Paleobotany Research

Research in the division focuses on understanding biodiversity through time, integrative phylogenetics to infer evolutionary relationships, macroevolution, and biogeography. Curators Brian Atkinson and Kelly Matsunaga pursue external grant opportunities to support research and enhance accessibility to our collections by scientists and the public.

Brian A. Atkinson, Curator

Atkinson investigates phylogenetics, diversity, and biogeography of Mesozoic seed plants, and specializes in Cretaceous flowering plant evolution. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and a recipient of the 2020 Emerging Leader Award of the Botanical Society of America, given to those who have produced outstanding scholarship and have exceptional promise for future accomplishments.

Kelly K.S. Matsunaga, Curator

Matsunaga uses fossils to study the role of geologic, climatic, and biological processes in plant evolution and the assembly of terrestrial floras. She is the Thomas N. Taylor Assistant Professor in Paleobotany for the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

Rudolph Serbet, Collection Manager 

Serbet oversees collections operations and has been instrumental in establishing a new collections facility complete with a state-of-the-art compactor system. As a paleobotanist he collaborates in various research projects with colleagues around the world. He continues to explore the evolution of land plants through time and focuses on Antarctic plant fossils.