Plant reproductive diversity across lineages and environments

Plant evolution and systematics

Can we predict how plants will adapt and diversify over evolutionary time scales? To address this question, my research leverages extant plant diversity as the outcomes of "evolutionary experiments". By reconstructing macroevolutionary trajectories of trait and lineage diversification using phylogenetic comparative methods, we can test competing hypotheses in terms of the generating ecological and evolutionary processes. I thus work at the interface of evolutionary ecology and macroevolution.
I am particularly interested in understanding the evolution of plant reproductive traits and adaptation to extreme environments.  I take a whole-plant approach, addressing the evolution of flowers and inflorescences in the context of plant architecture, function, and resource allocation. I work on multiple evolutionary scales, from populations (e.g., Primula halleri) to genera (e.g., Primula, Lewisia, Dracula, Saxifraga) and families (e.g., Montiaceae, Cactaceae, Primulaceae, Connaraceae), and emphasize evolution in- and out of extreme environments (e.g. alpine and arid biomes). I also have an interest in herbarium taxonomy and the history of botany.

Recent Publications

• Speciation through chromosomal fusion and fission in Lepidoptera
de Vos, Jurriaan M.; Augustijnen, Hannah; Baetscher, Livio; Lucek, Kay
Philosophical Transactions Of The Royal Society B-biological Sciences  DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2019.0539  AUG 31 2020

• Shift in flowering time allows diploid and autotetraploid Anacamptis pyramidalis (Orchidaceae) to coexist by reducing competition for pollinators
Pegoraro, Luca; De Vos, Jurriaan M.; Cozzolino, Salvatore; Scopece, Giovanni
Botanical Journal Of The Linnean Society,  DOI: 10.1093/botlinnean/boz043

• Phylogeny, evolution, and biogeographic history of Calandrinia (Montiaceae)
Hancock, Lillian P.; Obbens, Frank; Moore, Abigail J.; et al.
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF BOTANY 105(6): 1021-1034  10.1002/ajb2.1110 JUN 2018

• Targeted Enrichment of Large Gene Families for Phylogenetic Inference: Phylogeny and Molecular Evolution of Photosynthesis Genes in the Portullugo Clade (Caryophyllales)
Moore, Abigail J.; de Vos, Jurriaan M.; Hancock, Lillian P.; et al.
SYSTEMATIC BIOLOGY 67(3): 367-383  10.1093/sysbio/syx078 MAY 2018

• Molecular evolution of key metabolic genes during transitions to C-4 and CAM photosynthesis
Goolsby, Eric W.; Moore, Abigail J.; Hancock, Lillian P.; et al.
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF BOTANY  105(3): 602-613  10.1002/ajb2.1051 MAR 2018 

• Taxonomy based on science is necessary for global conservation
Thomson, Scott A.; Pyle, Richard L.; Ahyong, Shane T.; et al.
PLOS BIOLOGY 16 (3) Article Number: e2005075  10.1371/journal.pbio.2005075  MAR 2018

• Mixed mating in homostylous species: genetic and experimental evidence from an alpine plant with variable herkogamy, Primula halleri
de Vos, Jurriaan M; Keller, Barbara; Zhang, Li-Rui; Nowak, Michael D; Conti, Elena
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PLANT SCIENCES 179(2): 87-99 10.1086/695527  FEB 2018

• Multiple Geographical Origins of Environmental Sex Determination enhanced the diversification of Darwin's Favourite Orchids
Perez-Escobar, OA; Chomicki, G; Condamine, FL; de Vos, JM; Martins, AC; Smidt, EC; Klitgard, B; Gerlach, G; Heinrichs, J
SCIENTIFIC REPORTS 7, Article Number: 12878 DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-12300-y OCT 10 2017

Jurriaan de Vos Uni Basel

Dr. Jurriaan M. de Vos

University of Basel
Dept of Environmental Sciences
4056 Basel

Tel: +41 (0)61 207 5846

Research topics

  • Evolution of plant morphology during ecological transitions
  • Plant reproductive systems
  • Whole-plant aspects of reproduction
  • Phylogeny inference and systematics
  • Pollination biology
  • Evolutionary dynamics of lineage and trait diversification


  • Ecology and evolution of alpine plants
  • Biome shifts
  • Speciation
  • Functional morphology
  • Rare plants and conservation
  • Evolutionary dynamics of gene families