AJ Harris
Highest Education PhD
Phone 1-336-933-1193 (USA)
Email aj.harris@inbox.com
Office South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 723 Xingke Rd, Tianhe District, Guangzhou 510650 China
Education and Appointments

Academic Positions

Associate Professor | South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Beginning Nov 2020

Postdoctoral Fellow in Computational Biology | Oberlin College, Biology Department

Jan 2018 - Jul 2020

Peter S. Buck Postdoctoral Fellow | Smithsonian Institution, Department of Botany

Jan 2016 - Dec 2017

Research Assistant | Oklahoma State University, Plant and Soil Sciences Department

Aug 2015 - Dec 2015

Assistant Herbarium Curator | Oklahoma State University, Department of Botany

Aug 2010 - Jun 2011

Visiting Scholar | North Carolina State University, Botany Department

Jun 2009 - Jun 2010


Educational Background

Ph.D. | 2015 | Oklahoma State University, Plant Sciences

Dissertation: Evaluating Past and Present Plant Distributions using Biodiversity Informatics

Advisor: Michael Palmer, Regents Professor of Botany (retired)


MS | 2007 | North Carolina State University, Department of Botany

Thesis: Molecular and Morphological Inference of the Phylogeny, Origin, and Evolution of Aesculus L.

Advisor: Jenny Xiang, Professor

Research Interest

Evolutionary biology. Macroecology. Historical biogeography. Biodiversity science. Paleobotany. Computational biology. Plant systematics and taxonomy.

Public Services

Editorial Board: Journal of Systematics and Evolution


Associate Editor: Ecology and Evolution

2019 - present

Selected Publication

Harris AJ, Goldman AD. 2020. The phylogenetic relationships of 4mC/6mA DNA methyltransferases in prokaryotes. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 149: 106837.

Feng C, Wang J, Harris AJ, Folta KM, Zhao M, Kang M. 2020. Tracing the diploid ancestry of the cultivated octoploid strawberry. Molecular Biology and Evolution: https://doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msaa238

Duan L, Harris AJ, Su C, Zhang ZR, Arslan E, Ertu?rul K, Loc PK, Hayashi H, Wen J, Chen HF. 2020. Chloroplast phylogenomics reveals the intercontinental biogeographic history of the liquorice genus (Leguminosae: Glycyrrhiza). Frontiers in Plant Science 11:793.

Wang J, Dong S, Yang L, Harris AJ, Schneider H, Kang M. 2020. Allopolyploid speciation accompanied by gene flow in a tree fern. Molecular Biology and Evolution: https://doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msaa097

Ma Y, Zhao L, Zhang W, Zhang Y, Xing X, Duan X, Hu J, Harris, AJ, Liu P, Dai S, Wen J. 2020. Origins of cultivars of Chrysanthemum ‐ evidence from the chloroplast genome and nuclear LFY gene. Journal of Systematics and Evolution. doi:10.1111/jse.12682

Wen J, Herron SA, Yang X, Liu BB, Zuo YJ, Harris AJ, Kalburgi Y, Johnson G, Zimmer EA. 2020. Nuclear and chloroplast sequences resolve the enigmatic origin of the concord grape. Frontiers in Plant Science 11: 263.

Duan, L, Harris AJ**, Ye W, Deng, S-W, Song, Z-Q, Chen H-F, Wen J. 2020. Untangling the taxonomy of the Cladrastis clade (Leguminosae: Papilionoideae) by integrating phylogenetics and ecological evidence. Taxon 68: 1189-1203.

Duan L, Harris AJ, Su C, Ye W, Deng S-W, Fu L, Wen J, Chen H-F. 2020. A fossil-calibrated phylogeny reveals the biogeographic history of the Cladrastis clade, an amphi-Pacific early-branching group in papilionoid legumes. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 143: 106673.

Du ZY, Harris AJ, Xiang Q-Y. 2019. Phylogenomics, co-evolution of ecological niche and morphology, and historical biogeography of buckeyes, horsechestnuts, and their relatives (Hippocastaneae, Sapindaceae) and the value of RAD-Seq for deep evolutionary inferences back to the Late Cretaceous. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 145:106726.

Dong S, Xiao Y, Kong H Feng C, Harris AJ, Yan Y, Kang M. 2019. Nuclear loci developed from multiple transcriptomes yield high resolution in phylogeny of scaly tree ferns (Cyatheaceae) from China and Vietnam. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 139: 106567.

Liu, Y, Harris, AJ**, Gao Q, Su X, Ren Z. 2019. A population genetics perspective on the evolutionary histories of three clonal, endemic, and dominant grass species of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau: Orinus (Poaceae). Ecology and Evolution https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.5186.

Gao YD, Gao XF, Harris AJ. 2019. Species boundaries and parapatric speciation in the complex of alpine shrubs, Rosa sericea (Rosaceae), based on population genetics and ecological tolerances. Frontiers in Plant Science 10: 10.3389/fpls.2019.00321

Ren Z, von Dohlen CD, Harris AJ, Dikow RB, Su X, Wen J. 2019. Congruent phylogenetic relationships of Melaphidina aphids (Aphididae: Eriosomatinae: Fordini) according to nuclear and mitochondrial DNA data with taxonomic implications on generic limits. PLOS One 14: e0213181.

Su X, Zheng W, Harris AJ, Wang W, Shao W, Wen J. 2018. Assessing the maternal origin in the polyploid complex of Camellia reticulata based on the chloroplast rpl16 intron sequences: implications for Camellia cross breeding. Molecular Breeding 38: 123.

Zhang Y, Su X, Harris AJ, Caraballo-Ortiz MA, Ren Z, Zhong Y. 2018. Genetic structure of the bacterial endosymbiont Buchnera aphidicola from its host aphid Schlechtendalia chinensis and evolutionary implications. Current Microbiology 75: 309-315.

Harris AJ*, Ickert-Bond SM. 2018. Continents as units for the study of floristic assembly and biodiversity: Focus on North America. Journal of Systematics and Evolution 56: 401-404.

Wen J, Harris AJ, Kalburgi Y, Johnson G, Ickert-Bond SM, Zimmer L. 2018. Chloroplast phylogenomics of New World grape species (Vitis, Vitaceae). Journal of Systematics and Evolution 56: 297-308.

Xiang Q-P, Ran W, Zhang X-C, Harris AJ. 2018. New infrageneric classification of Abies in light of molecular phylogeny and high diversity in western North America. Journal of Systematics and Evolution 56: 562-572.

Svoboda H, Harris AJ. 2018. Contributions toward understanding the biodiversity of Passiflora in North America: Updates and a new combination from the Baja California Peninsula, Mexico and vicinity. Journal of Systematics and Evolution 56: 550-561.

Harris AJ*, Ickert-Bond SM, Rodriguez A. 2018. Long distance dispersal in the assembly of floras: A review of progress and prospects in North America. Journal of Systematics and Evolution 56: 430-448.

Harris AJ*, Goldman AD. 2018. Phylogenetic reconstruction shows independent evolutionary origins of mitochondrial transcription factors from an ancient family of RNA methyltransferase proteins. Journal of Molecular Evolution 86: 277-282.

Ickert-Bond SM, Harris AJ, Lutz S, Wen J. 2018. A detailed study of leaf micromorphology and anatomy of New World Vitis L. subgenus Vitis within a phylogenetic and ecological framework reveals evolutionary convergence. Journal of Systematics and Evolution 56: 309-330.

Su X, Liu Y-P, Ren Z, Harris AJ, Peterson PM, Wen J. 2018. Phylogeography of Orinus (Poaceae: Chloridoideae: Orininae) on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 186:202-223.

Zheng W, Harris AJ, Xu X-D. 2017. The complete chloroplast genome of vulnerable Aesculus wangii (Sapindaceae), a narrowly endemic tree in Yunnan, China. Conservation Genetics Resources 10: 335.

Kong H, Condamine FL, Harris AJ, Chen J, Pan B, M?ller M, Kang M. 2017. Both temperature fluctuations and East Asian monsoons have driven plant diversification in the karst ecosystems from southern China. Molecular Ecology 26: 6414-6429.

Ren Z, Harris AJ, Dikow RB, Me E, Zhong Y, J Wen. 2017. Another look at the phylogenetic relationships and intercontinental biogeography of eastern Asian - North American Rhus gall aphids (Hemiptera: Aphididae: Eriosomatinae): Evidence from mitogenome sequences via genome skimming. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 117: 102-110.

