Professor of Biological Sciences
PhD, 1983 University of Texas at Austin
|Office:||201a Tucker Hall|
Ecology and evolution in natural plant populations
Research descriptionWork in my laboratory uses experimental approaches to understand ecological and evolutionary responses of plants to the environment. In current research on the alpine skypilot, Polemonium viscosum, I am examining interaction webs involving host plants, pollinators and cheaters (nectar thieves). Ants acting as cheaters in the pollination mutualism between skypilots and bumblebees reduce seed production and pollen quality. Nonetheless, natural selection for bumblebees services remains strong across a wide range of ant densities. This system provides an ideal opportunity to test whether variation in cheater abundance accounts for the rarity of specialists in plant-pollinator mutualisms and to explore mechanisms of tolerance to cheaters and to floral antagonists, more broadly.
I am also interested in how climate affects biotic interaction webs. For skypilots, pollination quality declines under drought, suggesting that plant-pollinator mutualisms are sensitive to abiotic sources of environmental stress. The sensitivity of ecological relationships to climate may make plants that depend on animal partners for seed dispersal or pollination especially vulnerable to global change.
In other research I am exploring the role of physiological tradeoffs in the evolution of photoreceptors, focusing on phototropins, blue light photoreceptors in plants. In this collaboration with Mannie Liscum (MU) and Thomas Juenger (UT Austin) we are applying a cost benefit analysis to plastic responses under the control of phototropins. Research has revealed an important role for phototropins in mediating the tradeoff between carbon gain and water loss. Current experiments explore the genetic basis and fitness consequences for variation in phototropin-driven plasticity among natural populations of the genetic model, Arabidopsis thaliana.
Please view this video for more details on our research.
Tipton, A.G., Miller-Struttmann, N.E., Galen, C. Finding partners in a habitat mosaic: Patch history and size mediate host colonization by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (2016) Ecosphere, 7 (11), art. no. e01570,
Miller-Struttmann NE, Geib JC, Franklin JD, Kevan PG, Holdo RM, Ebert-May D, Lynn AM, Kettenbach JA, Hedrick E, Galen C: Functional mismatch in a bumble bee pollination mutualism under climate change. Science 2015, 349(6255):1541-1544.
Irwin RE, Howell P, Galen C: Quantifying direct vs. indirect effects of nectar robbers on male and female components of plant fitness. Journal of Ecology 2015, 103(6):1487-1497.
Geib JC, Strange JP, Galen C: Bumble bee nest abundance, foraging distance, and host-plant reproduction: implications for management and conservation. Ecological Applications 2015, 25(3):768-778.
Miller-Struttmann NE, Galen C: High-altitude multi-taskers: bumble bee food plant use broadens along an altitudinal productivity gradient. Oecologia 2014, 176(4):1033-1045.
Becklin KM, Pallo ML, Galen C: Willows indirectly reduce arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal colonization in understorey communities. Journal of Ecology 2012, 100(2):343-351.
Geib JC, Galen C: Tracing impacts of partner abundance in facultative pollination mutualisms: from individuals to populations. Ecology 2012, 93(7):1581-1592.
Galen, C., Kaczorowski, R., Todd, S. L., Geib, J. C. and R. A. Raguso. Dosage-Dependent Impacts of a Floral Volatile on Pollinators, Larcenists, and the Potential for Floral Evolution in the Alpine Skypilot, Polemonium viscosum American Naturalist 2011, 177:258-272.
McCaffrey, J., and C. Galen. Between a rock and a hard place: impact of nest selection behavior on the altitudinal range of an alpine ant, Formica neorufibarbis. Environmental Entomology 2011, 40: 534-540.
Becklin-Atkinson, K M., Gamez, G., Uelk, B., Raguso, R. A., and C. Galen. Soil fungal effects on floral signals, rewards and aboveground interactions in an alpine pollination web. American Journal of Botany 2011, 98:1299-1308.
Honors & Awards
Selected honors and awards
Alumnae Anniversary Fund for the Recognition of Faculty Women Award 2016
UM System President's Award for Faculty Engagement - Community Engagement 2016
Excellence in Education Award, American Society of Plant Biologists 2016
Excellence in Education Award, Division of Student Affairs 2015
Science Hero of the Year, Columbia Public Schools 2014
June 12, 2017
Bee Buzzes Could Help Determine How to Save their Decreasing Population
April 26, 2016
April 4, 2016
Prof. Candi Galen receives national recognition for educational contributions
March 22, 2016
Professor Candi Galen recognized for contributions to women’s education
Sept. 24, 2015
Two alpine bumblebees lick climate change by evolving shorter tongues
April 29, 2015
Galen receives 2015 Excellence in Education Award
May 28, 2014
Life of a Mizzou Garden
April 28, 2014
Professor Candi Galen named "Science Hero"
June 4, 2013
MDC awards Alice Tipton grant to study mycorrhizal interactions
April 29, 2013
Graduate student Alice Tipton receives award for science outreach
Feb. 18, 2013
Professor Candi Galen featured in MU's Illumination magazine
June 28, 2012
Professor Galen Featured in American Scientist Article
March 15, 2012
Local Kids Spend Time with Scientists in their ‘Natural Habitats’
June 8, 2011
Scientists Learn From Kids, Kids Become Scientists in New MU Effort
Jan. 1, 2007
The Wonder Weed