Susan J. Mazer

Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
(805) 893-8011
4119 Life Sciences Building
Susan Mazer Lab


1981; B.S. Biology; Yale University; New Haven, Connecticut
1983; M.S. Botany; University of California, Davis
1986; Ph.D. Botany; University of California, Davis


My research aims to detect the mechanisms by which plants adapt to the ecological risks and opportunities that they encounter, and to explore the genetic constraints that may limit the rate or degree of adaptation. We integrate the tools of quantitative genetics; comparative biology; artificial selection; plant demography, pollination, and phenology; fluorescence microscopy of reproductive functions; and ecophysiological surveys.

Our central goals are to determine genetic and environmental sources of variation in traits that affect individual fitness. To understand the evolutionary significance of this variation, we also examine the fitness consequences of traits — singly and in combination — under natural conditions. The combination of genetic, morphological, and physiological approaches also allows the detection of potential evolutionary constraints (e.g., due to pleiotropy or strong genetic correlations) that can impede the evolution of individual traits that may otherwise be under strong natural selection.

Selected Publications

  • Wolkovich, E. M., B. I. Cook, J. M. Allen, T. M. Crimmins, J. L. Betancourt, S. E. Travers, S. Pau, J. Regetz, T. J. Davies, N. J. B. Krat, T. R. Ault, K. Bolmgren, S. J. Mazer, G. J. McCabe, B. J. McGill, C. Parmesan, N. Salamin, M. D. Schwartz, and E. E. Cleland. 2012. Experimental warming underestimates plant responses to climate warming. Nature. 485: 494-497.
  • Dudley, L. S., A. A. Hove, and S. J. Mazer. 2012. The evolution of physiological rates in closely related Clarkia taxa: does selection explain phenotypic divergence between taxa? American Journal of Botany, 99: 488-507.
  • Diez, J., I. Ibanez, S. J. Mazer, T. Crimmins, M. Crimmins, and A. Miller-Rushing. 2012. Forecasting phenology: from species variability to community patterns. Ecology Letters, doi:10.1111/j.1461-0248.2012.01765.x
  • Guo, H., J. Weiner, S. J. Mazer, Z. Zhao, G. Du and B. Li. 2011. Reproductive allometry in Pedicularis species changes with elevation. Journal of Ecology, 100: 452-458.
  • Guo, H., S. J. Mazer, and G. Z. Du. 2011. Geographic variation in primary sex allocation per flower within and among 12 species of Pedicularis (Orobanchaceae): proportional male investment increases with elevation. American Journal of Botany 97: 1334-1341.
  • Mazer, S. J., B. P. Haggerty & A. S. Hove. 2011. Phenological Literacy: Understanding through Science and Stewardship. Formal lesson plans and outdoor activities for K-12 and university students in formal and informal science education contexts. Topics include: phenological concepts and their link to climate change.
  • Mazer, S. J., L. S. Dudley, A. A. Hove, S. K. Emms, and A. S. Verhoeven. 2010. Physiological performance in Clarkia sister taxa with contrasting mating systems: do early-flowering autogamous taxa avoid water stress relative to their pollinator-dependent counterparts? International Journal of Plant Sciences 171: 1029-104.
  • Mazer, S. J., A. S. Hove, B. S. Miller, and M. Barbet-Massin. 2010. The joint evolution of mating system and pollen performance: predictions regarding male gametophytic evolution in selfers vs. outcrossers. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, 12: 31-41.
  • Guo, H., S. J. Mazer, and G. Z. Du. 2010. Geographic variation in seed mass within and among nine species of Pedicularis (Orobanchaceae): effects of elevation, plant size and seed number per fruit. Journal of Ecology 98: 1232-1242.
  • T. Sritongchuay, S. Bumrungsri, U. Meesawat, and S. J. Mazer. 2010. Stigma closure and re-opening in Oroxylum indicum (Bignoniaceae) in southern Thailand: causes and consequences. American Journal of Botany, 97: 136-143.

External Publication List

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