Working with colleagues at Yale University, the University of Arkansas, and Louisiana State University, we developed a well-sampled, time-calibrated molecular phylogeny for conifers that includes around around 90% of extant conifer species and was dated with 26 fossil calibration points. We have used this work to provide a phylogenetic framework for a wide variety of projects, including exploring correlated patterns of character evolution in relation to functional morphology, how breeding systems in conifers may influence the evolution of dispersal traits, how phylogeny influences conifer biogeography, and even testing for phylogenetic signal in conifer biochemistry and isotopic fractionation.
Leslie, A.B., Beaulieu, J.M., Holman, G., Campbell, C.S., Mei, W., Raubeson, L.R., Mathews, S. 2018. An overview of extant conifer evolution from the perspective of the fossil record. American Journal of Botany 105: 1-14.
Diefendorf, A.F., Leslie, A.B., Wing, S.L. 2015. Leaf wax composition and carbon isotopes vary among major conifer groups. Geochemica et Cosmochemica Acta 170: 145-156.
Leslie, A.B., Beaulieu, J.M., Crane, P.R., Knopf, P., and Donoghue, M.J. 2015. Trait integration and macroevolutionary patterns in the pollination biology of conifers.
Evolution 69: 1573-1583.
Leslie, A.B., Beaulieu, J.M., Crane, P.R., and Donoghue, M.J. 2013. Explaining the distribution of breeding and dispersal syndromes in conifers. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 280: 20131812.
Leslie, A.B., Beaulieu, J.M., Rai, H.S., Crane, P.R., Donoghue, M.J., and Mathews, S. 2012. Hemisphere-scale differences in conifer evolutionary dynamics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 109: 1617-1622.