Postdoctoral Fellow

Chicago Botanic Garden

1000 Lake Cook Road Glencoe, IL 60022


About my research
































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Figures modified from McDonnell, A., Parks, M., & Fishbein, M. (2018). Multilocus Phylogenetics of New World Milkweed Vines (Apocynaceae, Asclepiadoideae, Gonolobinae). Systematic Botany, 43(1), 77-96.

2018-04-11 11.54.37 2017-11-29 08.16.11 HDR


Rare plants in Pennsylvania

Ongoing collaborative work between the Martine lab and the PA Natural Heritage Program has focused on the population genomics of several rare or threatened species within the state. To date, we have begun work on projects including Erigenia bulbosa (right), Chasmanthium latiflorum, and Baptisia australis, with the latter being the focus of MS student Cheyenne Moore's thesis.

Australian Solanums

As a part of my postdoctoral position, I am working on the phylogeny and evolution of a couple of groups of Solanum endemic to the northern 1/3 of the Australian continent. We are using a targeted enrichment approach to better understand relationships and the evolution of breeding systems within the lineage. Along with undergraduate researchers, we are describing new species and growing lots of plants in the two greenhouses (one of them is shown below at sunrise) on the Bucknell campus.


I have specialized on studying milkweed vines that are found exclusively in the New World (subtribe Gonolobinae, ~500 species). Gonoloboid milkweeds are arguably the most common milkweeds in American subtropics, but they are little known due to an abundance of uncommon taxa and their confused classification, particularly with respect to the large "trashcan genus" Matelea. To date, chloroplast data (Krings, et al. 2008; McDonnell, et al. 2018) have shown Matelea sensu Woodson to be paraphyletic.


Subgenus Chthamalia (an unfortunate name, I know. Blame Decaisne! I pronounce it as though the Ch were silent) includes unusual non-twining species that are heterogeneous in corolla size and shape and exhibit putative adaptations to aridity (loss of twining habit, tubular flowers, and extreme hairiness). This lineage is a candidate for segregation from Matelea as a distinct genus. My resulting phylogenetic hypotheses of Gonolobinae and Chthamalia will serve as frameworks for downstream analyses to test hypotheses about adaptive ecological shifts in growth form and floral morphology as well as biogeography.