Spencer Barrett
New Phytologist Special Issue:
The ecology, evolution, and genetics of plant reproductive systems

Spencer C.H. Barrett
University Professor Emeritus
Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology


  • Evolutionary transitions in plant reproductive systems

  • Ecology and evolution of plant mating

  • Function and adaptive significance of floral variation

  • Gender strategies, sex ratios & sex chromosome evolution

  • Evolution and genetics of invasive species

The research in my laboratory focuses on understanding the mechanisms responsible for the evolution of plant pollination and mating strategies and the evolution of sex ratios and sex chromosomes. We also work on the genetics of invasive species and the role of local adaptation in colonization. Our studies involve a diverse group of flowering plants, with a major focus on Eichhornia, Lythrum, Rumex, Sagittaria and Thalictrum. Our work integrates different approaches including theory, comparative biology, field experiments, genomics, and quantitative, ecological and evolutionary genetics. Research projects are currently being conducted in Argentina, Brazil, China, South Africa and North America.