I am interested in all things evolution — with special interest in plant systematics, phylogenetics, and biogeography. My dissertation work explored all of these areas of study within the Campanulaceae (bellflower) clade, while specifically focusing on the evolution and historical biogeography of continental island endemics in the Aegean Archipelago. [Photo Gallery]
My current postdoc projects include (1) Using phylogenomic tools to uncover ancient gene flow in Oaks (Quercus) and identify introgressed loci in modern taxa. (2) Disentangling the [incredibly] complex evolutionary history of blueberries (Vaccinium sect. Cyanococcus) in Eastern North America.
Evolution and biogeography of rare, endemic bellflowers (Campanula) in the Aegean Archipelago
At the intersection of geological activity, climatic fluctuations, and human pressure, the Mediterranean Basin – a hotspot of biodiversity – provides an ideal setting for studying endemism, evolution, and biogeography. This research focuses on the Roucela complex, a group of 12 bellflower species found primarily in the eastern Mediterranean Basin. Understanding the evolutionary history of this group provides insights into past and current forces that are driving biogeographic patterns in this region and allows for broad inferences to be made regarding evolutionary processes in the Mediterranean. [Photo Gallery]
Two intercontinental disjunctions, one clade: biogeography of Triodanis and Legousia
Intercontinental disjunctions have long been of interest to biogeographers, though the historical processes responsible for such distributions have long been debated. In this project we are focusing on Legousia and Triodanis, two closely related taxa with a disjunct distribution in the Mediterranean and North America, with one taxon disjunct between North and South America. Recent advances in phylogenetics and molecular dating techniques allow us to more explicitly test the potential processes driving these interesting intercontinental distribution patterns.
Evolution and biogeography of Campanulaceae
The Campanulaceae are an incredibly diverse clade of flowering plants encompassing more than 2300 species in five subfamilies, with representatives on six continents. Within the group a number of impressive radiations have occurred, leading to a cosmopolitan distribution with taxa inhabiting a diverse array of habitats from the tropics to the arctic. Here we construct the largest phylogeny of the Campanulaceae to-date, including representatives of all five major clades. This phylogenetic framework allows us to infer global biogeographic patterns and better understand the role polyploidy has played within the Campanulaceae clade.