Prof. Michael J. Donoghue (Vice Chair)

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Prof. Michael J. Donoghue (Vice Chair)


Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Yale University
Osborn Memorial Laboratories
165 Prospect Street
PO Box 208106
New Haven, CT O6520-8106, USA

Tel: + 1 203 432 2074
Fax: + 1 203 432 5176

Email: Prof. Michael J. Donoghue
Web site: The Donoghue Lab

Prof. Micheal Donoghue’s research revolves around understanding phylogeny. His empirical work focuses primarily on plant diversity and evolution. In particular, he has long-term interests in Viburnum and Dipsacales, and in the origin and early evolution of flowering plants. In collaboration with former students, postdocs, and lab visitors, Prof. Donoghue has published molecular phylogenetic analyses of a number of other angiosperm groups. With former postdoc David Hibbett, he published a series of papers on the phylogeny of basidiomycetes, especially shiitake mushrooms.
Prof. DonoghueI has also worked on a number of conceptual or theoretical issues. Specifically, he is interested in the notion of species, in patterns in the distribution of homoplasy, in character evolution and comparative methods, in phylogenetic nomenclature, and in combining data from various sources. He has published on other conceptual issues as well, including methods for assessing the direction of evolution, analysis of large data sets, and identifying shifts in diversification rate. Finally, he helped build and still coordinates the development of a relational database of phylogenetic knowledge called TreeBASE.
Previous graduate students and postdocs in the lab have worked on a wide variety of projects, but again these are united by an interest in phylogeny. In general, graduate student dissertation projects entail working with some group of organisms (usually a plant group), but tend to also involve some theoretical work. For example, Mike Sanderson worked on a large legume clade, Astragalus, and linked this to theoretical work on homoplasy. Likewise, George Weiblen combined empirical work on the phylogeny of figs and fig wasp with theoretical work on comparing phylogenies and on using phylogenies to understand the structure of ecological communities. To the extent that it seems reasonable, Prof. Donoghue tries to encourage side projects. For example, Rick Ree has been pursuing an interest in methods for inferring rates of character change in a phylogeny.
Several of Prof. Donoghue’s interests are not yet well reflected in publications. In particular, he has recently been doing field work in China, especially in the eastern Himalayan region of Qinghai, Sichuan, and Yunnan. Some of the information on these trips is now in a specimen database on the web. This work connects with another major interest: the biogeography and the historical assembly of plant communities around the Northern Hemisphere.