As a botanist and evolutionary biologist, I am fascinated by biological diversity. Understanding diversification at the macro- and microevolutionary scales has long been a central goal of evolutionary biology. My research aims to understand the patterns and processes of diversification. I combine bioinformatics, comparative genomics, phylogenetics, and developmental biology to investigate how genetic networks and pathways modify and evolve to produce diverse phenotypes. For my doctoral work, I studied the genomics of floral diversification in the genus Achimenes (Gesneriaceae) and worked to develop this group into a new model system for understanding flower evolution. My postdoctoral research will focus on phylogenomics of the diatom order Thalassiosirales, a model diatom lineage that spans the marine-freshwater salinity gradient and exhibits substantial genome size variation.
Roberts W.R., Roalson E.H. 2020. Co-expression clustering across flower development identifies modules for diverse floral forms in Achimenes (Gesneriaceaea). PeerJ (in press).
Kleinkopf J.A., Roberts W.R., Wagner W.L, Roalson E.H. 2019. Diversification of Hawaiian Cyrtandra (Gesneriaceae) under the influence of incomplete lineage sorting and hybridization. Journal of Systematics and Evolution 57(6): 561-578. [doi][pdf]