The Roalson Lab
Systematists and molecular phylogeneticists study the patterns and processes of organismal diversity, from the gene to the organism to the clade level, and ask questions focused on how the diversity we see has originated, and how different processes have led to these diversification patterns. Integration of studies across these different hierarchical levels is important to understand not only how lineages have diversified, and how they might be classified, but also what processes might have been important. My research is focused on two general questions: (1) what are the patterns of angiosperm diversity, from species boundaries to clade classifications to historical biogeography; and (2) what are the evolutionary dynamics of morphological and physiological traits (and their underlying genes) important to diversification, particularly floral structural changes and photosynthetic pathway modification. Current projects focus on the Cyperaceae, Gesneriaceae, Cleomaceae, and Chenopodiaceae, with studies exploring a variety of phylogenetic, cytogenetic, morphological, and physiological questions.