Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

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Elizabeth Zimmer

Elizabeth Zimmer

Research Botanist & Curator

Phone: 301-238-1118
Fax: 301-238-3059
E-mail Address:

Postal Address
(Mail and Packages):

Museum Support Center, MRC 534
Smithsonian Institution
4210 Silver Hill Rd.
Suitland, MD 20746

Courier Address:
National Museum of Natural History
West Loading Dock
10th and Constitution Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20560-0166

     B.S., Biological Sciences, Cornell University, 1973`
     Ph.D., Biochemistry, University of California, Berkeley, 1981`
     NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University, 1981-82`
     Monsanto Fellow, Washington University, 1983-84

Research Interests
     The majority of my present research projects deal with studies of the pattern and process of molecular evolution in green plants. When I began my own postdoctoral work in 1980, I developed nuclear ribosomal genes as a good model for both phylogenetic and evolutionary process studies. In order to understand the patterns elucidated by our work, we collaborated with plant systematists and paleobotanists on syntheses of organismal and molecular phylogenies. At the Smithsonian, we have continued to use ribosomal and chloroplast gene markers for molecular systematic studies of key groups such as the ferns, Asteraceae, Gesneriaceae and several Pacific genera. These projects have involved postdoctoral fellows and curators in the Department of Botany at NMNH (J. Skog, Funk, L. Skog and Wagner, respectively). Other assays of plant genetic diversity (e.g., AFLP) are in development for application to species and population level questions.

Recent Publications - (All Publications)

Martin, Michael D., Olsen, Morten Tange, Samaniego, Jose A., Zimmer, Elizabeth A. and Gilbert, M. T. 2016. The population genomic basis of geographic differentiation in North American common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.). Ecology and Evolution, doi:10.1002/ece3.2143

Zhang, Ning, Wen, Jun and Zimmer, Elizabeth A. 2016. Another look at the phylogenetic position of the grape order Vitales: Chloroplast phylogenomics with an expanded sampling of key lineages. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2016.04.034

Budd, Cara, Zimmer, Elizabeth Anne and Freeland, Joanna R. 2015. Conservation genetics of Magnolia acuminata, an endangered species in Canada: Can genetic diversity be maintained in fragmented, peripheral populations?. Conservation Genetics, : 1-15. doi:10.1007/s10592-015-0746-9

Wen, Jun, Egan, Ashley N., Dikow, Rebecca B. and Zimmer, Elizabeth A. 2015. Utility of transcriptome sequencing for phylogenetic inference and character evolution. In: Hörandl, E. and Appelhans, M., . International Association for Plant Taxonomy, pp.51-91.

Wen, Jun, Liu, Jianquan, Ge, Song, Xiang, Qiu-Yun (Jenny) and Zimmer, Elizabeth Anne 2015. Phylogenomic approaches to deciphering the tree of life. Journal of Systematics and Evolution, 53(5): 369-370. doi:10.1111/jse.12175

Zhang, Ning, Wen, Jun and Zimmer, Elizabeth A. 2015. Congruent Deep Relationships in the Grape Family (Vitaceae) Based on Sequences of Chloroplast Genomes and Mitochondrial Genes via Genome Skimming. PLOS ONE, 10(12) doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0144701

Zhang, Ning, Wen, Jun and Zimmer, Elizabeth Anne 2015. Expression patterns of AP1, FUL, FT and LEAFY orthologs in Vitaceae support the homology of tendrils and inflorescences throughout the grape family. Journal of Systematics and Evolution, 53(5): 469-476. doi:10.1111/jse.12138

Zimmer, Elizabeth Anne and Wen, Jun 2015. Using nuclear gene data for plant phylogenetics: Progress and prospects II. Next-gen approaches. Journal of Systematics and Evolution, 53(5): 371-379. doi:10.1111/jse.12174

Appelhans, Marc S., Wen, Jun, Wood, Kenneth R., Allan, Gerard J., Zimmer, Elizabeth Anne and Wagner, Warren L. 2014. Molecular phylogenetic analysis of Hawaiian Rutaceae (Melicope, Platydesma and Zanthoxylum) and their different colonization patterns. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 174(3): 425-448. doi:10.1111/boj.12123

Martin, Michael D., Zimmer, Elizabeth Anne, Olsen, Morten T., Foote, Andrew D., Gilbert, M. T. and Brush, Grace S. 2014. Herbarium specimens reveal a historical shift in phylogeographic structure of common ragweed during native range disturbance. Molecular ecology, 23(7): 1701-1716. doi:10.1111/mec.12675

Wen, Jun, Xiong, Zhiqiang, Nie, Ze-Long, Mao, Likai, Zhu, Yabing, Kan, Xian-Zhao, Ickert-Bond, Stefanie, Gerrath, Jean, Zimmer, Elizabeth Anne and Fang, Xiao-Dong 2013. Transcriptome Sequences Resolve Deep Relationships of the Grape Family. PLoS ONE, 8(9): e74394 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0074394

Sessa, Emily B., Zimmer, Elizabeth Anne and Givnish, Thomas J. 2012. Phylogeny, Divergence Times, and Historical Biogeography of New World Dryopteris (Dryopteridaceae). American Journal of Botany, 99(4): 730-750. doi:10.3732/ajb.1100294

Sessa, Emily B., Zimmer, Elizabeth Anne and Givnish, Thomas J. 2012. Reticulate evolution on a global scale: A nuclear phylogeny for New World Dryopteris (Dryopteridaceae). Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, 64(3): 563-581. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2012.05.009

Sessa, Emily B., Zimmer, Elizabeth Anne and Givnish, Thomas J. 2012. Unraveling reticulate evolution in North American Dryopteris (Dryopteridaceae). BMC Evolutionary Biology, 12: 104 doi:10.1186/1471-2148-12-104

Zimmer, Elizabeth A., Suh, Youngbae and Karol, Kenneth G. 2012. Phylogenetic placement of a recently described taxon of the genus Pleodendron (Canellaceae). Phytologia, 94(3): 400-408.

Zimmer, Elizabeth Anne and Wen, Jun 2012. Using nuclear gene data for plant phylogenetics: progress and prospects. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, 65(2): 774-785. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2012.07.015

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