‌Barbara Whitlock


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232 Cox Science Center
1301 Memorial Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33124
E-mail: b.whitlock@miami.edu
Office: (305) 284-5412
Fax: (305) 284-3039

Lab website


  • Associate Professor of Biology, University of Miami 2009-current
  • Assistant Professor of Biology, University of Miami 2003-2009
  • Facultry Associate, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens 2003-current
  • Darwin Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2000-2002.
  • Ph.D., Harvard University, 2000, Biology.
  • M.S., University of Missouri, St. Louis, 1994, Biology.
  • B.S., University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1990, Botany and French.


  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Conservation and Restoration Biology
  • Tropical Biology


The primary goal of my research is to understand the origins of plant diversity. I use phylogenetic analyses of DNA sequence data in combination with information from morphology, anatomy, ecology, and genetics to understand the timing and direction of changes in floral and vegetative traits, geographic distribution, and diversification rates. Current projects in my lab focus on three groups of flowering plants: chocolate and its relatives in the genus Theobroma; the Lasiopetaleae, a spectacular radiation of shrubs and trees in Australia that are closely related to Theobroma; and the fringed gentians, lovely wildflowers in the genus Gentianopsis. My research has always had a strong field component. I have studied plants in Cameroon, Australia, many locations in South and Central America, and most recently in the western US and Florida.


I encourage students at all levels to explore and gain an appreciation of the diversity of life and the evolutionary processes underlying it. At UM, I have taught Evolution and Biodiversity (Bil 160 and 382), Evolution (Bil 520), and Systematics (Bil 521).


  • Borrone, J.W., A.W. Meerow, D.N. Kuhn, B.A. Whitlock, and R.J. Schnell. 2007. The potential of the WRKY gene family for phylogenetic reconstruction: an example from the Malvaceae. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 44: 1147-1154.
  • Wilkins, C. F. L. M. Copeland, and B. A. Whitlock. 2007. Two new species of Commersonia (Malvaceae s.I.) from south-eastern Australia. Telopea 12:61-71.
  • Qiu, Y.-L., O. Dombrovska, J. Lee, L. Li, B. A. Whitlock, F. Bernasconi-Quadroni, J. S. Rest, C. C. Davis, T. Borsch, K. W. Hilu, S. Renner, D. E. Soltis, P. S. Soltis, M. J. Zanis, J. Cannone, R. Gutell, M. Powell, V. Savolainen, L. W. Chatrou, M. W. Chase. 2005. Phylogenetic analyses of basal angiosperms based on nine plastid, mitochondrial and nuclear genes. International Journal of Plant Sciences 166: 815-842.
  • Wilkins, C. F., and B. A. Whitlock. 2005. A new species of Commersonia (Malvaceae s.l.) from the Eyre Peninsula, South Australia. Muelleria 22: 87-92.
  • Baum, D. A., S. D. Smith, A. Yen. W. S. Alverson, R. Nyffeler, B. A. Whitlock, R. L. Oldham. 2004. Phylogenetic relationships of Malvatheca (Bombacoideae and Malvoideae; Malvaceae sensu lato) as inferred from plastid DNA sequences. American Journal of Botany 91: 1863-1871.
  • Whitlock, B. A., J. Silver, P. A. Groff, and J. Prince. Accepted pending revision. Comparative seedcoat morphology of Gentianopsis. Rhodora.