Dr. Carlsward’s research interests incorporate techniques of plant anatomy and
molecular phylogenetics to study plant evolution. The primary goal of her research is to
generate reliable hypotheses of evolution and then use these phylogenies as a foundation
for studying character evolution of plant structure. Most of Dr. Carlsward’s research
focuses on the orchid family (Orchidaceae). During her graduate research career, she
worked extensively with the economically important Vanda tribe, which includes species
like the ghost orchid (Dendrophylax lindenii). Currently, she is working on collaborative
projects examining the vegetative and floral anatomy of Aeridinae, Dichaea, Lockhartia,
Oncidiinae, Scaphosepalum, and Sobralieae. 

In addition to her work with orchids, Dr. Carlsward has experience with many other
flowering plant families. During her post-doctoral work with the Angiosperm Tree of Life
Project, she examined pollen and androecium morphology of Saxifragales, Caryophyllales,
Ericales, Malpighiales, Campanulids, and several other large flowering plant groups.
Currently, she is collaborating with researchers at the University of Florida on
publishing these findings. With the help of students at EIU, Dr. Carlsward is also
involved in examining the structural evolution of Polygalaceae and Kosteletzkya

Students interested in gaining hands-on experience with plant structure and evolutionary
questions should contact Dr. Carlsward about current research opportunities. 



Angiosperm Phylogeny: 17 Genes, 640 Taxa (with Douglas E. Soltis, Steven A. Smith, Nico Cellinese, Kenneth J. Wurdack, David C. Tank, Samuel F. Brockington, Nancy F. Refulio-Rodriguez, Jay B. Walker, Michael J. Moore, Charles D. Bell, Maribeth Latvis, Sunny Crawley, Chelsea Black, Diaga Diouf, Zhenxiang Xi, Catherine A. Rushworth, Matthew A. Gitzendanner, Kenneth J. Sytsma, Yin-Long Qiu, Khidir W. Hilu, Charles C. Davis, Michael J. Sanderson, Reed S. Beaman, Richard G. Olmstead, Walter S. Judd, Michael S. Donoghue, and Pamela S. Soltis), American Journal of Botany (2011)

• Premise of the study : Recent analyses employing up to fi ve genes have...



Molecular Phylogenetics of Vandeae (Orchidaceae) and the Evolution of Leaflessness (with W. Mark Whitten, Norris H. Williams, and Benny Bytebier), American Journal of Botany (2006)

Members of tribe Vandeae (Orchidaceae) form a large, antropical clade of horticulturally important epiphytes. Monopodial...



Molecular Phylogenetics of Neotropical Leafless Angraecinae (Orchidaceae): Re-Evaluation of Generic Concepts (with W. Mark Whitten and Morris H. Williams), International Journal of Plant Science (2003)

Phylogenetic relationships of leafless Neotropical Angraecinae (Dendrophylax Rchb.f., Harrisella Fawc. & Rendle, Polyradicion Garay, and...