Nyree Zerega, Ph.D.
Plant Biology and Conservation
TEACHING AND RESEARCH AFFILIATIONS
My research integrates molecular, morphological, and phylogenetic tools with fieldwork to investigate the systematics, evolution, biogeography, and reproductive ecology of plants. I am also interested in the origins, diversity, domestication, and conservation of cultivated species and their wild relatives. My work focuses primarily on members of the Moraceae (mulberry) family (~1100 species in 37 genera), especially the genus Artocarpus. The family displays an amazing array of diversity in inflorescence structures, pollination syndromes, breeding systems, floral characters, and growth forms. This diversity makes it an excellent group for addressing many intriguing evolutionary questions. Additionally, it includes several important food and fiber sources such as breadfruit, jackfruit, figs, and paper mulberry.
Misiewicz, T. and N.J.C. Zerega. 2012. Phylogeny, Biogeography and Character Evolution of Dorstenia (Moraceae). Edinburgh Journal of Botany (in press).
Witherup, C, D. Ragone, T. Wiesner-Hanks, B. Irish, B. Scheffler, S. Simpson, F. Zee, M. I. Zuberi, N.J.C. Zerega. In review. Development of microsatellite loci in Artocarpus altilis (Moraceae) and cross-amplification in congeneric species. Applications in Plant Science.
Zerega, N.J.C. In press. Origins and Development of Breadfruit, in C. Smith (ed.). Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology: xx-xx. New York: Springer.
Zerega, N.J.C., M.N. Nur Supardi, and T.J. Motley. 2010. Phylogeny and recircumscription of Artocarpeae (Moraceae) with a focus on Artocarpus. Systematic Botany 35 (4): 766 - 783.
Khan, R., N.J.C. Zerega, S. Hossain, and M.I. Zuberi. 2010. Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam.) Diversity in Bangladesh: Land Use and Artificial Selection. Economic Botany 64(2): 124-136.
RØnsted, N., G.D. Weiblen, W.L. Clement, N.J.C. Zerega, and V. Savolainen. 2008. Reconstructing the phylogeny of figs (Ficus, Moraceae) to reveal the history of the fig pollination mutualism. Symbiosis 45:45-56.
Zerega, N.J.C., D. Ragone, and T.J. Motley. 2006. Genetic diversity and origins of domesticated breadfruit. In Darwin’s Harvest: New Approaches to the Origins, Evolution, and Conservation of Crops, ed. T.J. Motley, N.J.C. Zerega, and H.B. Cross. Columbia University Press, New York.
Motley, T.J., N.J.C. Zerega, and H.B. Cross, ed. 2006. Darwin’s Harvest: New Approaches to the Origins, Evolution, and Conservation of Crops. New York: Columbia University Press.
Zerega, N.J.C., W.L. Clement, S.L. Datwyler, and G.D. Weiblen. 2005. Biogeography and divergence times in the mulberry family (Moraceae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 37:402-416.
Zerega, N.J.C., D. Ragone, and T.J. Motley. 2005. Systematics and species limits of breadfruit (Artocarpus, Moraceae). Systematic Botany 30(3):603-615.
Zerega, N.J.C., L.A. Mound, and G.D. Weiblen. 2004. Pollination in the New Guinea endemic Antiaropsis decipiens (Moraceae) is mediated by a new species of thrips, Thrips antiaropsidis sp. nov. (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). International Journal of Plant Sciences 165(6):1,017-1,026.
Zerega, N.J.C., D. Ragone, and T.J. Motley. 2004. Complex origins of breadfruit: Implications for human migrations in Oceania. American Journal of Botany 91(5):760-766.
Zerega, N.J.C. 2003. The Breadfruit Trail. Natural History 112(10):46-51.
Zerega, N.J.C., S. Mori, C. Lindqvist, Q. Zheng, and T.J. Motley. 2002. Using amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLP) to identify black cohosh (Actaea racemosa). Economic Botany 56(2):154-164.
Bultman, T.L. and N.J. Conard. 1998. Effects of endophytic fungus, nutrient level, and plant damage on performance of Fall Armyworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Environmental Entomology 27(3):631-635.
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Lindsay Darling (MS, expected graduation 2013)
Elliot Gardner (PhD, expected graduation 2017)
Theresa Melhem (MS, expected graduation 2014)
Paya Sharaf (undergraduate, expected graduation 2014)
Tyr Wiesner-Hanks (undergraduate, expected graduation 2013)
Diane Huebner (MS 2009)
Doctoral student at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Tracy Misiewicz (MS 2009)
Doctoral student at the University of California, Berkeley
Colby Witherup (MS 2012), current position:
Doctoral student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst
The genus Artocarpus is the third largest genus in the Moraceae family. It is distributed from Southeast Asia east into Oceania and includes several economically important plants. These pages are devoted to the systematics, evolution, and revisionary studies of the genus and on the origins and diversity of the jackfruit and breadfruit.
Nyree Zerega’s Research Page
This page includes more information about recent and ongoing research projects and lab members in the Zerega lab.
Graduate Program in Plant Biology and Conservation
This program is a collaboration between Northwestern University and the Chicago Botanic Garden. The graduate program aims to foster an academic and research environment that allows students to gain experience, skills, and knowledge to become scholars, leaders, and practitioners in plant biology and conservation.