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

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 (March 1, 2008): 31-36. Full Text

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

Metzgar, JS, Schneider, H, and Pryer, KM. "Phylogeny and divergence time estimates for the fern genus Azolla (Salviniaceae)." International Journal of Plant Sciences 168, no. 7 (October 22, 2007): 1045-1053. Full Text

Haugen, P, Bhattacharya, D, Palmer, JD, Turner, S, Lewis, LA, and Pryer, KM. "Cyanobacterial ribosomal RNA genes with multiple, endonuclease-encoding group I introns." Bmc Evolutionary Biology 7 (September 8, 2007): 159-null. 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)." American Journal of Botany 94, no. 5 (May 2007): 873-886. Full Text

Schuettpelz, E, and Pryer, KM. "Fern phylogeny inferred from 400 leptosporangiate species and three plastid genes." Taxon 56, no. 4 (January 1, 2007): 1037-1050. Full Text

Nagalingum, NS, Schneider, H, and Pryer, KM. "Molecular phylogenetic relationships and morphological evolution in the heterosporous fern genus Marsilea." Systematic Botany 32, no. 1 (January 1, 2007): 16-25. Full Text

Nagalingum, NS, Schneider, H, and Pryer, KM. "Comparative morphology of reproductive structures in heterosporous water ferns and a reevaluation of the sporocarp." International Journal of Plant Sciences 167, no. 4 (July 1, 2006): 805-815. Full Text

Korall, P, Pryer, KM, Metzgar, JS, Schneider, H, and Conant, DS. "Tree ferns: monophyletic groups and their relationships as revealed by four protein-coding plastid loci." Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 39, no. 3 (June 2006): 830-845. Full Text