The innovation engine for new materials

Lauren Smith


Saint Francis High School

Grade Level: 

High School

Teaching Position: 

Biology and Environmental Science


Susan Mazer



Research Project Year: 


Research Project Title: 

Case Study: Natural Selection on the date to first flower in a widespread California wildflower, Nemophila mensiezii

Research Project Description: 

The Mazer Lab conducts research on understanding and predicting the mechanisms by which plants adapt to ecological risks and opportunities that they encounter. During the summer of 2022, Lauren participated in the Nemophila mensiezii microevolution project. This wildflower can is widespread across the coastal ranges and the Sierra Nevadas. As a part of a larger four-year project Lauren analyzed data to understand the correlation between reproductive fitness and days to first flower. Days to first flower are ecologically important because it can determines synchrony with pollinators and how much time the plant has to produce fruit. This trait is also influenced by environmental conditions. It is important to understand how days to first flower varies between populations and within the species to predict how it will evolve in future generations. 

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