Biology Department photograph montage

Robert Patterson

Faculty in Emeriti Faculty
Professor root
Professor Emeritus
University of California, Santa Barbara
At SFSU Since: 
Systematic Botany. Phylogenetics of Linanthus & Leptosiphon (Polemoniaceae) and Phacelia (Boraginaceae). California floristics.

The research focus of our lab group is systematics of Polemoniaceae and Hydrophyllaceae. We are especially interested in understanding relationships among closely related species of western North American genera of these families. We are equally interested in understanding the evolution of morphological characters that have been traditionally used to classify these taxa. We use an array of approaches ranging from morphometrics to ascertain species limits to molecular sequence analysis to reconstruct evolutionary histories of species. For the masters thesis projects coming out of our lab students generally take on a group of reasonable size and address specific questions about evolutionary patterns in the group. This approach allows the students to gain a wide selection of technical skills while making critical progress toward our understanding of relationships among closely related species and species-groups.