Robert John Swanson

Robert SwansonDepartment Chair and Professor of Biology

Neils Science Center, 105a


Ph.D. – The University of Chicago (2001)
B.S. – Purdue University (1995)

Research Interests

How do animals choose mates? What about plants? Compatible mate choice mechanisms have striking evolutionary significance in organisms across kingdoms, but in flowering plants, are less well understood. Indeed, because of their lack of mobility, flowering plants are sometimes thought to be passive and indiscriminate mates, accepting all sperm with impartiality. Empirical studies have demonstrated this not to be so. In my lab, we exploit tools available in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana to identify genetic architectures and discrete cellular behaviors that lead to nonrandom mating in plants. The long-term goal of my lab is to fully understand the genic underpinnings of nonrandom mating in plants.


Recent Publications

Béatrice Albert, Adrienne Ressayre , Christine Dillmann, Ann L. Carlson, Robert J. Swanson, Pierre-Henri Gouyon, and Anna A. Dobritsa. 2018. Effect of aperture number on pollen germination, survival, and reproductive success in Arabidopsis thaliana. Annals of Botany. 121: 733-740.

Swanson, R.J., Hammond, A.T., Carlson A. L., and Donovan, T.K. 2016. Pollen performance traits reveal prezygotic nonrandom mating and interference competition in Arabidopsis thaliana. American Journal of Botany. 3: 498-513.

Eberhardt, L.S., Swanson, R.J., Dulin, G.S. 2015. Engaging Students in Inquiry through Behavioral Bioassays of Aquatic Macroinvertebrates. American Biology Teacher 77: 681-688.

Fitz Gerald, J. N., Carlson, A. L., Smith, E., Maloof, J. N., Weigel, D., Chory, J, Borevitz, J. O., and Swanson R. J. 2014. New Arabidopsis advanced intercross recombinant inbred lines reveal female control of nonrandom mating. Plant Physiology. 165: 175-185.

Carlson A. L., Gong H., Toomajian, C., and Swanson R. J. 2013 Genetic similarity and patterns in nonrandom mating and seed yield in predominately selfing Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Reproduction. 26: 317-328