Associate Professor, Plant Systematics

George Mason University



line decor
line decor



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 Burseraceae, which is a pantropically distributed group of trees best known for producing frankincense and myrrh. However, student members of my lab pursue projects involving a range of plant taxa across the globe, from Himalayan sunflowers to the Virginian saltmarsh mallow.

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. The annual reports for the herbarium are available for download in pdf form (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012).

Some recent Mason articles about my research:

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




Read a recent paper: Alexander, S. N., L. C. Hayek, and A. Weeks. 2012. A subspecific revision of North American saltmarsh mallow, Kosteletzkya pentacarpos (L.) Ledeb (Malvaceae). Castanea 77(1): 106-122.

View plants from my most recent trip:
Delmarva Peninsula - June 2013

Opportunites for GMU student researchers are available:
contact me for details.