Plant Systematics and Biodiversity

Evolution and Diversification of Oaks

Content Detail

We are investigating the evolutionary and ecological history of the world’s more than 400 oak species (Quercus, Fagaceae). Working with collaborators in Mexico, Europe, China, and the United States, we have assembled a DNA database for more than half of the recognized oak species using a genomic method that samples thousands of genes for each oak that is sampled. Combining these molecular data with data on climate, soils, plant traits, and community compositions allows us to untangle the complicated history of population divergence, hybridization, adaptation, and convergence that shapes oak biodiversity.

For more information:

The Morton Arboretum: Plant Systematics

Oaks of the Americas


Michael Avishai, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Botanical Garden, Israel

Min Deng, Shanghai Chenshan Plant Science Research Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

Thomas Denk, Swedish Museum of Natural History

Socorro Gonzalez, CIIDIR, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Mexico

Guido W. Grimm, Independent

Matthew Kaproth, Mankato State University, Minnesota

John D. McVay, Duke University, North Carolina

Hernando Rodríguez Correa, Escuela Nacional de Estudios Superiores Unidad Morelia, UNAM, Mexico

Marco C. Simeone, Università degli Studi della Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy

Victoria Sork, University of California - Los Angeles

Funding Sources

Fulbright Scholar Program

Center for Tree Science, The Morton Arboretum


We rely on you to help the conservation of trees and plants from around the world.

Make a gift