Lab Research Statement
We study the evolutionary, phylogenetic and biogeographic relationships of genera, species, and populations within island archipelagos, continents, and across hemispheres. Current research in the lab includes studies of terrestrial and marine organisms (in several kingdoms) in Hawaii and the Pacific, particularly those with long distance relationships to other islands and continents. Phylogenetic data are obtained primarily through sequencing of chloroplast and nuclear DNA, but can also involve AFLPs and microsatellites. The results are applied to conservation and restoration in Hawaii and the Pacific and to document ethnobotanical uses, as well as reconstructing evolutionary history. Diversity of research interests is the hallmark of the lab.
Current Graduate Students
- Joanne’s dissertation research focuses on the systematics of the genus Astelia (Asteliaceae). She is using molecular and morphological data to construct a phylogeny of Astelia to address taxonomic and biogeographic questions within the genus. The widespread distribution of Astelia, which extends from Chile in the east to the Mascarenes in the west, from Campbell Island in the south to Hawai’i in the North, makes it an ideal candidate for the study of the relationships between the New Zealand, Australian, and Pacific floras. Reconstruction of the Astelia phylogeny will allow biogeographic and floristic characters to be traced for this lineage, including transitions between continental and oceanic landmasses, temperate and tropical latitudes, and lowland and montane habitats.
Sukonthip ‘Nok‘ Bunwong (Webpage)
- Nok studies Thai Vernonieae at Khon Khaen University in Thailand where she also teaches.
Tim Gallaher (UHM | Personal)
- Tim researches the systematic and biogeographical relationships of Pandanus section Pandanus in the Pandanaceae
- Jason’s dissertation research includes the development of a phylogeny for Coprosma (Rubiaceae). He is using molecular, morphological and geographical data in order to address many evolutionary questions. Coprosma diversity is centered in New Zealand (>50 species) with secondary centers of diversity in Australia, New Guinea and Hawai`i. The remaining species are distributed throughout other smaller Pacific islands. It is necessary to construct a molecular phylogeny for Coprosma in order to infer historical biogeography for the genus and to examine its patterns of morphological evolution throughout the Pacific. A further component of Jason’s research will include a population level study that examines hybridization and introgression patterns of Coprosma within the Hawaiian Archipelago.
Kamponporn ‘KK’ Panngom(Webpage)
- KK studies Indigophera at Maejo University Phrae-campus, Thailand where she also teaches Botany
Graduated Students/ Former Post-Docs