Paulyn Cartwright

Associate Professor
Ph.D., Yale University, 1997
Primary office:
7016 Haworth Hall

Dr. Cartwright's research focuses on  understanding evolutionary patterns and developmental processes in medusozoans.

Medusozoans are a clade of cnidarians that include hydrozoans (Hydra, hydromedusae and hydroids), scyphozoans (true jellyfish), cubozoans (box jellies) and staurozoans (stalked jellies). Medusozoans are relatively simple in terms of their component parts, yet they display a remarkable diversity of forms and life cycles. The tremendous diversity of medusozoans has been appreciated for centuries, yet many questions remain unanswered with regard to the evolutionary patterns and processes underlying this diversity. With new advances in phylogenetics and developmental biology, it is now possible to re-address these outstanding questions using modern approaches. Under an NSF funded Cnidarian Tree of Life project and a newly funded NSF CAREER grant, my lab is investigating the evolutionary relationships of medusozoans using a molecular phylogenetics approach. In addition, we are isolating and studying expression patterns in key developmental regulatory genes in order to better understand the developmental mechanisms responsible for the diversity of medusozoan forms.

Selected Publications

  • Bentlage, B., A. T. Peterson, N. Barve, and P. Cartwright. 2013. "Plumbing the depths: Extending ecological niche modeling and species distribution modeling in three-dimensional space" Global Ecology and Biogeography.
  • Nawrocki, A. M., A. G. Collins, Y. M. Hirano, P. Schuchert, and P. Cartwright. 2013. "Phylogenetic placement of Hydra and relationships within Aplanulata (Cnidaria: Hydrozoa)" Molecular Phylogeny and Evolution. 67(1). 60-71.
  • Nawrocki, A. M. and P. Cartwright. 2012. "A novel mode of colony formation through fusion of sexually-generated individuals (Cnidaria: Hydrozoa)" Current Biology. 22(9). 825-829.
  • Lieberman, B. S. and P. Cartwright. 2011. "Macroevolutionary patterns and processes during the Cambrian radiation: Integrating evidence from fossils and molecules" Açoreana. (7). 15-38.
  • Evans, N. M., M. T. Holder, M. S. Barbeitos, B. Okamura, and P. Cartwright. 2010. "The phylogenetic position of Myxozoa: Exploring conflicting signals in phylogenomic and ribosomal data sets" Molecular Biology and Evolution. 27(12). 2733-2746.
  • Nawrocki, A. M., P. Schuchert, and P. Cartwright. 2010. "Phylogenetics and evolution of Capitata (Cnidaria: Hydrozoa), and the status of the family Corynidae" Zoological Scripta. 39(3). 290-304.
  • Bentlage, B., P. Cartwright, A. A. Yanagihara, C. Lewis, G. Richards, and A. G. Collins. 2010. "Evolution of box jellyfishes (Cnidaria: Cubozoa), a group of highly toxic invertebrates" Proc. R. Soc. B.. 277. 493-501.
  • Cartwright, P. and A. M. Nawrocki. 2010. "Character evolution in Hydrozoa (phylum Cnidaria)" Integ. Comp. Biol.. 50(3). 456-472.
  • Bentlage, B., A. T. Peterson, and P. Cartwright. 2009. "Inferring distributions of chirodropid box-jellyfishes (Cnidaria: Cubozoa) in geographic and ecological space using ecological niche modeling" Marine Ecology Progress Series. 384. 121-133.
  • Collins, A. G., B. Bentlage, D. Lindsay, S. H. D. Haddock, A. Lindner, J. L. Norenburg, G. Jarms, T. Jankowski, and P. Cartwright. 2008. "Phylogenetics of Trachylina (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa)" J. Mar. Biol. Assoc.. 88. 1673-1685.
