Steven J. Franks

Professor

Steve Franks

Department of Biological Sciences
Fordham University
Larkin Hall - 350
441 East Fordham Road
Bronx, NY 10458

Phone: 718-817-3609
Fax: 718-817-3645
Email: franks@fordham.edu
Franks' Lab Website
Franks' CV

Education

AB, Brown University, Biology, 1993
Masters Certificate, The University of Georgia, Conservation Biology, 2002
PhD, The University of Georgia, Botany, 2002
Research Associate, USDA Invasive Plant Research Lab, 2002-2004
Postdoctoral Researcher, The University of California, Irvine, 2004-2007

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Research Interests

I study plant ecology and ecological genetics and am particularly interested in rapid, contemporary evolution. I work on topics such as evolutionary responses to climate change and evolution in invasive species. One of the main approaches I use for studying evolution is the resurrection approach of comparing ancestors and descendants under common conditions. My research combines field work, greenhouse and lab experiments, and quantitative and molecular genetics and genomics. I focus on testing key components of contemporary ecological and evolutionary theory with the goal of attaining a more complete understanding of evolution in natural systems.

Research Projects

Project Baseline
This NSF-funded multi-collaborator effort entails collecting seeds of key species throughout North America in a way that will allow the use of ancestor-descendant comparisons (Franks et al. 2008) to investigate evolution in natural populations in response to ongoing changes in climate.

The Genetic Basis of Climate Change Adaptation
Following the first study to demonstrate rapid evolution in a natural plant population in response to a change in climate (Franks et al. 2007), I am currently investigating the genetic basis of evolutionary changes in flowering time in the annual plant Brassica rapa (field mustard).

Other Projects
Other projects in the lab involve examining evolution in invasive and introduced species, evolution of herbicide and herbivory resistance, and plant reproductive ecology and evolution.

Opportunities
Graduate and undergraduate positions may be available for work on these and other projects. For more information, please contact me (franks@fordham.edu).

Selected Publications

Franks, SJ, NC Kane, NB O’Hara, S Tittes, JS Rest. 2016. Rapid genome-wide evolution in Brassica rapa populations following drought revealed by sequencing of ancestral and descendent gene pools. Molecular Ecology. doi: 10.1111/mec.13615. Cover Article.

O’Hara, NB, JS Rest and SJ Franks. 2016. Increased susceptibility to fungal disease accompanies adaptation to drought in Brassica rapa. Evolution 70: 241-248. doi: 10.1111/evo.12833.

Weber, JJ, LB Vary, CES Berg, BH Ansaldi and SJ Franks. 2016. How evolution occurs in a population: The pollination game. American Biology Teacher. 78: 149-154. doi: 10.1525/abt.2016.78.2.149.

Etterson, JR, SJ Franks, SJ Mazer, RG Shaw, NL Soper-Gorden, HE Schneider, JJ Weber, KJ Winkler, AE Weis. 2016. Project Baseline: An unprecedented resource to study plant evolution across space and time. Invited paper in a special feature in American Journal of Botany 103: 164-173. doi:10.3732/ajb.1500313

Brown, JL, JJ Weber, D Alvarado-Serrano, MJ Hickerson, SJ Franks, AC Carnaval. 2016. Predicting the genetic consequences of future climate change: the power of coupling demography, the coalescent, and contemporary genetic patterns. Invited paper in a special feature in American Journal of Botany 103: 153-163. doi:10.3732/ajb.1500117.

Franks, SJ. 2015. The unique and multifaceted importance of the timing of flowering. American Journal of Botany 102: 1401-1402. doi: 10.3732/ajb.1500234.

Welt, RS, A Litt, SJ Franks. 2015. Analysis of population genetic structure and gene flow in Brassica rapa following a rapid evolutionary response to drought. AoB Plants 7: plv026. doi:10.1093/aobpla/plv026. This paper received an ‘Editor’s Choice’ award.

Weis, AE, SM Wadgymar, MR Sekor and SJ Franks. 2014. The shape of selection: Using alternative fitness functions to explore patterns of selection on flowering time. Evolutionary Ecology 28: 885-904.

Franks, SJ, J Munshi-South. 2014. Go forth, evolve, and prosper: The genetic basis of adaptive evolution in an invasive species. Molecular Ecology 23: 2137-2140.

Colautti, RI, SJ Franks, RA Hufbauer, PM Kotanen, M Torchin, JE Byers, P Pyšek, O Bossdorf. 2014. The Global Garlic Mustard Field Survey: Challenges and opportunities of a unique, large-scale collaboration for invasion biology. NeoBiota 21: 29–47.

