Date of Award

Summer 8-13-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Biological Sciences


Biological Sciences

Major Professor

Charles Bell

Second Advisor

Simon Lailvaux

Third Advisor

Steven Johnson


Species of Valerianaceae in South America represent one of the best examples of rapid diversification on a continental scale. The phylogeny of Valerianaceae has received a lot of attention within the last 10 years, but relationships among the South American species are fairly unresolved. Results from previous studies have not been well resolved with traditional genetic markers, most likely due to its recent and rapid radiation. Species in this clade exhibit a variety mating systems and inflorescence types. For the first part of this research I used several traditional plastid markers, and 3 new low copy nuclear markers to better resolve the phylogeny and then explore mating system evolution within the clade. For the second part of this research I collected high-throughput “next-generation” genomic sequence data from reduced representation libraries obtained using genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) protocols, along with several phylogenetic methods, to try to further resolve the phylogeny of this group.


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