  • Cartwright, P., N. M. Evans, C. W. Dunn, A. C. Marques, M. P. Miglietta, and A. G. Collins. 2008. "Phylogenetics of Hydroidolina (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa)" J. Mar. Biol. Assoc.. 88(8). 1163-1672.
  • Evans, N. M., A. Lindner, E. V. Raikova, A. G. Collins, and P. Cartwright. 2008. "Phylogenetic placement of the enigmatic parasite, Polypodium hydriforme, within the phylum Cnidaria" BMC Evol. Biol.. 8. 139.
  • Daly, M. et al. 2007. "The phylum Cnidaria: A review of phylogenetic patterns and diversity 300 years after Linnaeus" Zootaxa. edited by Zhang, Z. and W. A. Shear. 1668. 127–182.
  • Cartwright, P. and A. G. Collins. 2007. "Fossils and phylogenies: integrating multiple lines of evidence to investigate the origin of early major metazoan lineages" Integ. Comp. Biol.. 47(5). 744-751.
  • Cartwright, P., S. L. Halgedahl, J. R. Hendricks, R. D. Jarrard, A. C. Marques, A. G. Collins, and B. S. Lieberman. 2007. "Exceptionally preserved jellyfishes from the Middle Cambrian" PLoS ONE. (2(10) e1121). 1-7.
  • Cartwright, P. and A. G. Collins. 2007. "Class Hydrozoa" Zootaxa. edited by Daly, M. et al.. 1668. 153-168.
  • Cartwright, P., B. Schierwater, and L. W. Buss. 2006. "Expression of a Gsx parahox gene in colony ontogeny in Hydractinia (Cnidaria: Hydrozoa)" Journ. Exp. Zool. (Mol Dev Evol). 306B. 460-469.
  • Collins, A. G., P. Cartwright, C. S. McFadden, and B. Schierwater. 2005. "Phylogenetic Context and Basal Metazoan Model Systems" Integ. Comp. Biol.. 45. 585-594.
  • Cartwright, P.. 2004. "Development and evolution of hydrozoan polyp and colony form" Hydrobiologia. 530. 309-317.
  • Cartwright, P.. 2003. "Developmental Insights into the Origin of Complex Colonial Hydrozoans" Integ. Comp. Biol.. 43. 82-86.
  • Cartwright, P.. 2002. "Embryology" Life on Earth: An Encyclopedia of Biodiversity, Ecology, and Evolution. edited by Eldredge, N. E.. 308-312.
  • Cartwright, P., R. L. Kaesler, B. S. Lieberman, and A. L. Melott. 2000. "A Kansan’s Guide to Science: An introduction to evolution and the nature of science, including origins of the universe and the Earth and the history of life" 15. 1-19.
  • Cartwright, P., R. L. Kaesler, B. S. Lieberman, and A. L. Melott. 2000. "A Kansan's Guide to Science" 1-19.
  • Cartwright, P., J. Bowsher, and L. W. Buss. 1999. "Expression of the HOX type gene, Cnox-2, and the division of labor in a colonial hydroid" Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 96. 2183-2186.
  • Cartwright, P. and L. W. Buss. 1999. "Colony integration and the expression of the Hox gene, Cnox-2, in Hydractinia symbiolongicarpus (Cnidaria: Hydrozoa)" Journ. Exp. Zool. (Mol Dev Evol). 285. 57-62.
  • Martìnez, D., D. Bridge, L. M. Nakagawa, and P. Cartwright. 1998. "Cnidarian Homeoboxes and the Zootype" Nature. 393(6687). 748-749.
  • Wagner, A., N. Blackstone, P. Cartwright, M. Dick, B. Misof, P. Snow, G. Wagner, J. Bartels, M. Murtha, and J. Pendleton. 1994. "Surveys of gene families using polymerase chain reaction: PCR selection and PCR drift" Syst. Biol.. 43(250-260).
  • Cartwright, P., M. Dick, and L. W. Buss. 1993. "HOM/Hox type homeoboxes in the chelicerate Limulus polyphemus" Mol. Phylo. Evol.. 2. 185-192.
  • Wheeler, W. C., P. Cartwright, and C. Y. Hayashi. 1993. "Arthropod phylogeny: A combined approach" Cladistics. 9. 1-39.

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