VERMILLION, S.D. – Loretta Johnson, professor of biology at Kansas State University, delivered a lecture on Great Plains grassland species at the University of South Dakota on Monday, March 27.
Titled “Adaptive Variation in Response to Climate in a Foundation Grass Species of the Great Plains,” the lecture focused on studying the variation that occurs due to genetic and environmental influences in grassland species.
Johnson aims to “take the genome revolution and bring it to the biological world.” Her research specifically addresses how climate change might influence grassland species like the big bluestem, the subject of her research.
“Why do we care about climate? We’ve had terrible droughts that have lasted for a couple of years,” said Johnson. “With future drier springs and summers predicted, this is why it's important for us to understand how an ecological dominant species like Bluestem will respond.”
The lecture was sponsored by the USD Department of Biology as part of an ongoing series of guest speakers.