Ruth Kirkpatrick

General Interests:

My research interests are in evolutionary processes, history, and phylogenetic relationships among green plants, especially ferns. I use molecular, cytogenetic, morphological, and physiological data to help resolve the phylogeny of ferns. For my dissertation I plan to investigate the phylogeny of the traditionally problematic fern genus Pellaea sect. Pellaea whose members predominately occupy dry and rocky habitats. Many of the ferns of this genus show extraordinary morphological and physiological adaptations to xeric habitats. My research goal is utilize these data in order to elucidate the adaptive evolutionary history of ferns to xeric environments.