- Adjunct Professor, Northwestern University
- Lecturer, Committee on Evolutionary Biology, University of Chicago
- Research Associate, The Field Museum
- Past President, American Society of Plant Taxonomists
- Editor in Chief, International Journal of Plant Sciences
My research is directed at understanding the evolutionary history of flowering plants and is focused in two broad areas: elucidating the early evolutionary history of the flowering plants, and systematics of the legume family. Graduate students working with me have the opportunity to participate in these projects or focus on other research topics. In my research, I am working to understand present and historical patterns of diversity and details of morphological evolution using both living and fossil plants. Paleontological data provides unique insights into phylogeny, biogeography, and taxonomic and structural diversity that are not available in studies that include only living organisms.
Systematics of the Leguminosae
As the third largest family of flowering plants, the Leguminosae is extremely diverse taxonomically, biologically, and in vegetative and reproductive morphology and anatomy. One of my primary areas of research is working to understand the evolutionary history of this large and important family. This research is focused on the critically important subfamily Caesalpinioideae. This project involves several international collaborators, including A. Bruneau (Montreal) and G. Lewis (Kew).
The goal of this research is to produce a comprehensive phylogeny for caesalpinioid legumes based on combined analyses of morphological and molecular data. This phylogeny will serve as the basis for a new classification system and the framework to explore patterns of morphological and molecular evolution. Analyses of morphological and molecular data demonstrate that several caesalpinioid lineages have more basal positions in the family than either the Mimosoideae or Papilionoideae, and that some caesalpinioid lineages are more closely related to Mimosoideae or Papilionoideae than they are to other caesalpinioids. Thus, a phylogenetic classification of the family would not recognize the caesalpinioids as a single subfamily. How many distinct lineages are there in the Caesalpinioideae, at what level should they be recognized relative to mimosoids and papilionoids, and what are the relationships among “caesalpinioid” legume genera? These questions form the core of this research.
Evolutionary History of Early Angiosperms
The angiosperms are the largest group of land plants, yet their origin and early diversification have long been poorly understood. My research seeks to document and understand the early diversification of flowering plants during the Cretaceous, which was the period of earth history when angiosperms became abundant and diverse and dominated nearly all terrestrial ecosystems. My research involves studies of floral evolution and angiosperm wood anatomy through the Cretaceous. Materials for these studies, which include fossil flowers, fruits, and seeds that have been preserved as charcoal or as mummified remains, are derived from numerous fossil localities in North America and Europe. In addition to flowering plants, these fossil sites yield diverse assemblages of fossil conifers, ferns, and bryophytes that are in need of detailed study.
We are currently working on fossil floras from the Early Cretaceous of Mongolia, in a project that is funded by the National Science Foundation. We went to Mongolia to look for early angiosperm fossils from Central Asia, a region that has seen little attention for Cretaceous paleobotany. So far we have not found any angiosperms, but we have found an amazing diversity of new fossil conifers, other gymnosperm groups, ferns, bryophytes, and some other od things. Sometimes science works out that way!
Herrera, F., G. Shi, A.B. Leslie, P. Knopf, N. Ichinnorov, M. Takahashi, P.R. Crane, and P. S. Herendeen. 2015. A new voltzian seed cone from the Early Cretaceous of Mongolia and its implications for the evolution of ancient conifers. Int. J. Plant Sci. 176(8):000–000.
Shi, G., A. B. Leslie, P. S. Herendeen, N. Ichinnorov, M. Takahashi, P. Knopf, and P. R. Crane. 2014. Whole-plant reconstruction and phylogenetic relationship of Elatides zhoui sp. nov. (Cupressaceae) from the Early Cretaceous of Mongolia. International Journal of Plant Sciences 175: 911-930.
Takahashi, M. P. S. Herendeen, X. Xiao, and P. R. Crane. 2014. Lauraceous Fossil Flowers from the Kamikitaba Assemblage (Coniacian, Late Cretaceous) of Northeastern Japan. Systematic Botany 39: 715-724.
Leslie, A.B., I. Glasspool, P.S. Herendeen, N. Ichinnorov, P. Knopf, M.Takahashi, and P.R. Crane. 2013. Pinaceae-like reproductive morphology in Schizolepidopsis canicularis sp. nov. from the Early Cretaceous (Aptian-Albian) of Mongolia. American Journal of Botany 100: 2426–2436.
The Legume Phylogeny Working Group. 2013. Towards a new classification system for legumes: progress report from the 6th International Legume Conference. South African Journal of Botany. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sajb.2013.07.022
Lupia, R., P. S. Herendeen, and J. A. Keller. 2002. A new fossil flower and associated coprolites: evidence for angiosperm-insect interactions in the Santonian (Late Cretaceous) of Georgia, USA. International Journal of Plant Sciences 163:675-686.
