although my multi-trait analysis generated complex results, my findings can be applied to other Brassica that have both wild and agricultural populations. B. tournefortii has both adaptive and maladaptive evolutionary potential that can be harnessed for conservation, invasive species control, and crop development.

Project Sponsors

UNM GPSA New Mexico Research Grant, Joshua Tree National Park Association Graduate Student Research Grant, Southern California Botanists Alan Romspert Grant in Desert Botany


clinal variation, crop evolution, phenotyping, plasticity

Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Biology Department

First Committee Member (Chair)

Diane L. Marshall

Second Committee Member

Thomas F. Turner

Third Committee Member

Satya M. Witt

Fourth Committee Member

Gordon A. Fox

Fifth Committee Member

Anna Sher