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Gar W. Rothwell

Gar Rothwell, portrait
Distinguished Professor Emeritus

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Ph.D., University of Alberta, 1973


  • Organismal Botany
  • Paleontology
  • Evolution and Phylogeny

Studies of fossil and living land plants are directed toward a fuller understanding of phylogeny and evolution. These are explored using data from morphological, anatomical, ultrastructural, developmental, and molecular characters. Evaluations of ontogeny, reproductive biology, and organismal interactions are emphasized in interpreting development of the modern flora within the context of evolutionary ecology.

Research projects on a wide range of organismal biology topics are available for both undergraduate and graduate students who wish to become practicing scientists. These studies often focus on fossil plants, but structure, growth and development and physiology studies of living plants also are conducted. Anyone interested in doing original research and/or conducting his or her PBIO 404 undergraduate research in organismal botany, may contact Dr. Rothwell for a list and explanation of available topics.

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Faculty Research Focus Areas: Fossil Plants, Phylogenetic Systematics, and Evolutionary Developmental Plant Biology

Current and Recent Student Research Projects

  • Early seed plant evolution and phylogeny
  • Late Cretaceous floristics of Alaska
  • Phylogeny of Aeraceae
  • Phylogeny of Cupressaceous conifers

Professional Service

  • Past President, International Organisation of Palaeobotany
  • Associate Editor, American Journal of Botany

Selected References

Rothwell, G.W., M.T Dunn and A.C. Scott. 2021. Reconstructing the Tetrastichia bupatides Gordon plant; a Lower Carboniferous/Devonian (Tournaisian) hydrasperman gymnosperm from Oxroad Bay, Scotland and Ballyheigue, Ireland. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 296: 1-10. 10.1016/j.revpalbo.2021.104551

Stockey, R.A., G.L. Hoffman and G.W. Rothwell. 2021. Josef Bogner’s Influence on Paleobotany.  Aroideana 44: 41-81.

Atkinson, B.A., D.L. Contreras, R.A. Stockey and G.W. Rothwell. 2021. Disparate diversity of ancient cunninghamioid conifers (Cupressaceae): two new genera from the Upper Cretaceous of Hokkaido, Japan. Botany 99: 457-473.

Stockey, R.A., G.L. Hoffman and G.W. Rothwell. 2021. Fossil evidence for Paleocene diversification of Araceae: Bognerospadix gen. nov. and Orontiophyllum grandifolium comb. nov. American Journal of Botany 108: 1417–1440.

Gierlowski-Kordesch, E.H., G.W. Rothwell, R.A. Stockey and D.B. Finkelstein. 2021. Submarine groundwater discharge as a catalyst for eodiagenetic carbonate cements within marine sedimentary basins. Pp. 445-468, in: Rosen, M.R., L. Park-Boush, D.B. Finkelstein and S.P. Pueyo. Limnogeology: Progress, challenges and opportunities: A tribute to Elizabeth Gierlowski-Kordesch. Springer Nature Switzerland AG, Switzerland.

Bippus, A.C., G.W. Rothwell, and R.A. Stockey. 2021. Cynodontium luthii sp. nov.: a permineralized moss gametophyte from the Late Cretaceous of the North Slope of Alaska. American Journal of Botany 108: 495-504.

Rothwell, G.W. 2021. The evolution of stelar architecture. In: Tomescu, A.M.F. 2021. The stele – a developmental perspective on the diversity and evolution of primary vascular architecture. Biological Reviews. doi: 10.1111/brv.12699.