Kathleen M. Pryer

Professor in the Department of Biology

358 Bio Sci Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Campus Box: 
Box 90338, Durham, NC 27708-0338
(919) 660-7380
My research focuses on understanding the evolutionary relationships of ancient land plants, especially ferns and horsetails, by integrating evidence from morphology, molecules (DNA sequence data from multiple genes), and the fossil record. I use an explicit phylogenetic framework to examine the morphological evolution of various sporophytic and gametophytic characters within vascular plants, and to gain insight into the evolution of various life history traits and the body plans that typify vascular plants. A phylogenetic perspective also informs my molecular evolutionary studies that attempt to elucidate why we observe remarkable rate heterogeneity in chloroplast genes in land plant phylogeny.


  • Ph.D., Duke University 1995

  • M.S., University of Guelph (Canada) 1981

  • B.S., McGill University (Canada) 1976

Rothfels, CJ, Larsson, A, Li, F-W, Sigel, EM, Huiet, L, Burge, DO, Ruhsam, M, Graham, SW, Stevenson, DW, Wong, GK-S, Korall, P, and Pryer, KM. "Transcriptome-mining for single-copy nuclear markers in ferns. (Published online)" PLoS One 8, no. 10 (2013): e76957-. Full Text

Beck, JB, Allison, JR, Pryer, KM, and Windham, MD. "Identifying multiple origins of polyploid taxa: a multilocus study of the hybrid cloak fern (Astrolepis integerrima; Pteridaceae)." Am J Bot 99, no. 11 (November 2012): 1857-1865. Full Text

Johnson, AK, Rothfels, CJ, Windham, MD, and Pryer, KM. "Unique expression of a sporophytic character on the gametophytes of notholaenid ferns (Pteridaceae)." Am J Bot 99, no. 6 (June 2012): 1118-1124. Full Text

Rothfels, CJ, Larsson, A, Kuo, L-Y, Korall, P, Chiou, W-L, and Pryer, KM. "Overcoming deep roots, fast rates, and short internodes to resolve the ancient rapid radiation of eupolypod II ferns." Systematic biology 61, no. 3 (May 2012): 490-509. Full Text

Rothfels, CJ, Sundue, MA, Kuo, L-Y, Larsson, A, Kato, M, Schuettpelz, E, and Pryer, KM. "A revised family-level classification for eupolypod II ferns (Polypodiidae: Polypodiales)." Taxon 61, no. 3 (2012): 515-533.

Pryer, KM. "The Distinguished Legacy of DMB: Donald MacPhail Britton (1923-2012)." AMERICAN FERN JOURNAL 102, no. 4 (2012): 241-251. Full Text

Li, F-W, Pryer, KM, and Windham, MD. "Gaga, a new fern genus segregated from cheilanthes (pteridaceae)." Systematic Botany 37, no. 4 (2012): 845-860. Full Text Open Access Copy

Rothfels, CJ, Sundue, MA, Kato, M, Larsson, A, Kuo, L-Y, Schuettpelz, E, and Pryer, KM. "A revised classification for eupolypod II ferns (Polypodiales: Polypodiopsida)." Taxon 61 (2012): 515-533. (Academic Article)

Pryer, KM. "The distinguished legacy of DMB: Donald MacPhail Britton (1923 - 2012)." American Fern Journal 102 (2012): in press-. (Academic Article)

Beck, JB, Windham, MD, and Pryer, KM. "Do asexual polyploid lineages lead short evolutionary lives? A case study from the fern genus Astrolepis." Evolution 65, no. 11 (November 2011): 3217-3229. Full Text