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Courtney Murren

Associate Professor

Address: SSMB 144
Office Hours: by appt. only
Phone: 843.953.8077

Research Interests

Plant Ecological Genetics and Genomics: evolution of phenotypic plasticity, phenotypic integration of roots and shoots, plant responses to soil environment, TDNA mutant phenotypes in Arabidopsis thaliana, local adaptation, factors contributing to invasive species establishment, costs of phenotype vs costs of plasticity, evolution of reaction norms.

Active Research Projects

I’m interested in how phenotypes of organisms are built and interact with the environment. This leads to employment of ecological, developmental, genetic and statistical tools to ask questions about the evolution of phenotypic form. I have examined systems from orchids, to invasive species, to Brassica species, and Mimulus species. Currently, my research focuses on natural accessions and mutant lines of Arabidopsis thalina. Together with collaborators at the College of Charleston (Matt Rutter and Allan Strand, post-doctoral researcher and visiting Assistant Professor Yana Wieckowski) and at Barnard College (Hilary Callahan), Hampden Sydney (Mike Wolyniak), and U of Georgia (Erin Dolan) we have built the unPAK network (undergraduates phenotyping Arabidopsis knockouts). Additionally, I have an active project examining the demography and ecology of natural populations in Spain for above and belowground traits. We are also conducting companion studies employing TDNA knockout mutants to examine the influence of mutation on phenotypic integration in shoots and roots.

Courses Taught

BIO 211: Biodiversity, Ecology & Conservation Biology
BIO 444/EVSS 628: Plant Ecology
EVSS 610
: Environmental Biology


BIO 341: General Ecology
BIO 611/EVSS 624: Biometry