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Jessica Budke

Associate Professor & Herbarium Director

Research Interest

Evolutionary developmental biology, structure-function relationships, parent-offspring conflict, systematics, bryology, natural history collections


2011, Ph.D. University of Connecticut


Research in my lab focuses on the development, evolution, and function of plant structures. We study morphological features that are used to distinguish species taxonomically and those that are important for reproduction and fitness. Our research also focuses on the relationship between maternal gametophytes and their sporophyte offspring. We use natural history collections, molecular systematic techniques, electron microscopy, and manipulation experiments to address our research questions.

  • What are the functional roles of maternal structures for offspring survival, development, and fitness?
  • How do we resolve phylogenetic relationships between morphologically austere taxa? 
  • What morphological changes are correlated with evolutionary transitions from terrestrial to aquatic habitats? 
  • How can we use natural history collections to study the plant biodiversity across our planet?


2022   Budke JM1, Patel NR1, GoFlag Consortium, Wienhold MD, Bruggeman-Nannenga MA. Exploring systematic relationships and morphological evolution in the moss genus Fissidens using molecular data generated from herbarium specimens. Journal of Systematics and Evolution 0: 000-000. (1co-first authors) Online

2022   Lewis RA, Budke JM. Bryophyte specimen organization and storage systems: A comparative assessment of staff practices and user preferences. The Bryologist 125: 222-247. Online

2022  Oliver MG, Crabtree T, McFarland KD, Budke JM. Noteworthy Collections: First documented antheridia on Palamocladium leskeoides (Brachytheciaceae) in North America. Castanea 87: 75-80. Online

2021  Whitaker KR*, Budke JM. Moss sporophyte transpiration rates are higher when calyptrae are removed. Evansia 38: 100-108. (*undergraduate student collaborator) Online

2020  Bainard JD, Newmaster SG, Budke JM. Genome size and endopolyploidy evolution across the moss phylogeny. Annals of Botany 125: 543-555. (Editor’s Choice – Bryophyte Highlight) Online

2019  Budke JM. The moss calyptra: A maternal structure influencing offspring development. The Bryologist 122: 471-491. (Featured on the cover: Volume 122, Issue 3) Online

2018  Budke JM, Bernard EC, Gray DJ, Huttunen S, Piechulla B, Trigiano RN. Introduction to the Special Issue on Bryophytes. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences 37(2-3):102-112. Online

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