A number of our ongoing studies concern the evolution of fruit characters within angiosperms. One project, with former postdoc Eugenia Lo, concerns a newly discovered latitudinal pattern in the distribution of the colors of fleshy, bird-dispersed fruits. Another project, with former graduate student Jeremy Beaulieu, has focused on the evolution of fruit types within the large campanulid clade. These analyses reveal trends in the direction of evolution, and suggest correlations between fruit type (e.g., the dry, single-seeded, indehiscent achene) and elevated diversification rates. With former graduate student Sara Carlson, we are analyzing the evolution of epicalyx characteristics in Dipsacales (especially Lomelosia) in relation to life history, dispersal, biogeography, and various climate variables.
Beaulieu, J. M. and M. J. Donoghue. 2013. Fruit evolution and diversification in campanulid angiosperms. Evolution 67(11):3132-3144.
Carlson, S. E., V. Mayer, and M. J. Donoghue. 2009. Phylogenetic relationships, taxonomy, and morphological evolution in Dipsacaceae (Dipsacales) inferred by DNA sequence data. Taxon 58: 1075-1091.
Carlson, S. E., M. E. K. Evans, V. Mayer, and M. J. Donoghue. The influence of climate on dispersal and life history evolution in Lomelosia (Dipsacaceae). The American Naturalist (in review).
Stournaras, K. E., E. Lo, K. Böhning-Gaese, E. Cazetta, D. M. Dehling, M. Schleuning, M. Caswell Stoddard, M. J. Donoghue, R. O. Prum and H. M. Schaefer. 2013. How colorful are fruits? Limited color diversity in fleshy fruits on local and global scales. New Phytologist 198: 617-629.