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Karen Samis

All species have limited geographic distributions. An understanding of the factors that determine and constrain geographic distributions will have implications for the conservation and management of species, especially in response to anthropogenic and climate change. I am interested in questions addressing the interaction between molecular genetic, evolutionary and ecological factors in determining species’ geographic ranges, and in determining the pattern of local adaptation across ecological and geographic gradients.


BSc. University of Guelph

MSc University of Guelph (2000)

PhD Queen’s University (2007)

Assistant Professor
(902) 620-5133
Research Interests: 
  •  Evolution across geographic range
  • Molecular and ecological genetics of local adaptation
  • Plant adaptations to their environments
  • The effects of hybridization on endangered species

1.      Samis, K.E. C. G. Eckert. 2009. Ecological correlates of fitness across the northern geographic range limit of a Pacific coast dune plant. Ecology. 90(11): 3051-3061.


2.      Samis, K. E., K. D. Heath, J. R. Stinchcombe. 2008. Longitudinal clines in flowering time and PHYTOCHROME C in Arabidopsis thaliana. Evolution. 62(12): 2971-2983.


3.      Darling, E., K. E. Samis and C. G. Eckert. 2008. Increased seed dispersal potential towards geographic range limits in a Pacific coast dune plant. New Phytologist 178(2):424-435.


4.      Eckert, C. G., K. E. Samis and S. C. Lougheed. 2008. Genetic variation across species’ geographic ranges: the central-marginal hypothesis and beyond. Molecular Ecology 17:1170-1188.


5.      Samis, K. E. and C. G. Eckert. 2007. Testing the abundant center model using range-wide demographic surveys of two coastal dune plants. Ecology 88(7): 1747-1758.


Current Collaborators (non-UPEI): 

Dr. John Stinchcombe, U Toronto and Dr. Courtney Murren, College of Charleston, NC – Geographic gradients in adaptation in Arabidopsis thaliana


Dr. Chris Eckert, Queen’s U – Evolution of geographic range limits