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, and Pryer, KM. "Structure and function of spores in the aquatic heterosporous fern family Marsileaceae." International Journal of Plant Sciences 163, no. 4 (January 1, 2002): 485-505. Full Text

Smith, AR, Tuomisto, H, Pryer, KM, Hunt, JS, and Wolf, PG. "Metaxya lanosa, a second species in the genus and fern family Metaxyaceae." Systematic Botany 26, no. 3 (October 11, 2001): 480-486.

Pryer, KM, Smith, AR, Hunt, JS, and Dubuisson, JY. "rbcL data reveal two monophyletic groups of filmy ferns (Filicopsida: Hymenophyllaceae)." Am J Bot 88, no. 6 (June 2001): 1118-1130.

Pryer, KM, Schneider, H, Smith, AR, Cranfill, R, Wolf, PG, Hunt, JS, and Sipes, SD. "Horsetails and ferns are a monophyletic group and the closest living relatives to seed plants." Nature 409, no. 6820 (February 2001): 618-622. Full Text

Lupia, R, Schneider, H, Moeser, GM, Pryer, KM, and Crane, PR. "Marsileaceae sporocarps and spores from the late cretaceous of Georgia, U.S.A." International Journal of Plant Sciences 161, no. 6 (January 1, 2000): 975-988. Full Text

Pryer, KM. "Phylogeny of Marsileaceous Ferns and Relationships of the Fossil Hydropteris pinnata Reconsidered." Int J Plant Sci 160, no. 5 (September 1999): 931-954.

Turner, S, Pryer, KM, Miao, VP, and Palmer, JD. "Investigating deep phylogenetic relationships among cyanobacteria and plastids by small subunit rRNA sequence analysis." The Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology 46, no. 4 (July 1999): 327-338. Full Text

Wolf, PG, Sipes, SD, White, MR, Martines, ML, Pryer, KM, Smith, AR, and Ueda, K. "Phylogenetic relationships of the enigmatic fern families Hymenophyllopsidaceae and Lophosoriaceae: Evidence from rbcL nucleotide sequences." Plant Systematics and Evolution 219, no. 3-4 (January 1, 1999): 263-270. Full Text

Hasebe, M, Wolf, PG, Pryer, KM, Ueda, K, Ito, M, Sano, R, Gastony, GJ, Yokoyama, J, Manhart, JR, Murakami, N, Crane, EH, Haufler, CH, and Hauk, WD. "Fern Phylogeny Based on rbcL Nucleotide Sequences." American Fern Journal 85, no. 4 (October 1995): 134-134. Full Text