Wade R. Roberts

I am currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Alverson Lab in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Arkansas. I completed my PhD in Molecular Plant Sciences with Eric Roalson at Washington State University in the School of Biological Sciences.

Contact me: wader at uark (dot) edu


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.


Pendergrass A, Roberts W.R., Ruck E.C., Lewis J.A., Alverson A.J. 2020. The genome of a nonphotosynthetic diatom provides insights into the metabolic shift to heterotrophy and constraints on the loss of photosynthesis. (Preprint) bioRxiv. [doi]

Gargas C.B., Roberts W.R., Alverson A.J. 2020. Genome sequences of bacteria associated with the diatom Cyclotella cryptica strain CCMP332. Microbiology Resource Announcements (In press).

Roberts W.R., Downey K.M., Ruck E.C., Traller J.C., Alverson A.J. 2020. Improved reference genome for Cyclotella cryptica CCMP332, a model for cell wall morphogenesis, salinity adaptation, and lipid production in diatoms (Bacillariophyta). G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics 10(9): 2965-2974. [doi]

Roberts W.R., Roalson E.H. 2020. Co-expression clustering across flower development identifies modules for diverse floral forms in Achimenes (Gesneriaceaea). PeerJ 8: e8778. [doi][pdf]

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]

Roberts W.R., Roalson E.H. 2018. Phylogenomic analyses reveal extensive gene flow within the magic flowers (Achimenes). American Journal of Botany 105(4): 726-740. [doi] [cover image][pdf]

Roberts W.R., Roalson E.H. 2017. Comparative transcriptome analyses of flower development in four species of Achimenes (Gesneriaceae). BMC Genomics 18: 240. [doi] [pdf]

Roalson E.H., Roberts W.R. 2016. Distinct processes drive diversification in different clades of Gesneriaceae. Systematic Biology 65(4): 662-684. [doi] [cover image] [pdf]