Conner Lab

W.K. Kellogg Biological Station

Michigan State University

Jeffrey K. Conner

3700 East Gull Lake Drive

Hickory Corners, MI 49060

Members of my lab group conduct laboratory, greenhouse, and field studies integrating evolution, genetics, genomics, and ecology. Our goal is to attack problems at the interface of these areas in novel ways. Currently most of these studies deal with plant-insect interactions, especially pollination.

What’s new:

Feb -  Jeff has a new publication on weed evolution in New Phytologist.

Feb -  Jeff gave the NESCent talk just as the big snowstorm hit!

Feb -  Jeff visited former KBSer Idelle Cooper at James Madison and gave the Biology Department talk.

Jan -   Anne gave invited seminars at Willamette University and the University of Oregon.

Oct -   Jeff Gave a talk in the Duke Population Biology series.

Sept - Jeff started his sabbatical at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) in Durham, NC the first week of September. 

  1.            My sabbatical project is to create a public database of the lab’s data on fitness, plant traits (esp. floral, and including photographs), pollination, pedigree, and molecular markers.  I also hope to have seeds that are full siblings of plants in the database deposited in the USDA seed bank as part of Project Baseline. I am also interacting with folks at NESCent, Duke, and UNC, and participating in a NESCent Working Group on Baker’s law.

Aug -  Zhigang Zhou (Visiting Professor in the lab 2011-2012) invited Jeff to Lanzhou University in China to give a talk and travel to their two alpine research stations located on the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau (see Photos).

June - Sam was selected to participate in an intensive two-week plant morphology course at Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum. The course, and Sam, were highlighted in the Harvard Gazette.

A Primer of Ecological Genetics

    by Jeffrey K. Conner and Daniel L. Hartl


"Your new Primer of Ecological Genetics is absolutely terrific, and I plan on making it required reading for graduate students in my lab and for other graduate students on whose committees I serve. Your book is bound to go a long way in clearing up fuzzy thinking about basic concepts at the interface of evolution and ecology. Just as importantly, I think your book will result in much better experimental design -- and much clearer discussion of results -- in future dissertations and the papers that result from them."    -- John N. Thompson, University of California at Santa Cruz


I find that this volume will be very useful for both inspired undergraduates who plan on initiating honors studies or independent research, and for beginning graduate students. . . . This primer will help young biologists learn the nuts and bolts of ecological genetics, as well as its practical application.    -- Jeffry B. Mitton, The Quarterly Review of Biology


Until now, a textbook aimed at undergraduates and early postgraduates, which integrates both population and quantitative genetics, has been lacking. In six chapters, Conner and Hartl have successfully filled this gap... The well-planned structure, easy reading style and extensive coverage make this book valuable not only to undergraduate students but also for population and quantitative geneticists aiming to expand their scope of their own research.    -- JM Cano Arias, Heredity


In sum, A Primer of Ecological Genetics provides a lucid introduction to foundational principles in the field. In their preface, Conner and Hartl state, The guiding principle of the book is to focus on clear explanations of the key concepts in the evolution of natural and managed populations. The first edition of A Primer of Ecological Genetics accomplishes this nicely. I recommend it with enthusiasm.    -- Mark C. Ungerer, BioScience