Kelly Matsunaga

Thomas N. Taylor Assistant Professor
Assistant Curator
Primary office:
8005 Haworth Hall


Research interests:  My research integrates data from living plants and the fossil record to address questions on plant evolution, phylogeny, and diversity through time. Current research is focused on understanding Indian floras at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary, the role of India in plant radiations, and macroevolutionary patterns in palms (family Arecaceae) using phylogenetic and quantitative methods that incorporate the fossil record. Other research interests include the evolution of leaves and rooting systems among vascular plants, the role of auxin in plant development and morphological evolution, and phylogenetic relationships among living and extinct plant lineages.

Selected publications:

  • Manchester, S.R., Kapgate, D.K., Patil, S.P., Ramteke, D., Matsunaga, K.K.S., and Smith, S.Y.  In press. Morphology and affinities of Pantocarpon fruits (Torricelliaceae) from the Maastrichtian Deccan Intertrappean Beds of Central India.  International Journal of Plant Sciences.  doi: 10.1086/706856
  • Matsunaga, K.K.S., Manchester, S.R., Srivastava, R., Kapgate, D.K., and Smith, S.Y. 2019.  Fossil palm fruits from India indicate a Late Cretaceous origin of tribe Borasseae (Arecaceae).  Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 190: 260-280.
  • Matsunaga, K.K.S., Smith, S.Y., Manchester, S.R., Kapgate, D., Ramteke, D., Garbout, A., and Villarraga-Gomez, H. 2018.  Reinvestigating an enigmatic late cretaceous monocot: morphology, taxonomy, and biogeography of Viracarpon. PeerJ.  doi: 10.7717/peerj.4580.
  • Matsunaga, K.K.S., Cullen, N.P., and Tomescu, A.M.F. 2017.  Vascularizaton of the Selaginella rhizophore: anatomical fingerprints of polar auxin transport with implications for the deep fossil record. New Phytologist, doi: 10.1111/nph. 14478
  • Matsunaga, K.K.S., and Tomescu, A.M.F. 2017.  An organismal concept for Sengelia radicans gen. et sp. nov. - morphology and natural history of an Early Devonian Iycophyte.  Annals of Botany, 119: 1097-1113. doi: 10.1093/aob/mcw277.

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