Stephen R Downie

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Personal profile


B.Sc., 1982, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Ph.D., 1988, University of Alberta, Canada

Postdoctoral positions: University of Michigan and Indiana University

Professional Information

Systematics and evolution of flowering plants, with emphasis on the family Apiaceae

The relationships among and within many families of flowering plants remain unclear. Reconstruction of phylogenies from molecular data is now routine in systematics and continues to provide valuable insight into evolutionary patterns and processes, and historical biogeography. We are using the record of molecular change contained within the chloroplast and nuclear genomes of plants, as well as morphological and fruit anatomical evidence, to trace evolutionary histories and elucidate patterns of phenotypic character evolution in the Apiaceae (or Umbelliferae, the carrot, celery or parsley family), a cosmopolitan group of ecological, economical, and pharmaceutical importance. Current research is focused on the perennial, endemic umbellifers of western North America, such as Cymopterus and Lomatium, with the goals of clarifying generic- and species-level boundaries, reconstructing a robust phylogeny, and producing a modern classification. Ongoing research on the phylogeny and biogeography of Apiaceae, using techniques ranging from herbarium-based studies to phylogenomic analyses, is international in scope, with extensive collaborations the world over.


Office Phone

(217) 333-1350

Office Address

2090 Lincoln Hall
702 S Wright St
Urbana, IL 61801-3631


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