The Legume Phylogeny Working Group. 2013. Legume phylogeny and classification in the 21st century: progress, prospects and lessons. Taxon 62: 217-248.
Falcon-Lang, H.J., E. Wheeler, P. Baas, and P.S. Herendeen. 2012. A diverse charcoalified assemblage of Cretaceous (Santonian) angiosperm woods from Upatoi Creek, Georgia, USA. Part 1: Wood types with scalariform perforation plates. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 184: 49-73.
Pan, A. D., E. D. Currano, B. F. Jacobs, M. Feseha, N. Tabor, and P. S. Herendeen. 2012. Fossil Newtonia (Fabaceae: Mimoseae) seeds from the early Miocene (22 – 21 Ma) Mush Valley in Ethiopia. International Journal of Plant Sciences 173: 290-296.
Daly, M., P. S. Herendeen, R. P. Guralnick, M. W. Westneat, and L. McDade. 2012. Systematics Agenda 2020: The Mission Evolves. Systematic Biology 61: 549-552. doi:10.1093/sysbio/sys044
Schönenberger, J., M. von Balthazar, M. Takahashi, X. Xiao, P. R. Crane and P. S. Herendeen. 2012. Glandulocalyx upatoiensis a fossil flower of Ericales (Actinidiaceae/Clethraceae) from the Late Cretaceous (Santonian) of Georgia, USA. Annals of Botany 109: 921-936.
Miller, J. S., V. A. Funk, W. L. Wagner, F. Barrie, P. C. Hoch, and P. S. Herendeen. 2011. Outcomes of the 2011 Botanical Nomenclature Section at the XVIII International Botanical Congress. PhytoKeys 5: 1-3. doi: 10.3897/phytokeys.5.1850
McDade, L.A., D. R. Maddison, R. Guralnick, H.A. Piwowar, M.L. Jameson, K.M. Helgen, P.S. Herendeen, A.Hill, and M.L. Vis. 2011. Biology needs a modern assessment system for professional productivity. BioScience 61: 619-625.
Pan, A. D., B. F. Jacobs, and P. S. Herendeen. 2010. Detarieae sensu lato (Leguminosae) from the Late Oligocene (28 – 27) Ma Guang River flora of northwestern Ethiopia. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 163:44-54.
Redden, K. M., P. S. Herendeen, K. J. Wurdack, and A. Bruneau. 2010. Morphological and molecular phylogenetic analysis of the Brownea Clade (Detarieae, Caesalpinioideae) from northeastern South America. Systematic Botany 35:524-533.
Fougère-Danezan, M., P. S. Herendeen, S. Maumont, and A. Bruneau. 2009. Morphological evolution in the variable resin-producing Detarieae (Fabaceae): do morphological characters retain a phylogenetic signal? Annals of Botany doi:10.1093/aob/mcp280.
Leslie, A. B., P. S. Herendeen and P. R. Crane. 2009. Upatoia bernardii gen et sp nov., an araucarian pollen cone with in situ pollen from the Late Cretaceous (Santonian) of Georgia, USA. Grana 48:128-135.
Crane, P. R. and P. S. Herendeen. 2009. Bennettitales from the Grisethorpe Bed (Middle Jurassic), at Cayton Bay, Yorkshire, U.K. American Journal of Botany 96:284-295.
Takahashi, M., E. M. Friis, P. S. Herendeen, and P. R. Crane. 2008. Fossil flowers of Fagales from the Kamikitaba locality (Early Coniacian); Late Cretaceous of northwestern Japan. International Journal of Plant Sciences 169:899-907.
Bruneau, A., M. Mercure, G. P. Lewis, and P. S. Herendeen. 2008. Phylogenetic patterns and diversification in caesalpinioid legumes. Botany 86:697-718.
Redden, K. M. and P. S. Herendeen. 2006. Morphology and phylogenetic relationships of Paloue and related genera in the Brownea clade (Detarieae, Caesalpinioideae). International Journal of Plant Sciences 167:1229-1246.
Kaiser, T. M., J. Ansorge, G. Arratia, V. Bullwinkel, G. Gunnell, P. S. Herendeen, B. Jacobs, J. Mingram, C. Msuya, A. Musolf, R. Naumann, E. Schulz, and V. Wilde. 2006. The maar lake of Mahenge (Tanzania) – unique evidence of Eocene terrestrial environments in sub-Sahara Africa. Zeitschrift der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Geowissenschaften 157(3):99-120.
Clark, J. L., P. S. Herendeen, L. E. Skog, and E. A. Zimmer. 2006. Phylogenetic relationships and generic boundaries in the Episcieae (Gesneriaceae) inferred from nuclear, chloroplast, and morphological data. Taxon 55:313-336.
Lavin, M., P. S. Herendeen, and M. F. Wojciechowski. 2005. Evolutionary rates analysis of Leguminosae implicates a rapid diversification of lineages during the Tertiary. Systematic Biology 54:575-594.