Susan J. Mazer

Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Contact Information

Phone: (805) 893-8011
Office: 4119 Life Sciences Building
Website: Faculty Profile

Curriculum Vitae


1981; B.S. Biology; Yale University; New Haven, Connecticut
1983; M.S. Botany; University of California, Davis
1986; Ph.D. Botany; University of California, Davis


My research aims to detect the mechanisms by which plants adapt to the ecological risks and opportunities that they encounter, and to explore the genetic constraints that may limit the rate or degree of adaptation. We integrate the tools of quantitative genetics; comparative biology; artificial selection; plant demography, pollination, and phenology; fluorescence microscopy of reproductive functions; and ecophysiological surveys.

Our central goals are to determine genetic and environmental sources of variation in traits that affect individual fitness. To understand the evolutionary significance of this variation, we also examine the fitness consequences of traits — singly and in combination — under natural conditions. The combination of genetic, morphological, and physiological approaches also allows the detection of potential evolutionary constraints (e.g., due to pleiotropy or strong genetic correlations) that can impede the evolution of individual traits that may otherwise be under strong natural selection.