We are collaborating with a research team led by Rachel Jabaily (Colorado College) to produce a phylogeny for the Australian fan-flower family, Goodeniaceae. Goodeniaceae is sister to the major angiosperm clade Asteraceae plus Calyceraceae, and includes 420+ species that are primarily endemic to Australia, with multiple radiations of the genus Scaevola in Pacific island systems. We are using a genome skimming approach to generate plastid and nuclear sequence data that will be used to reconstruct the backbone phylogeny of this group, in order to determine the relationships between major, well-supported clades. This phylogeny will form the basis for studies of floral evolution, including gene expression studies overseen by Dianella Howarth (St. John’s University). Photos of Goodenia taxa above by Andy Gardner, postdoc in the Jabaily lab.


  • Jabaily RS, KA Shepherd, PS Michener, CJ Bush, R Rivero, AG Gardner, and EB Sessa. Employing mitochondrial sequences and hypothesis testing to resolve recalcitrant backbone nodes in Goodenia s.l. (Goodeniaceae)Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 127: 502–512. PDF
  • Berger BA, J Han, EB Sessa, AG Gardner, KA Shepherd, V Ricigliano, RS Jabaily, and DG Howarth. (2017) The unexpected depths of genome skimming data: a case study examining Goodeniaceae floral symmetry genes. Applications in Plant Sciences. 5(10): 1700042. PDF
  • Gardner AG*, EB Sessa*, P Michener, E Johnson, KA Shepherd, DG Howarth, and RS Jabaily. (2016) Utilizing next-generation sequencing to resolve the backbone and inform taxonomy of the Core Goodeniaceae. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 94: 605–617. PDF *These authors contributed equally.