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Systematics & Evolution


A new species: Viola lilliputana, aptly named after Jonathan Swift’s Lilliputians in Gulliver’s Travels, was named one of the “Top 10 New Species” by an international committee of taxonomists.

A Framework to Study Plant Evolution and Biogeography

The mission of Environmental & Plant Biology researchers is to employ independent sources of data (e.g., morphology of living and extinct organisms, DNA variation) to infer phylogenetic relationships and to use the phylogeny as a framework to study character evolution and biogeography.

Participating Faculty

Research Active Emeriti Faculty

Current Projects

  • Systematics (including phylogenetic analysis), classification and evolution of the violet family (Ballard)
  • Polyploid evolution and Infrageneric groups of Viola (Ballard)
  • Species-level systematic studies in eastern North American violets (Ballard)
  • Genome construction and the genetic basis of the mixed breeding system in violets (Ballard & Wyatt)
  • Evolution of Cretaceous and Cenozoic aquatic ferns (Hermsen)
  • Phylogenetic analyses including fossil taxa and identification of fossil calibrations (Hermsen)
  • Systematics of Cretaceous and Cenozoic plants of Patagonia, Argentina (Hermsen)
  • Systematics of Freshwater Red Algae (Vis)
  • Comparative Transcriptomics for Systematic Research (Vis)
  • Biogeography/Phylogeography of Freshwater Red Algae (Vis)

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