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Carolyn J. Ferguson
Associate Professor of Biology, KSU Herbarium Curator

Undergraduate Research
Phlox phylogeny and taxonomy
Prospective students
Associated programs

Clair Nash collecting at Konza Prairie

Ruth Gibson observing pollinators on Lespedeza (photo T. Woods)

Aaron Floden examining a new species of the genus Dirca


There are many opportunities for undergraduate research in Plant Systematics (e.g., through independent studies for course credit, through the NSF Undergraduate Research Mentoring (URM) program, and through summer programs such as the NSF Research Experience for Undergraduate [REU] program, the KSU Graduate School Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program [SUROP], and the McNair Scholars program). Students conduct research in the lab, Herbarium and/or field, and some projects are in collaboration with additional faculty and research groups. Contact Dr. Ferguson for more information!

Note: Students listed below conducted research projects; many additional students have participated in herbarium curatorial and digitization work (see the Herbarium webpages)


Current and former students
(single years listed, although some projects spanned more than one calendar year):


  • Bonnie Bernard, Ecogen REU program (from Centennary College; collaborative with Mark Mayfield): Cytotypic and morphometric variation in Phlox hoodii in the Black Hills
  • Brandy Carter, McNair program: Techniques in management of the KSU Herbarium, a research natural history collection
  • Jordan McGuinn: Inferring ploidy levels in Phlox using flow cytometry
  • Mercedes Santiago: Applying molecular systematics techniques in Phlox


  • Rachel Pain, Ecogen REU program (from St. Olaf College; collaborative with Mark Mayfield): Flow cytometry, morphology and genetics of Phlox hoodii and P. andicola on the high plains


  • Theresa Melhem: Phlox flow cytometry and pollen size variation
  • Lindsey Worcester, McNair program and URM program: Ploidy level variation in Phlox pilosa


  • Bethany Wright: DNA sequencing, testing cpDNA regions in Phlox


  • Maureen Ty: Population genetics of Phlox pilosa ssp. deamii
  • Timothy Burrell: Investigation of botanical collections communities via the KSU Herbarium database


  • Aaron Floden (collaborative with Mark Mayfield): Herbarium and laboratory research relating to the discovery of a new species of the genus Dirca
  • Clairisse Nash, Konza LTER REU program (from Northern Arizona University-Yuma): Konza Prairie floristics
  • Leslie Siebert: Konza Prairie floristics


  • Mary Andreopoulos: Phlox phylogenetics
  • Thelma Green, SUROP program: Molecular systematics of southwestern Phlox


  • Matthew Fields: Phlox phylogenetics
  • Kristen Ford: Phlox phylogenetics
  • Ruth Gibson: Pollination biology of Lespedeza species in the Flint Hills
  • Joseph Lyons: Phlox phylogenetics


  • Audrey Atencio: Phylogenetics of Phlox and Euphorbia
  • Jeff Brown: Patterns of collecting in Great Plains herbaria
  • John Cauthorn: Floral morphology of Phlox divaricata over developmental time
  • Therese Morford: Phylogenetics of Phlox
  • Laura Sellens, LTER REU program: Pollination studies of native and non-native plants on Konza Prairie


  • Alexandria Dunn, Systematics REU program: Morphological variation in the Phlox longifolia Nutt. complex
  • Sarah Haller, LTER REU program: Pollination biology studies in Lespedeza


  • Corey O’Brien (collaborative with Mark Mayfield): Collections-based study of Euphorbiaceae of Paraguay
  • Danielle Froelich: Molecular systematics of western Phlox


  • Mackenzie Ostmeyer: Molecular systematics of western Phlox


  • Paul Carman: Molecular systematics of western Phlox


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