Next Generation: Andy Gougherty

September 21, 2015

Hometown: Grosse Ile, Michigan
Adviser: Matt Fitzpatrick, Appalachian Laboratory

Research area: I’m studying how intraspecific variation—the biological variability of individuals within a species—within balsam poplar will impact how it will be affected by climate change. For instance, within a species there might be some populations that are more adapted for warmer or cooler temperatures. Those with an affinity for warmer temperatures, for instance, may be more suited to future climates than those adapted for cooler temperatures.

Why it makes a difference: Climate change is going to have a variety of effects on the environment—some changes more intuitive than others. Intra-specific variation is likely to play an important role in how a species is able to cope with climate change over the long term.  Developing a way to assess how intra-specific variation is related to current climates can give us insight into how the species may be affected by future climates.

Developing a way to assess how intra-specific variation is related to current climates can give us insight into how the species may be affected by future climates.

Why UMCES? The project I’m working on is very interdisciplinary, so having the opportunity to work with a variety of people in different fields is very compelling. The spatial modeling component of the project and the opportunity to work with Matt Fitzpatrick and other faculty at the Appalachian Lab made the project seem like a very good fit.

What are your future plans? I’d like to stay in academia and pursue a research position when I’m finished here.