Christopher H. Haufler, Ph.D.

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Professor, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Primary office:
Haworth Hall
Room 7008
University of Kansas
1200 Sunnyside Avenue
Lawrence, KS 66045-2106


Professor Haufler's research focuses on the evolutionary history, population genetics, and speciation of ferns. He is particularly interested in the life cycle dynamics of these “seed free” plants as well as the role of polyploidy and gene silencing in the genetics of the lineages.


Ph.D., Indiana University
, Indiana University
. Hiram College, 1972

Visiting Assistant Professor - Indiana University, 1977
Postdoctoral Fellow - Gray Herbarium, Harvard University, 1977-78
Postdoctoral Fellow - Missouri Botanical Garden, 1978-79
Assistant Professor - University of Kansas, 1979-84
Associate Professor - University of Kansas, 1984-1990
Professor - University of Kansas, 1990-present
Chairperson, Department of Botany, 1984-1998
Director, KU Undergraduate Biology Program, 2001-2007
Chair, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 2007-present




Professor Haufler teaches courses in the diversity of organisms as well as introductory courses that focus on organismal biology.

Teaching Interests

  • Organismal Biology
  • Botany


Professor Haufler studies the evolutionary history, population genetics, and speciation of ferns. He is particularly interested in the life cycle dynamics of these “seed free” plants as well as the role of polyploidy and gene silencing in the genetics of the lineages.

Reconstructing the phylogeny of the fern family Polypodiaceae using a combination of features from DNA sequencing, morphology, and biogeography. I am collaborating on this study with Drs. Tom Ranker (University of Colorado, Boulder) and Alan Smith (University of California, Berkeley).

Studying patterns and processes of speciation in ferns using analysis of breeding systems, population biology, and ecology. Focusing on patterns of ecology and biogeography provides hypotheses of change over space and time that can be tested. I anticipate continuing these investigations. I am also interested in the impact that polyploidy has had on fern genomes and studying how the genetic systems of ferns have been influenced by their polyploid histories. Finally, I am pursuing revisions of the genera that constitute the reconstituted family Polypodiaceae.

Research Interests

  • Systematics
  • Ferns
  • Speciation
  • Botany

Selected Publications

(2016). A community-derived classification for extant lycophytes and ferns. Journal of Systematics and Evolution, 54(6), 563-603.

Haufler, C. H., Pryer, K. M., Schuettpelz, E. Sessa, E. B., Farrar, D. R., Moran, R. Schneller, J. J., Watkins, J. E., & Windham, M. D. (2016). Sex and the single gametophyte: Revising the homosporous vascular plant life cycle in light of contemporary research. Bioscience, 66, 928-937.

Haufler, C. H. (2014). Ever Since Klekowski: Testing a Set of Radical Hypotheses Revives the Genetics of Ferns and Lycophytes. American Journal of Botany, 101, 2036–2042.

Sigel, E. M., Johnson, A. K., & Haufler, C. H. (2014). A first record of Polypodium saximontanum for the flora of Montana. American Fern Journal, 104, 22-23.

Sigel, E. M., Windham, M. D., Haufler, C. H., & Pryer, K. M. (2014). Phylogeny, divergence time estimates, and phylogeography of the diploid species of the Polypodium vulgare complex. Systematic Botany, 39, 1042–1055.

Haufler, C. H., & Wang, Z. (2013). Cystopteris. In . Flora of China Editorial Committee (Ed.), Flora of China (Vol. 2-3, pp. 261-266 ). St. Louis: Missouri Botanical Garden Press.

Haufler, C. H., & Shugang, L. (2013). Polypodium. In . Flora of China Editorial Committee (Ed.), Flora of China (Vol. 2-3, pp. 838-839). St. Louis: Missouri Botanical Garden Press.

Arrigo, N. Therrien, J. Anderson, C. L., Windham, M. D., Haufler, C. H., & Barker, M. S. (2013). A total evidence approach to understanding phylogenetic relationships and ecological diversity in Selaginella subg. Tetragonostachys. American journal of botany, 100(8), 1672-82. DOI:10.3732/ajb.1200426

Hemingway, C. Dahl, W. Haufler, C. H., & Stuessy, C. (2011). Building Botanical Literacy. Science, 1535-1536.

Stein, D. B., Hutton, C. Contant, D. S., Haufler, C. H., & Werth, C. R. (2010). Reconstructing Dryopteris semicristata (Dryopteridaceae): molecular profiles of tetraploids verify their undiscovered diploid ancestor. American Journal of Botany, 97, 998-1004.

Haufler, C. H. (2009). Gels and Genetics: The Historical Impact of Isozymes on paradigm shifts in hypotheses about fern evolutionary biology. American Fern Journal, 99, 125-128.

Haufler, C. H., & Sundberg, M. (2009). Symposium on scientific literacy: Introduction. American Journal of Botany, 96, 1751-1752.

Ranker, T. A. & Haufler, C. H. (Eds.). (2008). The Biology and Evolution of Ferns and Lycophytes (T. A. Ranker & C. H. Haufler, Eds.). Cambridge University Press. 480.

Haufler, C. H. (2007). Genetics, phylogenetics, and biogeography: Considering how shifting paradigms and continents influence fern diversity. Brittonia, 59, 108-114.

Smith, A. R., Kreier, H. Schneider, H. Haufler, C. H., & Ranker, T. A. (2006). Serpocaulon (Polypodiaceae), a new genus segregated from old Polypodium. Taxon, 55, 919-930.

Sciarretta, K. L., Arbuckle, E. P., Werth, C. R., & Haufler, C. H. (2005). Patterns of genetic variation in southern Appalachian populations of Athyrium filix-femina var. asplenioides (Dryopteridaceae). International Journal of Plant Science, 166, 761-780.

Haufler, C. H., Smith, A. R., Ranker, T. A., & Schneider, H. (2004). A tale of two mechanisms: Discovering how dispersal and vicariance contributed to the pattern of species diversity in the “polygrams.”. Abstract of Presentation at Botanical Society of American meeting.

Schneider, H. Janssen, T. Hovenkamp, P. Smith, A. R., Haufler, C. H., & Ranker, T. (2004). Phylogenetic relationships of the enigmatic Malesian fern Thylacopteris (Polypodiaceae, Polypodiidae). International Journal of Plant Science, 165, 1077-108.

Ranker, T. A., Smith, A. R., Haufler, C. H., & Schneider, H. (2004). Phylogeny and evolution of grammitid ferns (Grammitidaceae): a case of rampant morphological homoplasy. Taxon, 53, 415-428.

Schneider, H. Smith, A. R., Cranfill, R. Hildebrand, T. J., Haufler, C. H., & Ranker, T. A. (2004). Unraveling the phylogeny of polygrammoid ferns (Polypodiaceae & Grammitidaceae): Exploring aspects of the diversification of epiphytic plants. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution , 31, 1041-1063.

    KU-calendar-full event list: EEB Seminars
    EEB Seminars
    One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
    44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
    —U.S. News & World Report
    Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
    5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times
    KU Today