Grace Fu-Chun Chen

Director of Undergraduate Studies
Teaching Associate Professor

Life Sciences & Biotechnology Building 2515


  • Ph.D. in Plant Biology and Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior, Michigan State University, 2011
  • MS in Biology, University of Missori-St. Louis, 2003
  • BS in Biology, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan, 2001

Research Interests

My research interests lie in the field of evolutionary ecology, focusing on biodiversity, local adaptation, and speciation. While the importance of biodiversity has long been recognized by ecologists, the evolutionary origin of biodiversity remains poorly understood. In my research, I aim to investigate how ecological factors drive the diversification of traits, leading to adaptation and speciation in tropical plant species. To study speciation mechanisms. I develop new mathematical tools and employ comprehensive approaches that enable the comparisons of the strength of reproductive isolating barriers across different organisms. By examining species such as Costus allenii and C. villosissimus, I have demonstrated how the two closely related species adapt differently to seasonal drought and display a parapatric distribution. The divergence in their ecological traits contributes significantly to reproductive isolation and, consequently, speciation between these species. The recent expansion of my research includes 1) examining the determinants of the invasion of garlic mustard, and 2) exploring the divergence and host-pathogen specialization in Lyme Borreliae.


  • BIOL 1100 – Principles of Biology I
  • BIOL 1200/01 – Principles of Biology II
  • BIOL 2250 – Ecology


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