Autofluorescent Coleochaete

The Delwiche Lab
Molecular Systematics


  2103 Biosciences Research Building, University of Maryland Links

Also see Dr. Delwiche's Individual Research Page, and his CBMG Departmental Page

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Research Summary

We study early events in the evolution of plants, particularly the endosymbiotic origin of plastids (chloroplasts), and the origin of land plants (i.e., embryophytes) from green algae, using molecular systematic and genomic methods -- an approach that is now sometimes called "phylogenomics." We combine modern molecular methods, including gene and genome sequencing, computer analysis, and a variety of instrumental methods, with more classical methods and field work. By comparing the properties of living organisms we can gain insight into their common ancestors. In our work on the evolution of chloroplasts we have primarily concentrated on dinoflagellates, but have also worked on haptophytes and heterokonts. Our work on the origin of land plants primarily emphasizes the Charophyte Green Algae (also called Streptophytes).


Current Projects

GrAToL - Assemblind the Green Algal Tree of Life (2010-2015)

Dimensoins of Biodiversity.(2010-2015)

Dinoflagellate Tree of LifeAToL: An Integrated Approach to the Phylogeny of Dinoflagellates (2007-2012) - This project aims to develop a well-resolved phylogeny for dinoflagellates based largely on nuclear, protein-coding genes, and representing both photosynthetic and non-photosynthetic species. [NSF Assembling the Tree of Life program]


Recent and Interesting Publications

Timme, R.E., Bachvaroff, T.R., and Delwiche, C.F. 2012. Broad phylogenomic sampling and the sister lineage of land plants.  PLOS One:e29696. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0029696

Bachvaroff TR, Handy SM, Place AR, and Delwiche CF.  2011  Alveolate phylogeny inferred using concatenated ribosomal proteins: monophyly of the Apicomplexa and dinoflagellates.  J. Euk. Microbiol. 223-233. DOI: 10.1111/j.1550-7408.2011.00555.x

Coats, D.W., Bachvaroff, T.R., and Delwiche, C.F. 2012. Revision of the Family Duboscquellidae with description of Euduboscquella crenulata n. gen., n. sp. (Dinoflagellata, Syndinea), an intracellular parasite of the ciliate Favella panamensis Kofoid & Campbell. J. Euk. Micorbiol. 59, 1-11.  DOI: 10.1111/j.1550-7408.2011.00588.x

Miller, J. J., Delwiche, C.F., and Coats, D.W.  2011.  Ultrastructure of Amoebophrya sp. and its changes during the course of infection.  Protist 163:720-745 DOI: 10.1016/j.protis.2011.11.007

Delwiche, C.F. 2011. Plants (a primer). Current Biology 21:R417-R422 DOI:10.1016/j.cub.2011.04.021

Handy SM, Bachvaroff TR, Timme RE, Coats DW, Kim S, Delwiche CF.  2009. Phylogeny of four dinophysiacean genera (Dinophyceae, Dinophysiales) based on rDNA sequences from single cells and environmental samples. J. Phycol. 45(5): 1163-1174 doi: 10.1111/j.1529-8817.2009.00738.x

Hall, J. D., McCourt, R.M., and Delwiche, C.F.  2008. Patterns of cell division in the filamentous Desmidiaceae, close green algal relatives of land plants.  Amer. J. Bot. 95:643-654.  doi:10.3732/ajb.2007210

Lab Resources


Systematics in the green algal class Charophyceae (the basal streptophytes)

The charophycean algae

Evolution of plastids in dinoflagellates

The plastids of dinoflagellates



Funding for this laboratory has been provided by The Univeristy of Maryland, a Young Investigator Award in Molecular Studies of Evolution from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (97-4-3 ME), and the National Science Foundation (DEB-9978117, MCB-9984284, MCB-0523719, EF-0629624).

Autofluorescent Coleochaete

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