Ecology and Evolution

My main emphasis is analyzing the basis for serpentine ecological and evolutionary patterns in plant life history, adaptive morphology, and community structure, with particular emphasis on serpentine and the selective forces that may underlie them. My specific interests include serpentine ecology, evolution and genetics of mating systems, plant-animal interactions as it relates to serpentine ecology.


In general, the process of evolution and mechanisms of speciation are the ultimate driving forces leading to the diversity of plant life as it relates to:

1.      Adaptations of plants to azonal (unusual) soils, especially serpentines

2.      Nickel hyperaccumulation in serpentine plants

3.      Evolution of tolerance to serpentine soils.


Systematics and Taxonomy

As we all know, systematics is a synthetic science that employs multiple lines of evidence to develop systems of nomenclature, classification, monographs, floristic inventories, and hypotheses of phylogenetic relationships. Focus of my research is the interface of systematics and evolutionary biology. I utilize a broad range of experimental data in investigating taxonomic relationships, phylogenetic patterns, modes of speciation and hybridization among flowering plants. My systematics and taxonomy interests follow:

1.      Speciation in serpentine endemic plants

2.      Taxonomy of Streptanthus (Section Euclisia, Cruciferae)

3.      Interfertility among North American species of Silene and Lychnis (Caryophyllaceae)

4.      Cytogenetics of interspecific hybrids

5.      Cytotaxonomy of Silene and Phacelia.