Jenna T. Baughman Ekwealor

PhD Candidate, Berkeley Fellow, NSF NRT alum


I am fascinated by the very small: those organisms that are easily overlooked by macrobes like ourselves. I am also excited by extremophiles: those that can survive and thrive in conditions thought to be difficult for life itself. These interests come together in studying mosses. These small plants have found a way to only truly ‘live’ when conditions are right (that is, when enough water is present), and dry out and go quiescent when water is absent. For desert mosses that is most of the time! Yet, almost miraculously, dryland mosses are able to quickly begin to grow and thrive again, while recovering from damage that accumulated while they were desiccated. I find this process fascinating and I am interested in thinking about the evolutionary (both micro and macro) implications of this way of life.

For more (and the most up-to-date)  information, visit my website,

Research Interests

For my dissertation I am investigating the evolution of UV tolerance in mosses. How are Mojave Desert mosses in high-intensity light environments protected from UV damage while desiccated and dormant? What is the evolutionary history of UV tolerance?


In addition to my dissertation I am  also working on the Desiccation and Diversity of Dryland Mosses NSF Dimensions of Biodiversity project, a collaborative effort that includes PIs, post-docs, and students spanning 8 universities across the U.S. For more information about this project click here.

For a full CV click here.


7. Mishler, Brent D.; Ekwealor, Jenna T. B.; Nosratinia, Sonia.; Dautermann, Brinda; John, Jauregui Lazo; Javier, Sotodeh; Caswell-Levy, Caleb; Guill, Kate; Oliver, Melvin. A global phylogeny and classification of the dryland moss genus Syntrichia. (In prep.).

6. Ekwealor, Jenna T. B.; Clark, Theresa A.; Dautermann, Oliver; Russell, Alexander; Ebrahimi, Sotodeh; Stark, Lloyd R.; Niyogi, Krishna K.; Mishler, Brent D. UV tolerance and sustained non-photochemical quenching in a desert moss. (Submitted to Plant, Cell & Environment).

5. Silva, Anderson T.; Gao, Bei; Fisher, Kirsten M.; Mishler, Brent D.; Ekwealor, Jenna T. B.; Stark, Lloyd R.; Li, Xiaoshuang; Zhang, Daoyuan; Bowker, Matthew A.; Brinda, John C.; Deane-Coe, Kirsten K.; Oliver, Melvin J. To dry perchance to live: insights from the genome of the desiccation-tolerant biocrust moss Syntrichia caninervis. (Under review in The Plant Journal).

4. Ekwealor, Jenna T. B.; Fisher, Kirsten M. Life under quartz: Hypolithic mosses in the Mojave Desert. (In Press, PLOS ONE).

3. Baughman, Jenna T.; Payton, Adam C.; Paasch, Amber E.; Fisher, Kirsten M.; McDaniel, Stuart F. Multiple factors influence population sex ratios in the Mojave Desert moss Syntrichia caninervis. American Journal of Botany 104(5):1-10 (2017), DOI: 10.3732/ajb.1700045

2. Meijome, Tomás E.*; Baughman, Jenna T.*; Hooker, R. Adam; Cheng, Ying-Hua; Ciovacco, Wendy A.; Balamohan, Sanjeev A.; Srinivasan, Trishya L.; Chitteti, Brahmananda R.; Eleniste, Pierre P.; Horowitz, Mark C.; Srour, Edward F.; Bruzzaniti, Angela; Fuchs, Robyn K.; Kacena, Melissa A. C-Mpl is expressed on osteoblasts and osteoclasts and is important in regulating skeletal homeostasis. Journal of Cellular Biochemistry 117:959-969 (2016), DOI: 10.1002/jcb.25380 *Contributed equally

1. Eleniste, Pierre P.; Patel, Vruti; Posritong, Sumana; Zero, Odette; Largura, Heather; Cheng, Ying-Hua; Himes, Evan R.; Hamilton, Matthew; Baughman, Jenna; Kacena, Melissa A.; Bruzzaniti, Angela. Pyk2 and megakaryocytes regulate osteoblast differentiation and migration via distinct and overlapping mechanisms. Journal of Cellular Biochemistry 9999:1-11 (2015), DOI: 10.1002/jcb.25430

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