Office: SCA 127
Lab: SCA 120, SCA 122
B.A. Biology, Swarthmore College, 1995
Ph.D. University of Georgia, 2004
Postdoctoral associate and research assistant professor, Stony Brook University, 2004-2006
Senior Postdoctoral associate, NYU, 2007-2009
Plant ecological genetics and genomics, ecological and evolutionary epigenetics, plant ecophysiology, conservation genetics, global change biology.
My research interests incorporate genomics tools and approaches into robust ecological experiments because this will be a critical component of understanding how organisms respond to the ecological and evolutionary challenges of human alteration of the global environment. The rapidly escalating amount of genomic tools developed for model systems grown in controlled conditions can be used to examine the mechanisms of phenotypic response in a broad array of wild organisms and biologically relevant conditions. Also, several epigenetic mechanisms have dramatic effects on phenotype, even in the absence of changes in genotype, and there is increasing evidence that epigenetic processes are an important component of hybridization events and response to stressful environments. Hybridization and exposure to stressful conditions have been important in the evolutionary history of many plant species and especially in more recent, human mediated plant invasions. Therefore, investigating epigenetic effects in our experimental studies could significantly improve our understanding of the mechanisms underlying phenotypic variation and the translation from genotype to phenotype. Placing genomics and systems biology within a classic ecological genetics framework allows us to investigate these components of plant response to natural and human altered environments.
Current and future research in my laboratory include studies of 1) ecological genetics and genomics in coastal salt marsh plants to address ecological interactions and response to climate change; 2) how epigenetic effects contribute to phenotypic variation and ecological breadth in native and invasive plants; 3) experimental evolution of epigenetic effects in Arabidopsis 4) phenotypic plasticity in natural and agricultural systems in changing environments.
Plant Ecological Genomics
Recent Journal Articles
Richards, C.L.. 2012. Epigenetics: linking genotype and phenotype in development and evolution. Integrative and Comparative Biology 52(4):547-549.
Richards, C.L., A.W. Schrey, M. Pigliucci. 2012. Invasion of diverse habitats by few Japanese knotweed genotypes is correlated with high epigenetic differentiation. Ecology Letters 15: 1016-1025.
Ledon-Rettig, C., Richards, C.L., L.B. Martin. 2012. Epigenetics for behavioral ecologists. Behavioral Ecology.
Ledon-Rettig, C., Richards, C.L., L.B. Martin. 2012. A place for behavior in ecological epigenetics. Behavioral Ecology.
Richards, C.L., U. Rosas, J.A. Banta, N. Bhambra, M.D. Purugganan. 2012. Genome-wide patterns of Arabidopsis gene expression in nature. PLoS Genetics 8(4): e1002662.
Drenovsky, R.E., B.J. Grewell, C.M. D’Antonio, J.L. Funk, J.J. James, N. Molinari, I.M. Parker, Richards, C.L.,. 2012. A functional trait perspective on plant invasion: invasiveness to impacts in a changing world. Annals of Botany 110(1): 141-153 doi: 10.1093/aob/mcs100. *shared first authorship.
Richards, C.L., K.J.F. Verhoeven & O. Bossdorf. 2012. Evolutionary significance of epigenetic variation. In: Plant Genome Diversity. J.F. Wendel, ed. Springer.
Schrey, A.W., Richards, C.L.,. 2012. Within-genotype epigenetic variation enables broad niche width in a flower living yeast. Molecular Ecology 21: 2559-2561.
Schrey, A.W., Richards, C.L., V. Meller, V. Sollars , D.M. Ruden. 2012. The role of epigenetics in evolution: The extended synthesis. Genetics Research International, Article ID 286164.
Schrey, A.W., C.A.C. Coon, M.T. Grispo, M. Awad, T. Imboma, E.D. McCoy, H.R. Mushinsky, Richards, C.L., L.B. Martin. 2012. Epigenetic variation may compensate for decreased genetic variation with introductions: a case study using house sparrows (Passer domesticus) on two continents. Genetics Research International, Article ID 979751.
Martin, L.b., Liebl, A.L., Trotter, J.H., Richards, C.L., McCoy, K., and McCoy, M.W. 2011. Illuminating the black box linking genotype and phenotype. Integrative and Comparative Biology 51(4):514-527.
Richards, C.L., J.F. Wendel. 2011. The hairy problem of epigenetics in evolution. New Phytologist 191: 7-9.
Martin, L.B., A.L. Liebl, J.H. Trotter, Richards, C.L., K. McCoy, M.W. McCoy. 2011. Integrators: physiological determinants of phenotypic plasticity. Integrative and Comparative Biology 51: 514–527.
