Hilary Callahan

Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Biology

Hilary Callahan's integrative research examines many different features of plants — from roots to flowers to seeds. She seeks to understand how plants and their traits function in nature, and how external factors affect trait expression and how rapidly traits evolve. To link plant traits with plant genes, she frequently works with the genomic model Arabidopsis thaliana — the "fruit fly of botany." Her interest in how multiple traits are integrated usesArabidopsis as well as longer-lived shrubs and trees growing in Barnard's greenhouse, at nearby botanical gardens, and at several experimental forests in the northeastern region. Her expertise is relevant to understanding how plant traits may change in response to anthropogenic global change. She receives funding from the National Science Foundation, and many of her students' research projects have been supported by Barnard's Hughes Science Pipeline Project. She teaches courses in Plant Evolution and Diversity, including a new course on The Global Power of Botany, part of the "Barnard Teaches" program. She also has taught Applied Ecology and Evolution, Genetics of Domestication, and first year seminars. She oversees the living collections of the Arthur Ross Greenhouse on the roof of Milbank Hall and serves as an affiliated faculty member of Columbia's Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology.

Selected Publications

"Constraints on the evolution of phenotypic plasticity: limits and costs of plasticity" (with C.J. Murren and a large working group), Heredity 115:293-301 (2015)

"Evolutionary change in continuous reaction norms" (with C.J. Murren and a large working group), The American Naturalist.183:453-467 (2014)

"Experimentally limiting root-microbe interactions reveals limited plasticity in functional root traits" (with M.H. Lee and L.H. Comas), Annals of Botany 113:513-521 (2014)

"Phylogenetic patterns in root traits of temperate AM and EM woody species" (with L.H. Comas and P.E. Midford), Ecology and Evolution 4:2979-2990 (2014)

"Impacts of elevated nitrogran inputs on oak reproductive  and seed ecology" (with K. del Fierro, A.E. Patterson, H. Zafar), Global Change Biology 14 (2008)

"Plasticity genes and plasticity costs: a new approach using Arabidopsis recombinant inbred populations" (with M.C. Ungerer), New Phytologist 166 (2005)

"Shade-induced plasticity and its ecological significance in wild populations of Arabidopsis thaliana" (with M. Pigliucci), Ecology 83 (2002)

"Developmental phenotypic plasticity: Where ecology and evolution meet molecular biology" (with M. Pigliucci, and C. D. Schlichting), Bioessays 19 (1997)

Academic Focus: 

Plant biodiversity and plant phenotypes from the perspectives of ecological genetics and evolutionary genomics, societal relevance of plant biodiversity




B.A., Yale University
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison

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