Sterling Keeley

Professor of Botany

keeleyProfessor of Botany

PhD 1977, University of Georgia

Contact Information
Phone: 808 956-8043 (office)
Fax: 808 956-3923

Link to Laboratory Site

Graduate Faculty Memberships
Botany, EECB

Research Interests
   Systematics and Biogeography of Compositae, Tribe Vernonieae
   Biogeography of Hawaiian and Pacific plants

I am interested in the evolutionary and biogeographic relationships of plants that have dispersed over long distances, such as those found on islands and those with species in both the New and Old Worlds. Molecular sequence data from nuclear and chloroplast regions analyzed within a multi-faceted phylogentic framework form the primary basis for reconstructing relationships and inferring patterns of geographical movement. Biological attributes such as breeding system, morphology, and specialized dispersal mechanisms, as well as historical climate information, are also used.  I feel that the most important part of my research centers around the evolutionary questions and therefore choosing the best group to provide those answers. As a result I encourage students to choose a plant group appropriate to their question whether that is one I have studied or not. I enjoy continuing to learn about the many and varied ways in which plant biodiversity has evolved across time and space.

Selected Publications
     Birch, J., Keeley, S. C. (2013) Dispersal pathways across the Pacific: the historical  biogeography of Astelia s.l. (Asteliaceae, Asparagales). Journal of Biogeography 40: 1914-1927.
     Birch, J., Keeley, S. C., Morden C. M. 2012 Molecular phylogeny and dating of the Asteliaceae (Asparagales): Astelia s.l. evolution provides insight into the Oligocene history of New Zealand. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 65: 102-115.
     Bunwong, S., Chantaranothai, P., Keeley, S. C. (2012). A new species of Camchaya        (Asteraceae, Vernonieae) from Thailand.  Phytokeys 12:53-57. doi: 10.3897/phytokeys.12.3221
     Keeley, S. C. and V.A. Funk. (2011) Endemism and evolution of some Hawaiian endemics: new patterns revealed by molecular phylogenetic studies. (pp. 57-88). In: Bramwell, D. and Caujape-Castells, J. (eds.). Plants and Islands. Cambridge University Press.
     Keeley, S. & Robinson, H. (2009). The Vernonieae: A review of the systematics, phylogeny, ecology, ethnobotanical uses, biogeography and evolutionary features of the tribe. (pp. 439-461).  In: Funk, V.A., A. Susanna, T. Stuessy, and R. Bayer (eds.) The Systematics, Evolution and Biogeography of the Compositae. IAPT, Vienna, Austria.  July, 2009
     Amend, A., Garbelotto, M., Fang, Z., Keeley, S. (2010). Isolation by landscape in populations of a prized edible mushroom Tricholoma matsutake.  Conservation Genetics 11:795–802.
     Amend, A., Keeley, S., Garbelotto, M. (2009).  Forest age correlates with fine-scale spatial structure of Matsutake mycorrhizas.  Mycological Research 113: 541-551.
     Keeley, S. C., Z. H. Forsman, R. Chan. 2007. A phylogeny of the “evil tribe” (Vernonieae: Compositae) reveals Old/New World long distance dispersal: Support from separate and combined congruent datasets (trnL, ndhF, ITS). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 44: 89-103.
     Venkatasamy, S., G. Khittoo, and S. C. Keeley. 2007. Leaky dioecy in Diospyros (Ebenaceae) endemic to the island of Mauritius. Plant Ecology 189:139-146.