|Kristina M. Hufford
SER Assistant Professor, Restoration Ecology
My research focuses on studies of ecological restoration and genetics of native flora. Most restoration efforts require the reintroduction of plant materials, but currently up to 30% of all revegetation efforts fail, and often little is known about the factors necessary for native plant recruitment in degraded habitats. To this end, my long-term goal is to characterize adaptive traits in native flora that are key for restoration success. Within a native plant species, ecotypic variation among populations is common and the selected seed source can have significant consequences for restoration outcomes. Guidelines for seed sourcing therefore recommend the use of local germplasm to increase the likelihood that seeded plants are adapted to site conditions, and to improve the successful establishment of restored plant populations. Although ecotypic variation is common in native flora, few data are available for the occurrence and extent of adaptive differentiation in many species targeted for restoration, or the species/population traits important for establishment. Addressing this gap in knowledge is critical not only to match appropriate native seed sources for reclamation and restoration requirements, but also to predict the future distributions of species in changing climates.
Current & developing projects: