Richard Abrahams

Richard Abrahams
Mentor: Dr. Stuart McDaniel
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
"My interest in the natural world started at a young age. I remember as a child being captivated by the time lapse photography in nature documentaries that would captured the hidden world of plant interactions. Since that time I've had a need to find out as much as I could about nature and all of its intricacies. In high school this interest manifested as a desire to be involved in every minor project I could get my hands on, from phenology or germination studies, to comparative studies of ecosystem health. Coming to UF I've continued this interest in research and have tried to take advantage of as many resources and opportunities as I can."





Research Interests

  • Plant Ecology
  • Genetics/Phylogene
  • Evolution and Biodiversity

Academic Awards

  • UF University Scholars Program
  • PLANTS Grant Recipient
  • Presidential Scholar


  • oSTEM
  • GROW Botany
  • Pride Student Union


  • N/A

Hobbies and Interests

  • Outdoor Activities
  • Gardening
  • Board Games
  • Yoga

Research Description

Adaptive Variation of ADK in Ceratodon Purpureus
Model organisms are species analyzed to gain a better understanding of particular biological phenomena. Some popular examples of such species include Arabidopsis thaliana and Drosophila melanogaster. In the lab of Dr. Stuart McDaniel, they have taken a slightly different approach. Instead of analyzing previous model organisms, many of which have been cultivated in laboratory environments and mutated for various studies, they have begun sequencing the genome of wild populations of Ceratodon purpureus. C. purpureus is a common moss species found globally that exhibits many of the favorable qualities shown in traditional model systems, such as a small genome size due to the dominant stage of its life cycle being haploid. The approach they have taken allows for a better understanding of adaptive population variation when it comes to the genotypic origins of phenotypic expressions. Through the lab’s efforts, a large amount of genetic information has been compiled on different populations of C. purpureus. With this information I will be analyzing ratios of a specific polymorphism that has been previously identified within the species to see if there is a significant difference in population ratios associated with latitude. These allelic differences occur on the gene that regulates Adenosine Kinase production, and therefore is tied to ATP regulation. Given that, I will be also looking into phenotypic differences between the alleles to see what developmental expressions could be giving an advantage/disadvantage to individuals in a specific latitudinal area with said allele. So at the completion of the study, not only would there be a better understanding of the genotypic associations of this adaptive phenotype, but also an understanding of how and why that trait varies within natural populations.