Loren Rieseberg is an evolutionary biologist who is best known for his work on the role of hybridization in evolution and speciation, particularly in wild sunflowers. Rieseberg was born and raised in western Canada, but moved to the USA for his post-secondary education, including a B.A. in biology from Southern Adventist University, an M.Sc. in botany from the University of Tennessee, and a Ph.D. in botany from Washington State University in 1987. He subsequently worked as a researcher at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in southern California until 1993 and then as a professor at Indiana University until 2006. Rieseberg currently holds a University Killam Professorship at the University of British Columbia, where he directs the University?s Biodiversity Research Centre. His work has been recognized by MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowships, the
David Starr Jordan Prize, Stebbins Medal, and the Darwin-Wallace Medal. He is an elected fellow of the Royal Societies of London and Canada, the Norwegian Academy of Arts and Letters, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is Past-President of the American Genetics Association and the Botanical Society of America, and has served as Chief Editor of Molecular Ecology since 1999.

Research Interests

Loren Rieseberg's lab is interested in the origin and evolution of plant species, focusing on members of the sunflower family (Asteraceae) - the largest family of flowering plants. They have explored the role of hybridization (mating between
genetically distinct lineages) in evolution, both as a creative force that maintains or increases biodiversity and as a maladaptive force that decreases diversity. To identify the outcomes of hybridization, they have used evolutionary genomic
approaches and field and greenhouse experiments to document the frequency and phenotypic effects of hybridization, explore its extent in plant genomes, and recreate naturally occurring hybrid lineages in the greenhouse. They have employed a
similar strategy to establish the frequency and distribution of chromosomal rearrangements in natural populations and to investigate their role in plant adaptation and speciation. On a more practical level, Rieseberg's lab has integrated
genomic and phenotypic data with results from laboratory and greenhouse experiments to identify evolutionary changes that causally drive plant invasions, mine natural populations for agronomically useful alleles, develop pre-bred lines to deliver these alleles to plant breeders, and generate genomic tools and resources for crops and weeds in the Asteraceae to facilitate research in this diverse family.

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Primary Section

Section 25: Plant Biology

Secondary Section

Section 27: Evolutionary Biology