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Gar W. Rothwell

Gar Rothwell

Professor (Courtesy)
Ph.D., University of Alberta, 1973


Office/Lab: Cordley 1071/1090
Phone: 541-737-5252



Research Area

Studies of fossil and living land plants are directed toward a fuller understanding of phylogeny and evolution. These are explored using data from morphological, anatomical, ultrastructural, developmental, and molecular characters. Evaluations of ontogeny, reproductive biology, and organismal interactions are emphasized in interpreting development of the modern flora within the context of evolutionary ecology.

conifer pollen cone clusters Cross sections of Cretaceous (at left) and living (at right) conifer pollen cone clusters, revealing that fossil counterparts of Cunninghamia lanceolata have remained relatively unchanged for more than 135 million years.  This recent paleobotanical undergraduate research project has established Emma Buczkowski as a published scientific researcher (See Buczkowski et al. 2015 for details).


Jurassic conifer Longitudinal section of the Jurassic conifer Pararaucaria patigonica Wieland, which provides the first evidence for internal anatomy of seed cones assignable to the extinct family Cheirolepidiaceae.


Related Links

Ohio University web site

Gymnosperms on the Tree of Life: Resolving the Phylogeny of Seed Plants

Paleobotany in Antarctica

Midcontinent Paleobotanical Colloquium

International Organisation of Paleobotany

Research Group Members

Graduate Students

Brian Atkinson (PhD due 2016)

Selected Publications

Nadon, G.C., A.M.F. Tomescu, L. Pratt, and G.W. Rothwell. 2015. Differentiating among depositional environments with C/S. Data: An example from the Late Ordovician, south-central Pennsylvania, USA. Paleoecology, Paleogeography, Paleoclimatology, in revision.

Gierlowski-Kordesch, E.H., G.W. Rothwell, R.A. Stockey and D.B. Finkelstein. 2015. Submarine groundwater discharge and early diagenesis of marine sediments. Geotimes, submitted May 11, 2015.

Smith, S.L., R.A. Stockey, G.W. Rothwell and S.A. Little. A new species of Pityostrobus (Pinaceae) from the Cretaceous of California: moving towards understanding the Cretaceous radiation of Pinaceae. Journal of Systematic Paleontology, in press.

Shelton, G.W.K., R.A. Stockey, G.W. Rothwell and A.M.F. Tomescu. 2015. Exploring the fossil history of pleurocarpous mosses: Tricostaceae fam. Nov. from the Cretacous of Vancouver Island, Canada. Americal Journal of Botany, in press.

Buczkowski, E.L., R.A. Stockey, B.A. Atkinson and G.W. Rothwell.  2015. Cunninghamia beardii sp. nov. (Cupressaceae: Cunninghamioideae), anatomically preserved pollen cones from the Eocene of Vancouver Island, British Columbia Canada. International Journal of Plant Sciences, in press.

Spencer, A.R.T., G. Mapes, J. Hilton, R.M. Bateman and G.W. Rothwell. 2015. Middle Jurassic evidence for the origin of Cupressaceae: a paleobotanical context for the roles of regulatory genetics and development in the evolution of conifer seed cones. American Journal of Botany 102: 942-961.

Atkinson, B.A., R.A. Stockey G.W. Rothwell, R.A. Mindell andM.J. Bolton. 2015. Lauraceous flowers from the Eocene of Vancouver Island: Tinaflora beardiae gen. et sp. nov. (Lauraceae).  International Journal of Plant Sciences 176: 378-392.

Klymiuk, A.A., R.A. Stockey and G.W. Rothwell. 2015.Plant-arthropod interactions in Acanthostrobus edenensis (Cupressaceae), a new conifer from the Upper Cretaceous of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.  International Journal of Plant Science176: 378-392.

Smith, M.A., G.W. Rothwell and R.A. Stockey. 2015. Mesozoic diversity of Osmundaceae: Osmundacaulis whittlesii sp. nov. in the Early Cretaceous of western Canada. International Journal of Plant Sciences176: 245258.

Rothwell, G.W. and S. Ash. 2015. Internal Anatomy of the Late Triassic Equisetocaulis gen. nov., and the evolution of modern horsetails. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 142: 27-37. 230. 

Atkinson, B.A., G.W. Rothwell and R.A. Stockey. 2014. Hughmillerites vancouverensis sp. nov. and the Cretaceous diversification of Cupressaceae. American Journal of Botany 101: 2136-2147.

Rothwell, G.W., S.W. Wyatt and A.M.F. Tomescu. 2014. Plant evolution at the interface of paleontology and developmental biology: an organism centered paradigm. American Journal of Botany 101: 899-913.

Ray, M.M., G.W. Rothwell and R.A. Stockey. 2014. Anatomically preserved Early Cretaceous bennettitalean leaves: Nilssoniopteris corrugata sp. nov., from Vancouver Island, Canada. Journal of Paleontology 88: 1085-1093. 

Tomescu, A.M.F, S.W. Wyatt, M.  Hasebe and G.W. Rothwell. 2014. Early evolution of the vascular plant body plan - the missing mechanisms. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 17: 126-136.


Stewart, W.N. and G.W. Rothwell. 1993. Paleobotany and the evolution of plants. Cambridge University Press, 521 pp.