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

Schneider, H, Smith, AR, and Pryer, KM. "Is morphology really at odds with molecules in estimating fern phylogeny?." Systematic Botany 34, no. 3 (2009): 455-475. Full Text

Metzgar, JS, Skog, JE, Zimmer, EA, and Pryer, KM. "The paraphyly of Osmunda is confirmed by phylogenetic analyses of seven plastid loci." Systematic Botany 33, no. 1 (2008): 31-36. Full Text

Nagalingum, NS, Nowak, MD, and Pryer, KM. "Assessing phylogenetic relationships in extant heterosporous ferns (Salviniales), with a focus on Pilularia and Salvinia." Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 157, no. 4 (2008): 673-685. Full Text

Christenhusz, MJM, Tuomisto, H, Metzgar, JS, and Pryer, KM. "Evolutionary relationships within the Neotropical, eusporangiate fern genus Danaea (Marattiaceae)." Mol Phylogenet Evol 46, no. 1 (January 2008): 34-48. Full Text

Hennequin, S, Schuettpelz, E, Pryer, KM, Ebihara, A, and Dubuisson, J-Y. "Divergence times and the evolution of epiphytism in filmy ferns (Hymenophyllaceae) revisited." International Journal of Plant Sciences 169, no. 9 (2008): 1278-1287. Full Text

Schuettpelz, E, Grusz, AL, Windham, MD, and Pryer, KM. "The utility of nuclear gapCp in resolving polyploid fern origins." Systematic Botany 33, no. 4 (2008): 621-629. Full Text

Rothfels, CJ, Windham, MD, Grusz, AL, Gastony, GJ, and Pryer, KM. "Toward a monophyletic Notholaena (Pteridaceae): Resolving patterns of evolutionary convergence in xeric-adapted ferns." Taxon 57, no. 3 (2008): 712-724.

Haugen, P, Bhattacharya, D, Palmer, JD, Turner, S, Lewis, LA, and Pryer, KM. "Cyanobacterial ribosomal RNA genes with multiple, endonuclease-encoding group I introns. (Published online)" BMC Evol Biol 7 (September 8, 2007): 159-. Full Text

Schuettpelz, E, Schneider, H, Huiet, L, Windham, MD, and Pryer, KM. "A molecular phylogeny of the fern family Pteridaceae: assessing overall relationships and the affinities of previously unsampled genera." Mol Phylogenet Evol 44, no. 3 (September 2007): 1172-1185. Full Text

Korall, P, Conant, DS, Metzgar, JS, Schneider, H, and Pryer, KM. "A molecular phylogeny of scaly tree ferns (Cyatheaceae)." Am J Bot 94, no. 5 (May 2007): 873-886. Full Text