UVA Biology People Roach

Deborah Roach

Emerita Professor of Biology
(434) 982-4858
Lab: (434) 982-5273


  • B.A., Mount Holyoke College, 1978
  • Ph.D., Duke University, 1984

Research Interests

 Do plants age?  Do stressful conditions during early-life influence late-life performance? What traits across the lifecycle are most critical to the persistence of a species that is found in a very limited geographic area?  When a novel, invasive, species is integrated into an existing community, can the native species adapt to coexist with this new competitor?  How much variation in inbreeding does one species show over time and across environments? These are some of the questions that we have recently studied in my lab and they are linked together under the general umbrella of investigating the role of natural selection in shaping variation in mortality and reproduction in natural populations. We have used several species to research these questions because different species are more experimentally tractable for different questions.  Each of these experimental systems is providing us with new insights that advance our understanding about how natural selection shapes the evolution of traits across all species.

For more information please visit our lab website.

Representative Publications

  • Smith, A.L….D.A. Roach…Y.M. Buckley. 2020. Global gene flow releases invasive plants from environmental constraints on genetic diversity. PNAS https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1915848117

  • Carey, J.R. and D.A. Roach. 2020. Introduction to Biodemography: Concepts and Methods. Princeton University Press 480pp.

  • Quarles, B.* and D.A. Roach. 2019. Aging in an Herbaceous Plant: Increases in mortality and decreases in physiology and seed mass. Journal of Ecology 107:1409-1418. (*UVA undergraduate).

  • Roach, D.A. and E.F. Smith*. 2019. Life-history trade-offs and senescence in plants. Functional Ecology 34(1): 17-25.  https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2435.13461

  • Dahlgren, J.P. and D.A. Roach. (2016). Demographic senescence in herbaceous plants.  In, “Senescence Across the Tree of Life” (Salguero-Gomez, R., Shefferson, R. and Jones, O. Eds.) Cambridge University Press. In press.
  • Roach, D.A. (2016). Uncovering variation in the patterns of aging. PNAS, 113(23):6328-6329.
  • Fenollisa, E., D.A. Roach, S. Munne-Bosch. (2016). Death and plasticity in clones influence invasion success. Trends in Plant Science, 21(7): 551-553.
  • Aikens, M. L. and D. A. Roach. (2015). Potential impacts of tolerance to herbivory on population dynamics of a monocarpic herb. American Journal of Botany, 102:1901-1911.
  • Beans, C.M. and D.A. Roach. (2015). An invasive plant alters pollinator-mediated phenotypic selection on a native congener. American Journal of Botany, 102:50-57.  
  • Roach, D.A. and J.R. Carey. (2014). Population Biology of Aging in the Wild.  Annual Review of Evolution, Ecology and Systematics, 45:421-443.