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Biology Faculty

Dr. Emily Mooney 


Ph.D., West Virginia University, 2007
B.S., SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, 2001

Emily MooneyResearch Interests
Broadly speaking, my research asks questions about the interactions between a plant's genotype and its environment, which may include animals that like to eat it and people that like to harvest it.  For my dissertation, I focused on the genetic impacts of harvest in American ginseng, Panax quinquefolius, whose root is an international commodity.  I found that harvest is selective and that preferentially removing large plants can alter the evolution of populations.  My post-doctoral research also evaluates variation among plant populations, but with an emphasis on insect herbivores and light. Using both field and molecular techniques, I am examining how herbivory-related traits vary with genotype in spicebush, Lindera benzoin. I have found that genotypes respond differently to sun and shade, and this consequently affects levels of herbivory. These results suggest that populations of spicebush may differentially respond to the changes in light environment that accompany forest disturbance.  My research at MCLA has expanded to include examining genotypic variation in invasive plants.  Mentoring undergraduate researchers continues to be a significant part of my research career.

Courses Taught
Ecology, Botany, Conservation Biology, Biostatistics, Plants and Society and Biodiversity 

Mooney, E.H., Tiedeken, E.J., Muth, N.Z., & Niesenbaum, R.A. (2009) Differential induced response to generalist and specialist herbivores by Lindera benzoin (Lauraceae) in sun and shade. Oikos, 118, 1181-1189.

Mooney, E.H., & McGraw, J.B. (2009) Relationship between age, size, and reproduction in populations of American ginseng, Panax quinquefolius (Araliaceae), across a range of harvest pressures. Ecoscience, 16(1), 84-94.

Mooney, E.H., & McGraw, J.B. (2007) Effects of self-pollination and outcrossing with cultivated plants in small natural populations of American ginseng, Panax quinquefolius (Araliaceae). American Journal of Botany, 94, 1677-1687.

Mooney, E.H., & McGraw, J.B. (2007) Alteration of selection regime resulting from harvest of American ginseng, Panax quinquefolius. Conservation Genetics, 8(1), 57-67



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Phone: 413.662.5194