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Joe is studying rare members of the genus Astragalus in western Colorado. With a background in population genetics, field ecology, and geology, he's studying why some Astragalus specialize on unusual substrates and landforms, particularly seleniferous soils and steep canyon walls. He's also investigating the prevalence and population genetic consequences of substrate specialization, using both field and herbarium specimens. He hopes to apply these findings to the conservation of rare Astragalus, as well as other plants that live in Colorado's rare and imperiled habitats.