We study early events in the evolution of plants, particularly the endosymbiotic origin of plastids (chloroplasts), and the origin of land plants (i.e., embryophytes) from green algae, using molecular systematic and genomic methods -- an approach that is now sometimes called phylogenomics." We combine modern molecular methods, including gene and genome sequencing, computer analysis, and a variety of instrumental methods, with more classical methods and field work. By comparing the properties of living organisms we can gain insight into their common ancestors. In our work on the evolution of chloroplasts we have primarily concentrated on dinoflagellates, but have also worked on haptophytes and heterokonts. Our work on the origin of land plants primarily emphasizes the Charophyte Green Algae (also called Streptophytes).
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin. Plant molecular systematics and plastid evolution.