My research focuses on understanding the systematic biology of flowering plants. This field of inquiry includes the study of taxonomy (i.e., species discovery and description), the study of phylogeny (i.e., evolutionary relationships among species), and the study of evolutionary processes (e.g., speciation, historical biogeography). Much of my research centers on the systematics of the frankincense and myrrh family, Burseraceae. However, members of my lab have pursued systematics projects involving a range of plant taxa across the globe, from Himalayan sunflowers to the Virginian saltmarsh mallow.
I am pictured above holding a herbarium sheet of Chrysogonum virginianum (Asteraceae), a native wildflower known as "Green-and-Gold." This name also describes Mason's university colors! Photo credit: Evan Cantwell, GMU.
In addition to my research and teaching responsibiIities, I am director of the Ted R. Bradley Herbarium at GMU and am engaged in making this valuable resource of information about the Virginia flora more accessible via the internet. Posted here is a recent presentation to the Virginia Native Plant Society about this digitization initiative.
Some recent Mason articles about my research:
Mason Students are Turning Dried Blossoms into Database: 06/12/2015
Mason Leads Initiative to Record, Digitize Virginia Plant Life: 10/24/2014
Native Plant Society Donates 'Flora of Virginia' to Mason: 04/11/2013
Seeing Both the Forest and the Trees: 10/18/2010
Mason Faculty Members Explore the World in Efforts to Study Environmental Issues: 08/04/2008
Natural Walk Introduces Community to Another Side of Campus:
Mason's Herbarium Is a Treasure Trove for Scholars: 02/21/2007
Research Experience Shortens Learning Curve for Grad Student: 10/26/2006