Franks, SJ JJ Weber, S Aitken. 2014. Evolutionary and plastic responses to climate change in terrestrial plant populations. Invited contribution to a special issue of Evolutionary Applications 7: 123-139.Barnum, K, SJ Franks. 2013. Seed extracts impede germination in Brassica rapa plants. International Journal of Plant Biology. In press.

Franks, SJ, AA Hoffmann. 2012. Genetics of climate change adaptation. Annual Reviews in Genetics 46:185-208.

Franks, SJ, G Wheeler and C Goodnight. 2012. Genetic variation and evolution of secondary compounds in native and introduced populations of the invasive plant Melaleuca quinquenervia. Evolution. 66: 1398-1412.

Franks, SJ. 2011. Plasticity and evolution in drought avoidance and escape in the annual plant Brassica rapa. New Phytologist 190: 249-257.

Franks, SJ, PD Pratt and ND Tsutsui. 2011. Genetic consequences of a demographic bottleneck in a biological control insect. Conservation Genetics 12: 201-211.

Franks, SJ. 2010. Population genetics of island and coastal dune plants. Journal of Plant Biology. 2: 481-488.

Richards, CL, SN White, MA McGuire, SJ Franks, LA Donovan, R Mauricio. 2010. Plasticity, not adaptation to salt level, explains variation along a salinity gradient in a salt marsh perennial. Estuaries and Coasts 33: 840-852.

Franks, SJ. 2009. Genetics, evolution and conservation of island plants. Journal of Plant Biology 2: 481-488.

Franks, SJ, and AE Weis. 2009. Climate change alters reproductive islolation and potential gene flow in an annual plant. Evolutionary Applications 2:481-488.

Franks, SJ, PD Pratt, FA Dray, and EL Simms. 2008. Selection of herbivory resistance and growth rate in an invasive plant. American Naturalist 171:678-691.

Franks, SJ, JC Avise, WE Bradshaw, JK Conner, JR Etterson, SJMazer, RG Shaw, and AE Weis. 2008.  The Resurrection Initiative: storing ancestral genotypes to capture evolution in action.  BioScience 58: 870-873.

Franks, SJ and AE Weis. 2008. A change in climate causes rapid evolution of multiple life-history traits and their interactions in an annual plant. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 21: 1321-1334.

Franks, SJ, PD Pratt, FA Dray, and EL Simms. 2007. No evolution of increased competitive ability or decreased allocation to defense in Melaleuca quinquenervia since release from natural enemies. Biological Invasions 10: 455-466.

Franks, SJ, S Sim, and AE Weis. 2007. Rapid evolution of flowering time by annual plant in response to a climate fluctuation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 104: 1278-1282.

Franks, SJ, AM Kral, and PD Pratt. 2006. Herbivory by introduced insects reduces growth and survival of Melaleuca quinquenervia seedlings. Environmental Entomology 35: 366-372.

Weis, AE and SJ Franks. 2006. Herbivory tolerance and coevolution: an alternative to the arms race? New Phytologist 170: 423-425.

Center, TD, TK Van, FA Dray, SJ Franks, MT Rebelo, PD Pratt, and MB Rayamajhi. 2005. Herbivory alters competitive interactions between two invasive aquatic plants. Biological Control 33: 173-185.

Franks, SJ, PD Pratt, FA Dray, and EL Simms. 2004. Selection for resistance in invasive plants. Weed Technology 18: 1486-1489.

Franks, SJ, CL Richards, E Gonzales, J Cousins, and JL Hamrick. 2004. Multi-scale genetic analysis of Uniola paniculata L.: a coastal species with a fragmented linear distribution. American Journal of Botany 91(9): 1345-1351.

Franks, SJ. 2003. Facilitation in multiple life-history stages: evidence for nucleated succession in coastal dunes. Plant Ecology 168(1): 1-11.

Franks, SJ and CJ Peterson. 2003. Burial disturbance leads to facilitation among coastal dune plants. Plant Ecology 168(1): 13-21.

Franks, SJ. 2003. Competitive and facilitative interactions among two species of coastal dune perennials. Canadian Journal of Botany 81(4): 330-337.

Books and Book Contributions

Franks, SJ. 2013. Rapid evolution of an annual plant in response to climate change. Invited 'guest box' in Allendorf, F. Conservation Genetics. Wiley-Blackwell.