Sara Hoot
hootLapham Hall S399

Sara Hoot

Professor Emeritus


Postdoctoral Research Associate, Field Museum, Chicago, IL, 1991-94

PhD, University of Michigan, 1991

MA, Pennsylvania State University, 1985

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

My research as a plant systematist is similar to a good detective novel - I reconstruct evolutionary events that occurred in the past by working with the clues left on earth today. Because evolutionary relationships are often difficult to reconstruct, I use multiple data sets such as DNA sequences, morphology, and palynology (pollen morphology). The data are analyzed using sophisticated computer programs, resulting in evolutionary trees that can be used to address such questions as how particular plant characteristics evolved or clues as to
why a plant group has its current geographical distribution.

Ongoing research includes the study of evolutionary patterns in a large order of flowering plants, the Ranunculales. This group contains such well-known families as the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae), barberry family (Berberidaceae), poppy family (Papaveraceae), fumaria family (Fumariaceae) and moonseed family (Menispermaceae). We recently published a paper exploring the correlation of Menispermaceae fruit evolution with a molecular phylogeny of the family.

Other projects are concerned with evolutionary patterns and biogeography of the genus Anemone and closely related genera (family Ranunculaceae). Previous phylogenetic analyses based on molecular data and morphology are being supplemented with the addition of new species from around the world. These new additions will allow an assessment of current biogeographical hypotheses for the genus, including a possible past Gondwanan distribution for the Southern Hemisphere taxa.

Selected Publications

Wefferling, K.M., S.B. Hoot, and S.S. Neves. (2013) Phylogeny and fruit evolution in Menispermaceae. American Journal of Botany, 100:883-905.

Hoot, S.B., K.M. Meyer, and J.D. Manning. (2012) Phylogeny and reclassification of Anemone (Ranunculaceae), with an emphasis on austral species. Systematic Botany 37:139-152.

Meyer, K.M., S.B. Hoot, and M.T.K. Arroyo. (2010) Phylogenetic affinities of South American Anemone (Ranunculaceae), including the endemic segregate genera Barneoudia and Oreithales. International Journal of Plant Science , 171:323-331.

Hoot, S.B., H. Zautke, D.J. Harris, P.R. Crane, and S.S. Neves. (2009) Phylogenetic patterns in Menispermaceae based on multiple chloroplast sequence data. Systematic Botany, 34:44-56.

Hoot, S.B., J. Kramer, and M.T.K. Arroyo. (2008) Phylogenetic position of the South American dioecious genus, Hamadryas, and related Ranunculeae (Ranunculaceae). International Journal of Plant Sciences , 169:433-443.

Hoot, S.B., W.C. Taylor, and N.S. Napier. (2006) Phylogeny and biogeography of Isoëtes based on nuclear and chloroplast DNA sequence data. Systematic Botany, 31:449-460.