Tanisha Williams


Current Research

I study the relationship between plant traits and environments to assess how variation in phenotype will determine adaptability to changing climates in the Cape Floristic Region (CFR) of South Africa. I focus on the highly diverse plant genus Pelargonium, with approximately 160 species and 89% of these are endemic to the CFR. I use reciprocal transplant gardens, greenhouse experiments, extensive field collections and herbarium records, functional trait measurements, and phylogenetic relationships to test for variation in fitness and the genetic basis of local adaptations to future climatic regimes. The combination of exceptional species diversity and endemicity magnifies threats of extinction from climate change. How species in such a diverse landscape will respond to environmental change is poorly understood. I will use my research findings to identify adaptation strategies that are imperative to the conservation of the unique species richness found in South Africa.


B.S. (2007) The Pennsylvania State University, Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering
M.S. (2012) California State University, Los Angeles, Department of Biological Sciences
Doctoral Student (2012 – Present) University of Connecticut, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


Contact Info

Tanisha M. Williams
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
75 North Eagleville Rd, U-43
Storrs, CT 06269
Office: TLS 363
Voice: (860) 486-4638
Fax: (860) 486-6364

Email: tanisha.williams@uconn.edu

Website: http://naturesplasticity.weebly.com/