Mark Mort

Professor, Co-Chair, Undergraduate Biology
Primary office:
Haworth Hall


Dr. Mort studies the evolutionary relationships of the angiosperm family Crassulaceae using DNA sequences from chloroplast and nuclear gene regions

Area of Interest and Research

Reconstructing the evolutionary relationships of the angiosperm family Crassulaceae using DNA sequences from chloroplast and nuclear gene regions.

Examining the patterns of physiological and morphological evolution of Aeonium on the Canary Islands. This ongoing project is in collaboration with Drs. Javier Francisco-Ortega (Florida International University) and Arnoldo Santos-Guerra (Botanical Garden of Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, Canary Islands).

Preliminary phylogenetic analyses of the South African members of Crassulaceae, focusing primarily on the evolution of the large, morphologically-diverse genus Crassula. This project will involve extensive fieldwork in South Africa in collaboration with Dr. Ernst van Jaarsveld (Kirstensbosch Botanical Garden), Gideon Smith and Priscilla Burgoyne of the Natioinal Botanical Institute of South Africa.

Selected Publications

  • Folk, R. A., Stubbs, R. L., Mort, M. E., Cellinese, N., Allen, J. M., Soltis, P. S., Soltis, D. E., and Guralnick, R. P. 2019. Rates of niche and phenotype evolution lag behind diversification in a temperate radiation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 116(22): 10874-10882. doi:10.1073/pnas.1817999116
  • Crawford, D. J., M. Moura, L. Borges Silva, M. E. Mort, B. Kerbs, H. Schaefer and J. K. Kelly. 2019. The transition to selfing in Azorean Tolpis (Asteracae). Plant Systematics and Evolution.
  • Smith, G. F, Figueiredo, E., and Mort, M. E. 2017. Taxonomy of the three arborescent crassulas, Crassula arborescens (Mill.) Willd. subsp. arborescens, C. arborescens subsp. undulatifolia, and Crassula ovata (Mill.) Druce (Crassulaceae) from southern Africa. Bradleya 35: 87-105
  • Caujapé-Castells, J., C. García-Verdugo, Á. Marrero-Rodríguez, J. M. Fernández-Palacios, D. J. Crawford and M. E. Mort. 2017. Island ontogenies, syngameons, and the origins and evolution of genetic diversity in the Canarian endemic flora. Perspective in Plant Ecology, Evolution and  Systematics 27: 9-22.
  • Koseva, B., Crawford, D. J., Brown, K., Mort, M. E., and Kelly, J. K. 2017. The genetic breakdown of self-incompatibility in Tolpis coronopifolia (Asteraceae). New Phytologist 216: 1256-1267
  • Kerbs, B., Ressler, J., Kelly, J. K., Mort, M. E., Santos- Guerra, A., Gibson, M. J. S., J. Caujapé-Castells, J., and Crawford, D. J. 2017. The potential role of hybridization in diversification and speciation in an insular plant lineage: insights from synthetic interspecific hybrids. AoB Plants 9: 5. doi: 10.1093/aobpla/plx043
  • Archibald, J. K., Cook, J., Anderson, B., Johnson, S. D. and Mort, M.E.. 2017. A reassessment of the phylogeny and circumscription of Zaluzianskya (Scrophulariaceae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 112: 194-208.
  • Crawford, D. J., Hauber, D. P., Silva, B., Menezes de Sequeira, L., Moura, M., Santos-Guerra, A., Kelly, J. K., and Mort, M. E. 2016. Breeding relationships in Macaronesian Tolpis (Asteraceae-Cichorieae): F1 hybrid pollen fertility within and among populations from the Azores, Canary Islands, and Madeira. Systematic Botany 41: 881-893.
