I study the adaptation of native plant populations to local climates, and use these data to develop seed transfer guidelines that determine which seed sources to use in restoration and to 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.
Baughman, Owen W.; Agernay, Alison C.; Forister, Matthew L.; Kilkenny, Francis F.; Espeland, Erin K.; Fiegener, Rob; Horning, Matthew E.; Johnson, Richard C.; Kaye, Thomas N.; Ott, Jeff; St. Clair, John Bradley; Leger, Elizabeth A. 2019. Strong patterns of intraspecific variation and local adaptation in Great Basin plants revealed through a review of 75 years of experiments. Ecology and Evolution. 9: 6259-6275.
Breed, Martin F.; Harrison, Peter A.; Bischoff, Armin; Durruty, Paula; Gellie, Nick J. C.; Gonzales, Emily K.; Havens, Kayri; Karmann, Marion; Kilkenny, Francis F.; Krauss, Siegfried L.; Lowe, Andrew J.; Marques, Pedro; Nevill, Paul G.; Vitt, Pati L.; Bucharova, Anna. 2018. Priority actions to improve provenance decision-making. Bioscience. 68(7): 510-516.
Massatti, Rob; Prendeville, Holly R.; Larson, Steve; Richardson, Bryce A.; Waldron, Blair; Kilkenny, Francis F. 2018. Population history provides foundational knowledge for utilizing and developing native plant restoration materials. Evolutionary Applications. 11: 2025-2039.
Kilkenny, Francis F. 2015. Genecological approaches to predicting the effects of climate change on plant populations. Natural Areas Journal. 35(1):152-164.
St. Clair, John Bradley; Kilkenny, Francis F.; Johnson, Richard C.; Shaw, Nancy L.; Weaver, George. 2013. Genetic variation in adaptive traits and seed transfer zones for Pseudoroegneria spicata (bluebunch wheatgrass) in the northwestern United States. Evolutionary Applications. 6(6): 933-948.
My research interests include restoration ecology, with a focus on seed mix design and seed-sourcing for semi-arid communities, and native plant material development for use in restoration.
Edwards, Fred; Kulpa, Sarah M.; Kilkenny, Francis F. 2019. Application of National Seed Strategy Concepts. Pgs. 113-129 in: Crist, M.R.; Chambers J.C.; Phillips, S.L.; Prentice, K.L.; Wiechman, L.A. eds. 2019. Science framework for conservation and restoration of the sagebrush biome: Linking the Department of the Interior’s Integrated Rangeland Fire Management Strategy to long-term strategic conservation actions. Part 2. Management applications. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-389. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 237p.
Shock, Clinton C.; Feibert, Erik B. G.; Rivera, Alicia; Saunders, Lamont D.; Shaw, Nancy; Kilkenny, Francis F. 2018. Irrigation requirements for seed production of three leguminous wildflowers of the U.S. Intermountain West. HortScience. 53(5): 692-697.
Chambers, J.C.; Beck, J.L.; Bradford, J.B.; Bybee, J.; Campbell, S.; Carlson, J.; Christiansen, T.J.; Clause, K.J.; Collins, G.; Crist, M.R.; Dinkins, J.B.; Doherty, K.E.; Edwards, F.; Espinosa, S.; Griffin, K.A.; Griffin, P.; Haas, J.R.; Hanser, S.E.; Havlina, D.W.; Henke, K.F.; Hennig, J.D.; Joyce, L.A.; Kilkenny, F.F.; Kulpa, S.M.; Kurth, L.L.; Maestas, J.D.; Manning, M.; Mayer, K.E.; Mealor, B.A.; McCarthy, C.; Pellant, M.; Perea, M.A.; Prentice, K.L.; Pyke, D.A.; Wiechman, L.A.; Wuenschel, A. 2017. Science framework for conservation and restoration of the sagebrush biome: Linking the Department of the Interior’s Integrated Rangeland Fire Management Strategy to long-term strategic conservation actions. Part 1. Science basis and applications. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-360. Fort Collins, CO: U.S Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 213 p.
Shock, Clinton C.; Feibert, Erik B. G.; Rivera, Alicia; Saunders, Lamont D.; Shaw, Nancy; Kilkenny, Francis F. 2017. Irrigation requirements for seed production of two Eriogonum species in a semiarid environment. HortScience. 52(9): 1188-1194.
Finch, Deborah M.; Pendleton, Rosemary L.; Reeves, Matt C.; Ott, Jeffrey E.; Kilkenny, Francis F.; Butler, Jack L.; Ott, Jacqueline P.; Pinto, Jeremy R.; Ford, Paulette L.; Runyon, Justin B.; Rumble, Mark A.; Kitchen, Stanley G. 2016. Rangeland drought: Effects, restoration, and adaptation [Chap. 8]. In: Vose, James M.; Clark, James S.; Luce, Charles H.; Patel-Weynard, Toral, eds. Effects of drought on forests and rangelands in the United States: A comprehensive science synthesis. Gen. Tech. Rep. WO-93b. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington Office. p. 155-194.
Shock, Clinton C.; Feibert, Erik B. G.; Rivera, Alicia; Saunders, Lamont D.; Shaw, Nancy; Kilkenny, Francis F. 2016. Irrigation requirements for seed production of five Lomatium species in a semiarid environment. HortScience. 51(10): 1270-1277.
Dumroese, R. Kasten; Luna, Tara; Richardson, Bryce A.; Kilkenny, Francis F.; Runyon, Justin B. 2015. Conserving and restoring habitat for Greater Sage-Grouse and other sagebrush-obligate wildlife: The crucial link of forbs and sagebrush diversity. Native Plants Journal. 16(3): 276-299.
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).
Kilkenny, Francis F.; Galloway, Laura F. 2016. Evolution of marginal populations of an invasive vine increases the likelihood of future spread. New Phytologist. 209: 1773-1780.
Evans, Gregory A.; Kilkenny, Francis F.; Galloway, Laura F. 2013. Evolution of competitive ability within Lonicera japonica's invaded range. International Journal of Plant Sciences. 174(5): 740-748.
Kilkenny, Francis F.; Galloway, Laura F. 2013. Adaptive divergence at the margin of an invaded range. Evolution. 67(3): 722-731.
Beans, Carolyn M.; Kilkenny, Francis F.; Galloway, Laura F. 2012. Climate suitability and human influences combined explain the range expansion of an invasive horticultural plant. Biological Invasions. 14: 2067-2078.
Kilkenny, Francis F.; Galloway, Laura F. 2008. Reproductive success in varying light environments: direct and indirect effects of light on plants and pollinators Oecologia. 155: 247–255.