Richards, C.L.. 2010. The biology of coastal sand dunes. The Quarterly Review of Biology 85(3):354.
Nicotra,A.B., Atkin, O.K., Bosner, S.P., Davidson, A.M., Finnegan, E.J., Mathesius, U., Poot, P., Purugganan, M.D., Richards, C.L., Valladares, F., et. al. 2010. Plant phenotype plasticity in a changing climate. Trends in Plant Science 15(12):684-692.
Nicotra, A.B., O.K. Atkin, S.P. Bonser, A. Davidson, E.J. Finnegan, U. Mathesius, P. Poot, M.D. Purugganan, Richards, C.L., F. Valladares, M. van Kleunan. 2010. Plant phenotypic plasticity in a changing climate. Trends in Plant Science 15: 684-692.
Richards, C.L., O. Bossdorf, K.J.F. Verhoeven. 2010. Understanding natural epigenetic variation. New Phytologist 187: 562-564.
Richards, C.L., J. Wares, J. Mackie. 2010. Evaluating Adaptive Processes for Conservation and Management of Estuarine and Coastal Resources. Estuaries and Coasts: Special Feature on Genetic Structure and Adaptation in Coastal Ecosystems 33: 805-810. DOI 10.1007/s12237-010-9306-1
Richards, C.L. , S.N. White, M.A. McGuire, S.J. Franks, L.A. Donovan, R. Mauricio. 2010. Plasticity, not adaptation to salt level, explains variation along a salinity gradient in a salt marsh perennial. Estuaries and Coasts: Special Feature on Genetic Structure and Adaptation in Coastal Ecosystems 33: 840-852. DOI 10.1007/s12237-009-9186-4
Richards, C.L. , O. Bossdorf, M. Pigliucci. 2010. What role does heritable epigenetic variation play in phenotypic evolution? Bioscience 60: 232-237. DOI 10.1525/bio.2010.60.3.9
Bossdorf, O., D. Arcurri, C.L. Richards, M. Pigliucci. 2010. Experimental alteration of DNA methylation affects the phenotypic plasticity of ecologically relevant traits in Arabidopsis thaliana. Evolutionary Ecology 24: 541-553. DOI 10.1007/s10682-010-9372-7
Caicedo, A.L., C.L. Richards, I.M. Ehrenereich, M.D. Purugganan. 2009. Complex rearrangements lead to novel chimeric gene fusion polymorphisms at the Arabidopsis MAF2-5 flowering time gene cluster. Molecular Biology and Evolution 26: 699-711.
Richards, C.L., Y. Hanzawa, I.M. Ehrenreich, M. Katari, K.E. Engelmann, M.D. Purugganan. 2009. Perspectives on ecological and evolutionary systems biology. Plant Systems Biology. R.A. Gutierrez & G.M. Coruzzi, eds. Annual Plant Reviews, Vol. 35. Blackwell Publishing: Oxford, UK.
Richards, C.L., R. Walls, J.P. Bailey, R. Parameswaran, T. George, M. Pigliucci. 2008. Plasticity in salt tolerance traits allows for invasion of salt marshes by Japanese knotweed s.l. (Fallopia japonica and F. xbohemica, Polygonaceae). American Journal of Botany 95: 931-942.
Bossdorf, O., C.L. Richards, M. Pigliucci. 2008. Epigenetics for ecologists. Ecology Letters 11: 106-115. Recommended to Faculty of 1000 by Brian Neff, February 22, 2008
Richards, C.L., O. Bossdorf, N.Z. Muth, J. Gurevitch, M. Pigliucci. 2006. Jack of all trades, master of some? On the role of phenotypic plasticity in plant invasions. Ecology Letters 9: 981-993.
Richards, C.L., S.C. Pennings, L.A. Donovan. 2005. Habitat range and phenotypic variation in salt marsh plants. Plant Ecology 176: 263-273.
Richards, C.L., J. L. Hamrick, L.A. Donovan, R. Mauricio. 2004. Unexpectedly high clonal diversity of two salt marsh perennials across a severe environmental gradient. Ecology Letters 7: 1155-1162.
Franks, S.J., C.L. Richards, E. Gonzales, J. E. Cousins, J. L. Hamrick. 2004. Multi-scale genetic analysis of Uniola paniculata (Poaceae): a coastal species with a linear, fragmented distribution. American Journal of Botany 91: 1345-1351.
Callaway, R.M., S.C. Pennings & C.L. Richards. 2003. Phenotypic plasticity and interactions among plants. Ecology 84: 1115-1128.
Pennings, S.C., and Richards, C.L. 1998. Effects of wrack burial in salt-stressed habitats: Batis Maritima in a southwest Atlantic salt marsh. Ecologh 21(6):630-638.