I am currently studying the evolutionary history and species relationships within the genus Packera (Asteraceae), with a focus on phylogenomics. I hope that this research will address broader questions that are applicable to other fields of biology, such as:

  1. What role does polyploidy play in speciation events?

  2. Are there common causes of discordance in phylogenies?

  3. What morphological traits or environmental conditions lead to diversification?

Packera is a good model system to address these questions given how some Packera species carry certain, distinguishable traits while others do not, some species are widespread whereas others are endemic to restricted areas, and polyploidy, hybridization, and introgression are common within the genus.


I am also involved in conservation genetic work of the endangered sunflower species, Helianthus verticillatus, also known as the whorled sunflower!

Erika R. Moore

PhD candidate; Mandel Lab

University of Memphis, Tennessee, USA

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phylogenomics • biogeography • plant genetics • climate change • evolution • bioinformatics • character trait evolution • niche differentiation • conservation genetics




“Compositae in a Crate,” is an NSF funded self-guided outreach activity aimed at the 4th and 5th school grades. This crate of activities will contain three different modules focusing in different aspects of the sunflower family: biodiversity, morphology and society.


I am looking at the conservation genetics of this endangered sunflower species that is endemic to the southeastern United States.  Find more information about this work here.

I am trying to understand the evolutionary history and speciation events within the genus Packera. This work involves working in phylogenomics, biogeography, and character trait evolution. Find more information about my work here.


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University of Memphis

3700 Walker Ave., Memphis, TN 38152; Ellington Hall, Room 322