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Queen's University

Chris Eckert - Professor

Eckert.jpg Research: The research in my lab investigates two major evolutionary trends in flowering plants: the evolution of self-fertilization and the evolution of asexuality. We also have a strong interest in the genetic & ecological consequences of colonization as well as the evolution of geographical range limits. These interests dovetail with conservation research on invasive and endangered species.  We use a combination of large-scale geographical populations surveys, manipulative experiments in natural populations, DNA and protein marker-gene analysis of reproductive patterns & genetic structure, plus a variety of lab-based tools, including quantitative genetics, developmental analyses, image analysis, and computer modeling.  Our field work takes place in a variety of locations across North America and Europe. Currently, we have projects on the coevolution of geographic range limits and the mating system based on the pacific coast of North America, a large-scale analysis of adaptive evolution during biological invasion based in Europe and eastern North America, and a phylogeographic study of plants that occur as disjunct populations on critically-imperiled alvar habitat in the Great Lakes region.

»» Lab Website »« email: »« telephone: 613-533-6158 ««

Some Recent Publications:

  • Hargreaves, A.L., K.E. Samis and C.G. Eckert. 2014. Are species' range limits simply niche limits writ large? A review of transplant experiments beyond the range. American Naturalist, in press.
  • Hargreaves, A.L., and C.G. Eckert. 2013. Evolution of plant dispersal and colonization along geographic gradients: implications for shifting ranges. Functional Ecology, in press.
  • Doubleday, L.A.D., R.A. Raguso and C.G. Eckert. 2013. Dramatic vestigialization of floral fragrance across a transition from outcrossing to selfing in Abronia umbellata (Nyctaginaceae). American Journal of Botany, in press.
  • Dart, S. and C.G. Eckert. 2013. Experimental and genetic analyses reveal that inbreeding depression declines with increased self-fertilization among populations of a coastal dune plant. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 26: 587–599.
  • Dart, S. and C.G. Eckert. 2013 Experimental manipulation of flowers to determine the functional modes and fitness consequences of self-fertilization: unexpected outcome reveals key assumptions. Functional Ecology 27: 362–373.
  • Boag, A.E. and C.G. Eckert. 2013. The effect of host abundance on the distribution and impact of biocontrol agents on purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria, Lythraceae). Ecosience 20: 90–99.
  • Dart, S.R., K.E. Samis, E. Austen & C.G. Eckert. 2012. Broad geographic covariation between floral traits and the mating system in Camissoniopsis cheiranthifolia (Onagraceae): multiple stable mixed mating systems across the species’ range? Annals of Botany 109: 599–611.
  • Winn, A.A., E. Elle, S. Kalisz, P.O. Cheptou, C.G. Eckert, C. Goodwillie, M.O. Johnston, D.A. Moeller, R.H. Ree, R.D. Sargent, M. Vallejo-Marin. 2011. Analysis of inbreeding depression in mixed-mating plants provides evidence for selective interference and stable mixed mating. Evolution 65: 3339–3359.
  • Eckert, C.G., S. Kalisz, M. Geber, C., R.D. Sargent, E. Elle, P.O. Cheptou, C. Goodwillie, M.O. Johnston, J.K. Kelly, D.A. Moeller, E. Porcher, R.H. Ree, M. Vallejo-Marin, A.A. Winn. 2010. Plant mating systems in a changing world. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 25: 35–43.
  • Colautti, R., C.G. Eckert & S.C.H. Barrett. 2010. Evolutionary constraints on adaptive evolution during range expansion in an invasive plant. Submitted to Proccedings of the Royal Society, London, Series B 277: 1799–1806.
  • Samis, K.E. and C.G. Eckert. 2009. Ecological correlates of fitness across the northern geographic range limit of a pacific coast dune plant. Ecology 90: 3051–3061.
  • Eckert, C.G., B. Ozimec, C.R. Herlihy, C.A. Griffin & M.B. Routley. 2009. Floral morphology mediates temporal variation in the mating system of a self-compatible plant. Ecology 90: 1540–1458.
  • Yakimowski, S.B. & C.G. Eckert. 2008. Populations do not become less genetically diverse or more genetically differentiated towards the northern limit of the geographical range in clonal Vaccinium stamineum (Ericaceae). New Phytologist 180: 534–554.
  • Eckert, C.G., K.E. Samis & S.C. Lougheed. 2008. Genetic variation across species’ geographic ranges: the central-marginal hypothesis and beyond. Molecular Ecology 17: 1170-1188.
  • Darling, E., K.E. Samis & C.G. Eckert. 2008. Increased seed dispersal potential towards geographic range limits in a Pacific coast dune plant. New Phytologist 178: 424-435.


Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000