US Forest Service Research & Development
Contact Information
  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Francis Kilkenny

Research Biologist
322 E Front Street Suite 401
United States

Phone: 208-373-4376
Fax: 208-373-4391
Contact Francis Kilkenny

Current Research

I study the adaptation of native grass and tree populations to local climates, and use these data to develop seed transfer guidelines and model the impacts of changing climates on these species.

Highlight study:

Bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata) reciprocal transplant study to test the efficacy of previously established seed transfer zones and local adaption to widely varying climates. The study is testing 78 bluebunch populations representing 9 seed zones across 4 level three ecoregions. Common gardens are being planted in the fall of 2014 at 16 sites that range across a wide variety of climatic conditions, over 20,000 plants will be planted for this study. Morphological and reproductive measurements will be taken twice a year at each garden from 2015-2018. Additionally, physiological response measurements such as cold tolerance and photosynthetic rates will be taken in greenhouse and field conditions at some garden sites. All populations involved in the study will used in a genetic marker study to determine the phylogeography and genetic structure of bluebunch populations within the study region.

Research Interests

My research interests include the ecological and evolutionary impacts of climate change on native and invasive plant species; the evolution of local adaptation in native and invasive plant species; pollination biology of herbaceous and long-lived clonal plants; evolutionary consequences of density and intraspecific competition; fundamental niche modeling and the projection of species range shifts due to climate change.

Past Research

My Ph.D. dissertation in 2011 focused on the evolution and population genetics of the invasive vine Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) in eastern North America, where I found that populations at the northern margin of the invaded range are evolving faster growth rates. I have also studied pollination and natural selection in populations of the American bell flower (Campanulastrum americana), as well as pollination and demography in populations of a stonecrop (Sedum laxum) endemic to southwestern Oregon and northern California.


  • University of Virginia, Ph.D. Biology 2011
  • Humboldt State University, Certificate Of Study Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing 2004
  • University of California at Santa Cruz, B.A. Environmental Studies 2000

Professional Organizations

  • America Society Of Naturalists, Affiliate Member (2010 - Current)
  • Society For The Study Of Evolution, Affiliate Member (2010 - Current)

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Last updated on : 06/21/2016