Elizabeth Hill Zacharias

General Research Interests

  • Systematics of Atripliceae (Chenopodiaceae)
  • Plant systematics and evolution
  • Genome evolution
  • Evolution of ecophysiology
  • Floristics of western North America
  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Halophyte ecology
  • Fine-scale diversity
  • Plant morphology
Current Projects
  Dissertation Research: Systematics and Evolution of North American Atriplex and related genera

My dissertation research investigates the evolutionary, biogeographical, and ecological history of North American members of the saltbush genus Atriplex (Chenopodiaceae) and related genera. Using both field- and laboratory-based data I am integrating molecular phylogenetic methods with ecological and physiological data to understand the processes and patterns of plant evolution. Atriplex provides an extraordinary opportunity for comparative evolutionary studies; Atriplex taxa exhibit important ecological and physiological diversity, with many taxa appearing well adapted to stresses such as high temperature, limited water supply, and high salinity. Besides contributing to a better understanding of evolutionary relationships and processes, the phylogenetic framework allows me to test hypotheses about physiological and morphological change in an ecological context, such as the evolution of C3 and C4 photosynthesis, the origin of arid systems, and the evolution of salinity tolerance in angiosperm diversification. I am especially interested in how physiological differences among plants contribute to evolutionary divergence.

  Collaboration: Systematics of the genus Atriplex (Chenopodiaceae)
      Gudrun (Clausing) Kadereit, Ph.D., Institut für Spezielle Botanik und Botanischer Garten, Universität Mainz, Bentzelweg 9a, 55128 Mainz, Germany
      Evgeny V. Mavrodiev, Ph.D., Univ. of Florida, Botany & Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville, FL, USA
      Alexander P. Sukhorukov, Ph.D., Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia