Jenna Ekwealor

Jenna Ekwealor

PhD Candidate

University of California, Berkeley

Hello

I’m a PhD Candidate, Berkeley Fellow, and NSF NRT alum in Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley. I am fascinated by the very small: those organisms that are easily overlooked by macrobes like ourselves. I am also excited by extremophiles: those that can survive and thrive in conditions thought to be difficult for life itself. These interests come together in studying mosses. These small plants have found a way to only truly ‘live’ when conditions are right (that is, when enough water is present), and dry out and go quiescent when water is absent. For desert mosses that is most of the time! Yet, almost miraculously, dryland mosses are able to quickly begin to grow and thrive again, while recovering from damage that accumulated while they were desiccated. I find this process fascinating and I am interested in thinking about the evolutionary (both micro and macro) implications of this way of life.

Interests

  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Botany
  • Data Science & Bioinformatics
  • Fine Arts

Education

  • M.S. in Environmental Science, Biology Option, 2015

    California State University, Los Angeles

  • B.S. in Biology, Chemistry Minor, 2012

    Purdue University, Indianapolis

  • B.A. in Religious Studies, 2012

    Indiana University, Indianapolis

Research

The 3D Moss Project

An NSF Dimensions of Biodiversity Project; population genetics & phylogenetics of Syntrichia

The combined effects of UV and desiccation on dryland mosses of the genus Syntrichia

Transcriptomics & metabolomics of combined desiccation and UV stress on two species

The effects of reduced UV on desert moss Syntrichia caninervis

Year-long UV reduction field experiment on Syntrichia caninervis in the Mojave Desert

Vascular plant spatial phylogenetics in the Mojave National Preserve

In collaboration with non-profit Blueprint Earth, an assessment of the phylogenetic diversity of a unique region of the Mojave Desert

Recent Publications

Multiple factors influence population sex ratios in the Mojave Desert moss Syntrichia caninervis

PREMISE OF RESEARCH: Natural populations of many mosses appear highly female-biased based on the presence of reproductive structures. …

Pyk2 and megakaryocytes regulate osteoblast differentiation and migration via distinct and overlapping mechanisms

Osteoblast differentiation and migration are necessary for bone formation during bone remodeling. Mice lacking the proline-rich …

Recent & Upcoming Talks

The photosynthetic effects of the Mojave Desert sun on a biological soil crust moss

The effects of a year-long UV-reduction experiment on key components of photosynthesis in natural populations of Syntrichia caninervis.

UV tolerance in Mojave Desert mosses

The photosynthetic and transcriptomic effects of a year-long UV-reduction experiment on natural populations of Syntrichia caninervis.

UV tolerance in Mojave Desert mosses

The photosynthetic and transcriptomic effects of a year-long UV-reduction experiment on natural populations of Syntrichia caninervis.

Recent Posts

NICAR 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana

A scientist attends a data journalism conference to learn science communication from the pros.

Fieldwork-wildlife conflicts

Or, how desert woodrats tried to sabotage my dissertation.

Skills

R

Python

Git

HTML

Statistics

Microscopy

Contact