Megan Van Etten, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Biology
Biology Program Coordinator
Dawson Building, 212A
Penn State Scranton
120 Ridge View Drive
Dunmore, PA 18512

Discipline Focus:

  • Research in evolutionary genetics of plants, their reproductive biology and adaptation to human disturbance.


Humans have impacted ecosystems worldwide. Understanding the interplay between ecological  and evolutionary processes will be key to predicting the severity of these changes. 


  • Plant evolution biology
  • Reproductive biology
  • Pollination Human-induced evolution
  • Epigenetics
  • Population genetics
  • Pollinator  declines


  • The short and long-term effects of pollinator declines on the plants they pollinate
  • Process of plant adaptation to xenobiotics such as herbicide and its repercussions
  • Minimizing the effects of human-induced declines in pollinators

Refereed Articles (contribution in parentheses)

Van Etten, M. L. (Co-Author, 75%), Soble, A., & Baucom, R. S. (2021). Variable inbreeding depression may explain associations between the mating system and herbicide resistance in the common morning glory. Molecular Ecology, 30(21), 5422-5437.

Van Etten, M. L. (2021). Quality matters. A commentary on: Pollen limitation and xenia effects in a cultivated mass-flowering tree, Macadamia integrifolia (Proteaceae). Annals of Botany, mcab136.

Josephs, E. B., Van Etten, M. L. (Co-Author, 30%), Harkess, A., Platts, A., & Baucom, R. S. (2021). Adaptive and maladaptive expression plasticity underlying herbicide resistance in an agricultural weed. Evolution Letters, 5(4), 432-440.

Van Etten, M. L. (Co-Author, 60%), Chang, S.-m., Lee, K. M., & Baucom, R. S. (2020). Parallel and nonparallel genomic responses contribute to herbicide resistance in Ipomoea purpurea, a common agricultural weed. PLOS Genetics, 16(2), e1008593.

Brunet, J., & Van Etten, M. L. (Co-Author, 50%) (2019). The response of floral traits associated with pollinator attraction to environmental changes expected under anthropogenic climate change in high-altitude habitats. International Journal of Plant Sciences, 180(9), 954-964.

Van Etten, M. L. (Co-Author, 50%), Lehnebach, C. A., Pearson, S. M., Robertson, A. W., & Tate, J. A. (2018). Microsatellite markers for Corybas (Orchidaceae) species in New Zealand. Applications in Plant Sciences, 6(11), e1192.

Van Etten, M. L. (Co-Author, 75%), Sukkawnmanee, P., Tate, J. A., & Robertson, A. W. (2018). Pollinator service affects quantity but not quality of offspring in a widespread New Zealand endemic tree species. Conservation Genetics, 19(4), 815-826.

Alvarado-Serrano, D. F., Van Etten, M. L. (Co-Author, 15%), Chang, S.-m., & Baucom, R. S. (2018). The relative contribution of natural landscapes and human-mediated factors on the connectivity of a noxious invasive weed. Heredity, 122, 29-40.

Van Etten, M. L. (Co-Author, 80%), Conner, J. K., Chang, S.-m., & Baucom, R. S. (2017). Not all weeds are created equal: a database approach uncovers differences in the sexual system of native and introduced weeds. Ecology and Evolution, 7, 2636-2642.

Van Etten, M. L. (Co-Author, 90%), & Brunet, J. (2017). Using population matrix models to reduce the spread of wild carrot. Acta Horticulturae, 1153, 273-278.

Van Etten, M. L. (Co-Author, 50%), Kuester, A., Chang, S.-m., & Baucom, R. (2016). Fitness costs of herbicide resistance across natural populations of the common morning glory, Ipomoea purpurea. Evolution 70, 2199-2210. 

Van Etten, M. L. (Co-Author, 60%), Tate, J. A., Anderson, S. H., Kelly, D., Ladley, J. J., Merrett, M. F., Peterson, P.G., & Robertson, A. W. (2015). The compounding effects of high pollen limitation, selfing rates and inbreeding depression leave a New Zealand tree with few viable offspring. Annals of Botany 116(5), 833-843. 

