Mechanisms of adaptation to changing environments

We integrate evolution, genetics, genomics, and ecology in the laboratory, greenhouse, and field to understand how natural selection on weeds and native plants produces (sometimes very rapid) adaptation to a variable environment.

The Conner Lab is a safe space for everyone to discover the joy of science while being treated with kindness and respect, regardless of any personal characteristics. We study and celebrate phenotypic variation, with zero tolerance for discrimination, including racist, sexist, or anti-LGBTQ+ behaviors. 

Learn more about our research and lab culture/DEI!

What’s New

  • Dec 2022: One of our summer REUs, Tori, was featured in a local newspaper article!
  • Sept 2022: We are currently hiring a postdoc and lab tech! Learn more on our Join the Lab page!
  • July 2022: Congratulations to Ava on her awesome dissertation defense!
  • July 2022: Congratulations to our fabulous 2022 summer undergrads –  Sally, Shoshannah, and Tori –  for completing their summer research experiences! Check out their posters on the People page!
  • May 2022: Congratulations to Robin for receiving an SSE Lewontin Early Award to help support her research

A Primer of Ecological Genetics

by Jeffrey K. Conner and Daniel L. Hartl

This book covers basic concepts in population and quantitative genetics, including measuring selection on phenotypic traits. The emphasis is on material applicable to field studies of evolution focusing on ecologically important traits. Topics addressed are critical for training students in ecology, evolution, conservation biology, agriculture, forestry, and wildlife management.

“Your new Primer of Ecological Genetics is absolutely terrific, and I plan on making it required reading for graduate students in my lab and for other graduate students on whose committees I serve. Your book is bound to go a long way in clearing up fuzzy thinking about basic concepts at the interface of evolution and ecology. Just as importantly, I think your book will result in much better experimental design — and much clearer discussion of results — in future dissertations and the papers that result from them.”  — John N. Thompson, University of California at Santa Cruz

“I find that this volume will be very useful for both inspired undergraduates who plan on initiating honors studies or independent research, and for beginning graduate students. . . . This primer will help young biologists learn the nuts and bolts of ecological genetics, as well as its practical application.”   — Jeffry B. Mitton, The Quarterly Review of Biology

“Until now, a textbook aimed at undergraduates and early postgraduates, which integrates both population and quantitative genetics, has been lacking. In six chapters, Conner and Hartl have successfully filled this gap… The well-planned structure, easy reading style and extensive coverage make this book valuable not only to undergraduate students but also for population and quantitative geneticists aiming to expand their scope of their own research.”    — JM Cano Arias, Heredity

“In sum, A Primer of Ecological Genetics provides a lucid introduction to foundational principles in the field. In their preface, Conner and Hartl state, The guiding principle of the book is to focus on clear explanations of the key concepts in the evolution of natural and managed populations. The first edition of A Primer of Ecological Genetics accomplishes this nicely. I recommend it with enthusiasm.”    — Mark C. Ungerer, BioScience