University of Washington
My research right now focuses on the Lantana-Lippia complex in the Verbena family. These are diverse and beautiful plants which occur mainly in the New World tropics and subtropics. As currently described, Lantana species have fleshy fruits, but the fruits of Lippia and most other genera in the group are dry. By resolving a phylogeny based on molecular data, I’m working on discovering how many times the fleshy fruit has evolved in the Lantana-Lippia complex. I am also interested exploring how the evolution of fleshy fruits has influenced the way that species spread and diversify in this group.
During my studies so far I’ve been lucky enough to travel to many fascinating parts of the world to collect plants. As an undergraduate I visited various parts of outback New South Wales and spent several weeks in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. In the last two years I’ve collected Lantana and Lippia in southern Texas, South Africa, and Peru. My activities at the UW as a teaching assistant and student in the Herbarium involve regular collecting trips around many beautiful areas of Washington state.
Pursuing a childhood interest in botany has taken me all around the world, through a variety of incredible and rewarding experiences. Flowering plants are some of the most beautiful, fascinating and important organisms on the planet, and I feel privileged to be learning and teaching about them.
Botany 2012 - Enhancing Diversity in the Plant Biology Luncheon, featuring Dr. Maria Elena Zavala,
Professor of Biology,California State University, Northridge, CSU Trustee, Wang Professor and
GRIF Professor -
"Planting the seeds of diversity to reap a harvest of scientists", Tuesday, July 10th, Fairfield/Hyatt, Columbus, Ohio
Previous Featured Scientists
Dr. Jenny Xiang
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, North Carolina
Dr. Mudassir Asrar Zaidi
Balochistan University of Information Technology,
Engineering and Management Sciences
Yale University, PhD Candidate
School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
University of Texas at Austin
Plant Biology Graduate Program