My primary research interests are in plant evolutionary biology and plant ecology. In my evolutionary research, the plants that I concentrate on are in the family Asteraceae (the sunflower family). Much of my work in Asteraceae has involved constructing phylogenies using DNA sequence data, through which I have found considerable evidence for ancient interspecific hybridization (reticulate evolution). I have also contributed identification keys and descriptions of the genera that I work on to the Flora of California and the Flora of North America
More recently, I have been conducting field-oriented research in plant community ecology. My most recent completed work was a study of the moss floras of granite outcrops in the Piedmont of Georgia and Alabama and the relationship between species number and outcrop size. I am currently studying the moss communities of limestone glades in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee.
In addition to these research activities, I have conducted a plant inventory of McIntosh Reserve (a local county park) and supervised graduate student thesis research in plant ecology. I am also the curator of the herbarium, a role in which I am responsible for maintaining the biology department’s plant collection, collecting and adding specimens to the collection, and responding to requests for information about our specimens or loans of specimens.
My upper-level teaching interests are in plant biology, ecology, and evolution, and I regularly teach Vascular Plants (Biol 3223), Plant Taxonomy (Biol 3221), Ecology (Biol 3135), and Evolution (Biol 3242). In addition, I currently teach one introductory course (Biol 1108) and have in the past taught other introductory courses (Biol 1110 and Biol 1107).
Most recent publications:
Morgan, D. R., L. Krstec, and R. Korn. 2016. Variation in moss floras of granite outcrops in the southern Piedmont, eastern U.S.A. The Bryologist 116: 16-28.
Morgan, D. R. and B. Holland. 2012. Systematics of Symphyotrichinae: Disagreements between two nuclear regions suggest a complex evolutionary history. Systematic Botany 37: 818-832.
Morgan, D. R. 2012. Arida, Dieteria, Machaeranthera, and Xanthisma. Pp 246, 300-302, 378, and 442-443 in The Jepson Manual: Vascular Plants of California, second edition. Eds. B. G. Baldwin, D. H. Goldman, D. J. Keil, R. Patterson, T. J. Rosatti, and D. H. Wilken. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Morgan, D. R., R.-L. Korn, and S. L. Mugleston. 2009. Insights into reticulate evolution in Machaerantherinae (Asteraceae: Astereae): 5S ribosomal RNA spacer variation, estimating support for incongruence, and constructing reticulate phylogenies. American Journal of Botany 96: 920-932.
Education / Degrees
- B.S., Entomology, Mississippi State University, 1976
- M.S., Biology, Mississippi State University, 1979
- Ph.D., Plant Biology, University of Texas at Austin, 1990