  • Wessinger, C., Freeman, C., Mort, M., Rauscher, M., and Hileman, L. 2016. Multiplexed shotgun genotyping resolves species relationships within the North American genus Penstemon. American Journal of Botany 103: 912-922.
  • Rubio de Casas, M. E. Mort, and D. E. Soltis.  2016.  The influence of habitat on the evolution of plants: a case study across Saxifragales. Annals of Botany 118: 1317-1328.
  • Mort, M. E., D. J. Crawford, J. K. Kelly, A. Santos-Guerra, M. Menezes de Sequeira, M. Moura, J. Caujape-Castells.  2015.  Multiplexed-shotgun-genotyping data resolve phylogeny within a very recently-derived insular lineage.  American Journal of Botany 102: 634-641.
  • Crawford, D. J., G. J. Anderson, L. Borges Silva, J. K. Kelly, M. Menezes de Sequeira, M. E. Mort, M. Moura, and A. Santos-Guerra. 2015.  Breeding Systems in Tolpis (Asteraceae) in the Macaronesian Islands: the Azores, Madeira, and the Canaries. Plant Systematics and Evolution 308: 1981-1993.
  • Toro-Núñez, O., M. E. Mort, and I. A. Al-Shehbaz. 2015. Phylogenetic study with nuclear and chloroplast data and ecological niche reveals Atacama (Brassicaceae), a new monotypic genus endemic from the Andes of the Atacama Desert, Chile. Plant Systematics and Evolution 301: 1377-1396.
  • Crawford, D. J., Mesfin Tadesse R. T. Kimball, P. Carrillo-Reyes, I. Sanchez-Vega and M. E. Mort. 2014. Coreopsis sect. Pseudoagarista (Asteraceae: Coreopsideae): Molecular phylogeny, chromosome numbers, and comments on taxonomy and distribution. Taxon 63: 1092-1102.
  • Lira-Noriega, A., O. Toro-Núñez, J. R. Oaks, and M. E. Mort.  2014. The roles of history and ecology in chloroplast phylogeographic patterns of the bird-dispersed plant parasite Phoradendron californicum Nutt. (Viscaceae) in the Sonoran Desert.  American Journal of Botany 102(1): 149-64. Doi: 10.3732/ajb.1400277.
  • Soto-Trejo, F., J. K. Kelly, J. K. Archibald, M. E. Mort, A. Santos-Guerra, and D. J. Crawford. 2013. "The genetics of self-compatibility and associated floral characters in Tolpis (Asteraceae) in the Canary Islands" International Journal of Plant Sciences. 174. 171-178.
  • Toro-Nuñez, O., M. E. Mort, E. Ruiz-Ponce, and I. A. Al-Shehbaz. 2013. "Phylogenetic relationships of Mathewsia and Schizopetalon (Brassicaceae) inferred from nrDNA and cpDNA regions: taxonomic and evolutionary insights from an Atacama Desert endemic lineage" Taxon. 62. 434-356.
  • Maraner, F., R. Samuel, T. F. Stuessy, D. J. Crawford, J. V. Crisci, A. K. Pandey, and M. E. Mort. 2012. "Molecular phylogeny of Nassauvia (Asteraceae, Mutisieae) based on nrDNA ITS sequences" Plant Systematics and Evolution. 298. 399-408.
  • Mort, M. E., D. J. Crawford, J. K. Archibald, T. R. O'Leary, and A. Santos-Guerra. 2010. "Plant DNA barcoding: a test using Macaronesian taxa of Tolpis (Asteraceae)" Taxon. 59. 581-587.
  • Mort, M. E., T. R. O’Leary, P. Carillo-Reyes, T. Nowell, J. K. Archibald, and C. P. Randle. 2010. "Phylogeny and Evolution of Crassulaceae: past, present, and future" Biodiversity & Ecology. 3. 69-86.
  • Crawford, D. J., J. K. Archibald, J. K. Kelly, M. E. Mort, and A. Santos-Guerra. 2010. "Mixed mating system in obligately outcrossing Tolpis (Asteraceae) in the Canary Islands" Plant Species Biology. 25. 114-119.
  • Crawford, D. J., J. K. Archibald, M. E. Mort, and A. Santos-Guerra. 2009. "Pollen fertility of synthetic intra- and interspecific F1 hybrids in Canary Island Tolpis (Asteraceae)" Plant Systematics and Evolution. 279. 103-113.

KU-calendar-full event list: 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