Charles C. Davis

Charles C. Davis

Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology
Curator of Vascular Plants in the Harvard University Herbaria
Charles Davis

Faculty Support: Bridget Power

Our research on plant diversity integrates the disciplines of systematics, paleobiology, evolution, ecology, and molecular biology. One major theme that unites these disciplines is phylogenetic theory, which we apply to reconstruct the history of plant diversity through evolutionary time. Biogeography, biome evolution, plant-insect interactions, and horizontal gene transfer are some of the focal points of our work in this area. Our recent projects have sought to understand the origins of intercontinental disjunctions, the age of modern tropical rain forest, the maintenance of morphological stasis in the tree of life, and mechanisms for horizontal gene transfer. This research combines fieldwork with specimen-based studies in the herbarium and molecular approaches in the lab. Broader interests of our lab also include monographic and floristic study.

Recent Publications

Davis, C. C., C. G. Willis, B. Connolly, C. Kelly, and  A. M. Ellison. 2015. Herbarium records are reliable sources of phenological change driven by climate and provide novel insights into species’ phenological cueing mechanisms. American Journal of Botany 102: 1599-1609. 

Davis, C. C. and  A. Ellison. 2015. Opinion: Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical cannot be ignored. The Seattle Times

Xi, Z., L. Liu, and C. C. Davis. 2015. Genes with minimal phylogenetic information are problematic for coalescent analyses when gene tree estimation is biased. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 92: 63-71.

Davis, C. C. and  Z. Xi. 2015. Horizontal gene transfer in parasitic plants. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 26: 14-19. 

Willis C. G. and C. C. Davis. 2015. Rethinking migration. Science 348: 766. 

Courses Taught

OEB 103 Plant Systematics and Evolution
OEB 363 Plant Diversity and Evolution

Contact Information

Harvard University Herbaria
22 Divinity Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
p: 617-496-0515


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