linda watson

Dr. Linda Watson


Dept. of Plant Biology, Ecology, and Evolution

220Q Henry Bellmon Research Center, Stillwater, OK 74078-3013, USA




PBIO 1404 Plant Biology 
Prerequisite: BIOL 1114. Morphology and anatomy of plants. Plant functioning: photosynthesis, water relations, translocation hormonal regulation, photoperiodism. Survey of the plant divisions, algae and fungi.

PBIO 3114 Plant Taxonomy, offered Spring semester of odd-numbered years.
This is a lab based course covering the theory and principles of plant classification, the morphological and molecular basis for taxonomic evidence, and evolutionary patterns of vascular plant families. Lab is focused on learning the major plant families of North America, identification of unknown species, and learning the local spring flora.

PBIO 3263 Plants and People
This course covers the role of plant use throughout civilization with a focus on foods and beverages, medicinal and pharmaceutical uses, and on shelter, fibers and pigments. The course examines how plants were domesticated and changed the course of world history.

PBIO 3273: Medical Botany, offered online-only during the summer semester.
This course covers medicinal plant use by traditional and indigenous cultures, secondary metabolites produced by plants that have physiological effects on humans, and modern medicines and pharmaceuticals derived from plant biochemical compounds.

PBIO4400/5110 Professional Development, offered every Fall semester.
This is a one-credit course for first- year graduate students and seniors. It focuses on pre- and post-graduation success including skills, knowledge, and responsibilities required for success in graduate school and the profession. It also includes information on career opportunities and job search strategies in the plant sciences. Topics include ethics, grantsmanship, and careers.


My research program is focused on using phylogenomics as a framework to address systematic and evolutionary questions in the Asteraceae, commonly known as the sunflower, daisy, or aster family. I am specifically interested in understanding evolutionary relationships within and among the clade comprised of Tribes Anthemideae, Astereae, Calenduleae, Gnaphalieae, and Senecioneae. This lineage has its origin in Africa before extensive migrations worldwide and diversification. I am particularly interested in understanding patterns of historical biogeography, species diversifications, and whole genome duplications in a paleoclimate context.


Recent Publications

For most recent publications list, see Google Scholar

Katy E. Jones, Tomáš Fér, Roswitha E. Schmickl, Rebecca B. Dikow, Vicki A. Funk, Sonia Herrando‐Moraira, Paul R. Johnston, Norbert Kilian, Carolina M. Siniscalchi, Alfonso Susanna, Marek Slovák, Ramhari Thapa, Linda E. Watson, Jennifer R. Mandel. 2019. An empirical assessment of a single family‐wide hybrid capture locus set at multiple evolutionary timescales in Asteraceae. Applications in Plant Sciences. 10(7)

Mandel, Jennifer R., Rebecca B. Dikow, Carolina M. Siniscalchia, Ramhari Thapaa, Linda E. Watson, and Vicki A. Funk. 2019.  A fully resolved backbone phylogeny reveals numerous and explosive diversifications throughout the history of Asteraceae.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  doi:10.1073/pnas.1903871116

Susannah B.J. and Watson, Linda.  2018 (invited special issue, Phylogenetic Exploration of Medicinal Plants Diversity).  Comparing medicinal uses of Cochlospermaceae throughout its range with insights from molecular phylogenetics.  Diversity.  10(4), 123;

Mandel, Jennifer, et al. [14 authors incl. L. Watson; invited]. 2017. The Compositae Tree of Life in the age of phylogenomics. Journal of Systematics and Evolution. 55: 405-410.

Fulton, Susannah B.J. and Watson, Linda. 2017. Phylogenetic systematics of Cochlospermaceae (Malvales) based on molecular and morphological evidence. Systematic Botany 42: 271-282.

RJ Tyrl, SC Barber, P Buck, WJ Elisens, JR Estes, P Folley, LK Magrath, LM Constance, AK Ryburn, BA Smith, CES Taylor, RA Thompson, JB Walker, LE Watson. 2015. Flora of Oklahoma: Keys and Descriptions. Flora Oklahoma Incorportated.

Harris, AJ, PapeÅŸ, Monica, Gao, Yundong, Watson, Linda. 2014. Estimating paleoenvironments using ecological niche models of nearest living relatives: A case study of Eocene Aesculus L. Journal of Systematics and Evolution 52: 16-34.

Pelser, Pieter, Richard Abbott, Hans Comes, Joseph Milton, Michael Moeller, Mark Loosely, Glynis Cron, Julie Barcelona, Aaron Kennedy, Linda Watson, Ruben Barone, Fabian Hernández, and Joachim Kadereit. 2012. The genetic ghost of an invasion past: Ancient long-distance dispersal, colonization, and extinction revealed by historical hybridization in Senecio. Molecular Ecology 21: 369-387.

MA Link-Pérez, LE Watson, RJ Hickey. Redefinition of Adiantopsis Fée (Pteridaceae): systematics, diversification, and biogeography. Taxon 60 (5), 1255-1268.

Henson, Brian J., Linda Hartmann, Susan R. Barnum, and Linda E. Watson. 2011. Evolution and variation of the nifD and hupL elements in the heterocystous cyanobacteria. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 61: 2938-2949.

Sprunt, Susan V., Harald Schneider, Linda E. Watson, Stephen J. Russell, Adriana Navarro-Gomez, and R. James Hickey. 2011. Exploring the molecular phylogeny and biogeography of Pleopeltis polypodioides (Polypodiaceae, Polypodiales) inferred from plastid DNA sequences. Systematic Botany 36: 862-869.

Link-Perez, Melanie, Linda E. Watson, and R. James Hickey. 2011. Toward a redefinition of Adiantopsis Fée (Pteridaceae): Systematics, diversification, and biogeography. Taxon 60: 1255-1268.

Kennedy, Aaron H., Lee Taylor, and Linda E. Watson. 2011. Mycorrhizal specificity in the fully mycoheterotrophic Hexalectris Raf. (Orchidaceae: Epidendroideae). Molecular Ecology 20: 1303-1316.

Pelser, Pieter B., Eric J. Tepe, Aaron H. Kennedy, and Linda E. Watson. 2010. The fate of Robinsonia (Senecioneae; Asteraceae): sunk in Senecio, but still monophyletic? Phytotaxa 4: 31-46.

Pelser, Pieter B., Aaron H. Kennedy, Eric J. Tepe, Jacob B. Shidler, Bertil Nordenstam, Joachim W. Kadereit, and Linda E. Watson. 2010. Patterns and causes of incongruence between plastid and nuclear in the Senecioneae (Asteraceae) phylogenies. American Journal of Botany 97: 876-873.

Kennedy, Aaron, and Linda E. Watson. 2010. Species delimitations and phylogenetic relationships in the myco-heterotrophic genus, HexalectrisRaf. (Orchidaceae: Epidendroideae). Systematic Botany 2: 64-78.