Van Etten, M. L. (Co-Author, 75%), & Chang, S.-m. (2014). Frequency-dependent pollinator discrimination acts against female plants in the gynodioecious Geranium maculatum. Annals of Botany 114, 1769-1778. 

Van Etten, M. L. (Co-Author, 85%), Robertson, A. W., & Tate, J. A. (2014). Microsatellite markers for the New Zealand endemic tree Fuchsia excorticata (Onagraceae). Applications in Plant Sciences 1, 1300045. 

Van Etten, M. L. (Co-Author, 60%), Deen, A. C., Hamrick, J. L., & Chang, S.-m. (2014). Mating system contributes only slightly to female maintenance in gynodioecious Geranium maculatum (Geraniaceae). Heredity 113, 464-470. 

Van Etten, M. L. (Co-Author, 50%), & Brunet, J. (2013). The impact of global warming on floral traits that affect the selfing rate in a high altitude plant. International Journal of Plant Sciences 174, 1099-1108. 

Van Etten, M. L. (Co-Author, 50%), Houliston, G. J., Mitchell, C. M., Heenan, P. B., Robertson, A. W., & Tate, J. A. (2013). Sophora microphylla (Fabaceae) microsatellite markers and their utility across the genus. Applications in Plant Sciences 2, 1300081. 

Van Etten, M. L. (Co-Author, 80%), & Chang, S.-m. (2009). Effects of environmental heterogeneity on the distribution of sexes within and among populations in a gynodioecious species, Geranium maculatum. New Phytologist 183, 649-660. 

Van Etten, M. L. (Co-Author, 80%), Prevost, L. B., Deen, A. C., Ortiz, B. V., Donovan, L. A., & Chang, S.-m. (2008). Gender differences in reproductive and physiological traits in a gynodioecious species, Geranium maculatum (Geraniaceae). International Journal of Plant Sciences 169, 271-279. 

  • Ph.D. Plant Biology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
  • B.A. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO


  • Gupta, S., Harkess, A., Van Etten, M. L., Leebens-Mack, J. H., & Baucom, R. (contributed talk) (2021). Inter-chromosomal linkage disequilibrium and linked fitness cost loci influence the evolution of nontarget site herbicide resistance in an agricultural weed. Evolution Meeting, Online.
  • Van Etten, M. L. (poster) (2020). Using Brassica rapa to quickly assess pollinator quantity and quality. Botany Meeting, Online.
  • Van Etten, M. L. (lightning talk) (2019). Snapshots of pollinator quantity and quality using Brassica rapa. Botany Meeting, Tucson, AZ.
  • Van Etten, M. L., & Chang, S.-m. (invited symposium talk) (2019). The role of sexual selection in the evolution of gynodioecy. Botany Meeting, Tucson, AZ.
  • Van Etten, M. L., & Baucom, R. S. (contributed talk) (2018). Genome-wide search uncovers evidence for convergent and divergent responses to selection in a weedy species. Botany Meeting, St. Paul, MN.

Peer Reviewer Activities

Journal Articles (~9 per year): Evolution, Molecular Ecology, New Phytologist, American Naturalist, American Journal of Botany, Heredity, Annals of Botany, Oikos, Journal of Heredity, Weed Research, Evolutionary Applications, Plant Systematics and Evolution, Journal of Evolutionary Biology, G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics, Forests, Botany Letters, Plant Species Biology, Pest Management Science

Book Chapter: Wiley & Sons Publisher

Introductory Biology 1 (BIOL 011)
Plants, Places and People (BIOL 120N, SC120N)
Genetics, Ecology and Evolution (BISC 002)
Genetics (BIOL 222)
Biology: Molecules and Cells (BIOL 230W)
Advanced Genetics (BIOL 422)
The Uses of Plants (BIOL 424)
Independent Research or Internship (BIOL 494, 495, 496)