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

Sessa, EB, Banks, JA, Barker, MS, Der, JP, Duffy, AM, Graham, SW, Hasebe, M, Langdale, J, Li, F-W, Marchant, DB, Pryer, KM, Rothfels, CJ, Roux, SJ, Salmi, ML, Sigel, EM, Soltis, DE, Soltis, PS, Stevenson, DW, and Wolf, PG. "Between two fern genomes." Gigascience 3 (January 2014): 15-null. (Review) Full Text Open Access Copy

Sigel, EM, Windham, MD, Haufler, CH, and Pryer, KM. "Phylogeny, divergence time estimates, and phylogeography of the diploid species of the polypodium vulgare complex (Polypodiaceae)." Systematic Botany 39, no. 4 (January 1, 2014): 1042-1055. Full Text

Grusz, AL, Windham, MD, Yatskievych, G, Huiet, L, Gastony, GJ, and Pryer, KM. "Patterns of diversification in the xeric-adapted fern genus myriopteris (Pteridaceae)." Systematic Botany 39, no. 3 (January 1, 2014): 698-714. Full Text

Rothfels, CJ, Windham, MD, and Pryer, KM. "A plastid phylogeny of the cosmopolitan fern family cystopteridaceae (Polypodiopsida)." Systematic Botany 38, no. 2 (June 1, 2013): 295-306. Full Text

Grusz, AL, Pryer, KM, Yatskievych, G, Huiet, RL, Gastony, GJ, and Windham, MD. "Refining the phylogeny of cheilanthoid ferns: The resurrection and recircumscription of Myriopteris (Pteridaceae) (Submitted)." Systematic Botany (2013). (Academic Article)

León, B, Rothfels, CJ, Arakaki, M, Young, KR, and Pryer, KM. "Revealing a Cryptic Fern Distribution Through DNA Sequencing:Pityrogramma trifoliatain the Western Andes of Peru." American Fern Journal 103, no. 1 (January 2013): 40-48. Full Text

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." Plos One 8, no. 10 (January 2013): e76957-null. 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

Pryer, KM. "The Distinguished Legacy of DMB: Donald MacPhail Britton (1923–2012)." American Fern Journal 102, no. 4 (October 2012): 241-251. Full Text

Li, FW, Pryer, KM, and Windham, MD. "Gaga, a new fern genus segregated from cheilanthes (pteridaceae)." Systematic Botany 37, no. 4 (October 1, 2012): 845-860. Full Text Open Access Copy