Research

Research projects in the lab

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Ferns are the second largest group of vascular land plants (ca. 10,000 species), and lycophytes (ca. 1,300 species) are sister to ferns+seed plants. Ferns and lycophytes have received less attention than other plant lineages in studies of phylogenetics, genomics, and physiological ecology, and as a result many questions remain unanswered about their phylogenetic relationships, genome structure, and the physiological traits that have allowed them to persist and diversify. In particular, polyploidy and other reticulate processes (e.g., hybridization, introgression) are recognized as critical phenomena that have shaped the evolutionary trajectories of many plant lineages, and ferns have the highest rates of polyploidy among vascular plants. Research on ferns and lycophytes in our lab focuses on several major areas of inquiry, including biogeographic patterns, diversification processes, mating systems, community assembly, genomics/transcriptomics, and physiological ecology, all of which we generally approach from the context of phylogeny. While most of our research focuses on ferns and/or lycophytes, we also have several projects that are not fern-centric. Please visit the links below for descriptions of the major active projects in the lab.