A. Jonathan Shaw

Professor of Biology

Box 90338, 137 Bio Sciences, 130 Science Drive, Durham, NC 27708
Campus Box: 
Box 90338, Durham, NC 27708-0338
(919) 660-7344
My research centers on the evolution and diversity of bryophytes. Current projects in the lab include molecular phylogenetic analyses of familial and ordinal level relationships in the arthrodontous mosses, studies of hybridization using molecular and morphological markers, and investigations of cryptic speciation within geographically widespread species. My own particular focus (as opposed to those of post-docs and graduate students in the lab) at present is the genus Sphagnum (peatmosses). Ongoing research is grounded in phylogenetic analyses at various levels of biological organization from populations up to genus-wide. We utilize DNA sequence data from the nuclear, chloroplast, and mitochondrial genomes to infer historical processes of biodiversification. I have a special interest in the genetic structure of both rare and widespread species. Morphological and molecular information is being used to explore geographic patterns in phylogenetic diversity within the peatmosses. Of particular interest are biogeographic relationships between boreal, tropical, and Southern Hemisphere taxa, and between New and Old World taxa. Our data base presently includes nucleotide sequences from multiple loci representing some 500-600 accessions of peatmosses. Additional information about this ongoing work can be found here. The bryology laboratory is engaged in ongoing collaborative research projects with the New York Botanical Garden, the University of Connecticut, the Missouri Botanical Garden, and the University of Alberta. Additional information about these projects can be found here. I serve as Curator of the Bryophyte Herbarium, which includes approximately 230,000 collections of mosses, liverworts, and hornworts. The collections represent a central resource for bryological research at Duke, and we are actively integrating molecular investigations with field work and collections- based approaches.


  • Ph.D., University of Michigan at Ann Arbor 1983

  • M.S., University of Alberta (Canada) 1980

  • B.S., Cornell University 1977

Shaw, AJ. "Metal tolerances and cotolerances in the moss Funaria hygrometrica." Canadian Journal of Botany 68, no. 10 (1990): 2275-2282.

Shaw, J, Antonovics, J, and Anderson, LE. "Inter- and intraspecific variation of mosses in tolerance to copper and zinc." Evolution 41, no. 6 (1987): 1312-1325.

Shaw, J. "The relevance of ecology to species concepts in bryophytes." Bryologist 88, no. 3 (1985): 199-206.

Shaw, J. "Character analysis, phylogeny, and classification of the moss genus Pohlia." Canadian Journal of Botany 62, no. 2 (1984): 219-229.

Shaw, J, Jules, ES, and Beer, SC. "Effects of Metals on Growth, Morphology, and Reproduction of Ceratodon purpureus(Accepted)." The Bryologist 94, no. 3: 270-270. Full Text