My research program incorporates ecological and evolutionary perspectives to understand the relationship between reproductive biology and species diversification. Many of the species I currently study are native to Missouri and Illinois. I have research sites with local land owners and at Shaw Nature Reserve; as well as collections, resources, and collaborators established at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Conducting research locally allows for collaborative projects with other institutions and researchers and facilitates the involvement of students.
There are three main projects in the Krakos Lab.
1. The ecology and evolution of Oenothera reproductive biology
We examine how reproductive traits such as pollination and breeding system have been important in the diversification of angiosperm species. Pollination and breeding systems easily shift between different states among closely related species; I investigate how these shifts in reproductive traits towards specialization drive species diversification in Oenothera (the Evening primroses). I explore these interests through an ever-expanding suite of tools including molecular genetics, pollination biology, breeding system, and floral reward analysis techniques.
2. The impact of climate change on plant reproductive biology
This study examines the changes in pollinator community structure and dynamics caused by climate-induced shifts in plant and insect phenology. Specifically, this research documents the consequences of species-specific responses to climate change for plant-pollinator community dynamics, insect pollinator specialization, and plant reproductive success. A record of plant phenology at an intact reserve site in eastern Missouri that spans almost 75 years has revealed changes in both timing and duration of flowering among plants that occur in at least five distinct habitats. This research project encompasses: (1) continuation and elaboration of the phenology survey, (2) analysis of phenology of pollinating insects, especially bees, based on historical collections at the site, (3) detailed broad-scale analysis of pollination biology of species from all habitats at the site, including assessment of plant reproductive success, and (4) characterization of the microclimate of each habitat and how that relates to regional climatic data and to habitat-specific phenological changes.
3. The Maryville Honeysuckle Project
The Maryville Honeysuckle Project involves several research projects, all with a focus on understanding the biology of invasive species and an investigation of possible management plans.
Bauhaus Botany Workshops and Art Show