Joseph Williams Jr.


2000 – Ph.D., University of Georgia

Research Interests

My primary research interests are in flowering plant reproductive evolution. Reproduction in flowering plants is a developmental process that involves physical interactions among up to six genetically distinct organisms (male and female gametophytes and sporophytes, embryos and endosperms). These often cryptic interactions can influence the mating system and/or the strength of reproductive barriers, and hence, the degree of inbreeding or outbreeding present in natural populations. My research seeks to understand the evolution of traits that mediate these interactions. At present I am particularly interested in reconstructing historical sequences of developmental changes to the reproductive process in ancient flowering plants. Have an interest in plant reproductive evolution? Please contact me – I’m always looking for motivated students!


Graduate Students

  • John Reese (2013- present)
  • Nicholas Buckley (MS, 2012)
  • Mackenzie Taylor (PhD, 2011)
  • Tatiana Arias (MS, 2007)
  • Matthew Valente (MS, 2007)

Post-doctoral associates

  • Simon Wallace (2013- present)
  • Jason Abercrombie (2009-10)


Recent Publications

  • Williams, JH, Taylor, ML and BC O’Meara. 2014. Repeated evolution of tricellular (and bicellular) pollen. American Journal of Botany 101(4): 559-571.
  • Williams, JH. 2012. Pollen tube growth rates and the diversification of flowering plant reproductive cycles. International Journal of Plant Sciences 173:649-661.
  • Abercrombie, JM, O’Meara, BC Moffatt, AR and JH Williams. 2011. Developmental evolution of flowering plant pollen tube cell walls: callose synthase (CalS) gene expression patterns. EvoDevo 2:14.
  • Williams, JH, RT McNeilage, MT Lettre and ML Taylor. 2010. Pollen tube growth and the pollen tube pathway of Nymphaea odorata (Nymphaeaceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 162: 581-593.
  • Williams, JH. 2009. Amborella trichopoda (Amborellaceae) and the evolutionary developmental origins of the progamic phase. American Journal of Botany 96: 144-165.
  • Williams, JH. 2008. Novelties of the flowering plant pollen tube underlie diversification of a key life history stage. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 105: 11259-11263.