Harris AJ*, Chen Y-S, Olsen RT, Lutz S, Wen J. 2017. On merging Acer sections Rubra and Hyptiocarpa: Molecular and morphological evidence. Phytokeys 86: 9-42.

Wen J, Harris AJ, Ickert-Bond SM, Dikow RB, Wurdack K, Zimmer EA. 2017. Developing integrative systematics in the informatics and genomic era, and calling for a global Biodiversity Cyberbank. Journal of Systematics and Evolution 55: 308-321. ??

Harris AJ*, Dee J, Palmer MW. 2017. The effects of taxonomic rank on climatic calibrations: a test using extant floras of United States counties. Review of Paleobotany and Palynology 244: 316-324.

Wei R, Yan Y-H, Harris AJ, Kang J-S, Xiang Q-P, Shen H, Zhang X-C. 2017. Plastid phylogenomics resolve deep relationships among eupolypod II ferns with rapid radiation and rate heterogeneity. Genome Biology and Evolution 9: 1646-1657.

Harris AJ*, Frawley E, Wen J. 2017. The utility of single-copy nuclear genes for phylogenetic resolution of Acer L. and Dipteronia Oliv. (Acereae: Hippocastanoideae: Sapindaceae). Annales Botanici Fennici 54: 209-222.

Liu Y-P, Su X, Luo W-C, Lv T, Chen K-L, Harris AJ, Shah SA. 2017. Development of SSR markers from transcriptomes for Orinus Hitchc. (Poaceae), an endemic of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Applications in Plant Sciences 5: 1700029. 2017.

Harris AJ, Chen P-T, Xu X-W, Zhang J-Q, Yang X, Wen J. 2017. The phylogeny of Staphyleaceae reveals five major clades: implications for generic delimitations and classical biogeographic disjunctions in the family. Journal of Systematics and Evolution 55: 124-141. ??

Ren, Z, Bai X, Harris AJ, Wen J. 2017. Complete mitochondrial genome of the Rhus gall aphid, Schlechtendalia chinensis (Hemiptera: Aphididae: Eriosomatinae). Mitochondrial DNA Part B: Resources 1: 849-850.

Harris AJ*, Dee J, Walker C, Palmer MW. 2016. Latitudinal trends in genus richness of vascular plants in the Eocene and Oligocene of North America. Plant Diversity 38: 1-9.

Harris AJ*, Fu C-X, Xiang Q-Y, Holland L, Wen J. 2016. Testing the monophyly of Aesculus L. and Billia Peyr., woody genera of the tribe Hippocastaneae of Sapindaceae. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 102:145-153.

Gao YD, Harris AJ, He X. 2015. Habitat specialization and hybridization may drive morphological and genetic convergence within plant genera of the Hengduan Mountains: A case study of Nomocharis and Lilium (Liliaceae). BMC Evolutionary Biology 15:147-167.

Yu Y, Harris AJ*, He X. 2015. RASP (Reconstruct Ancestral State in Phylogenies): A tool for historical biogeography. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 87: 46-49.

Harris AJ*, Lutz S, Acevedo P, Wen J. 2015. The utility of the morphological variation of pollen for resolving the evolutionary history of Billia Peyr. (subfam. Hippocastanoideae, Sapindaceae). Journal of Systematics and Evolution 53: 228-238.

Harris AJ*, Papes M, Gao YD, Watson L. 2014. Estimating paleoenvironments using ecological niche models of nearest living relatives: A case study of Eocene Aesculus L. Journal of Systematics and Evolution 52:16-34.

Gao YD, Harris AJ, Zhou S, He X. 2013. Evolutionary events in Lilium (including Nomocharis, Liliaceae) are temporally correlated with orogenies of the Q-T Plateau and the Hengduan Mountains. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 68: 443-460.

Harris AJ*, Wen J, Xiang Q-Y. 2013. Inferring the biogeographic origins of inter-continental disjunct endemics using a Bayes-DIVA approach. Journal of Systematics and Evolution 51: 117-133. ??

Gao Y, Hohenegger M, Harris AJ, Zhou S, He X, Wan J. 2012. A new species in the genus Nomocharis Franchet (Liliaceae): Evidence that brings the genus Nomocharis into Lilium. Plant Systematics and Evolution 298:69-85.

Yu Y, Harris AJ, and He X. 2010. S-DIVA (Statistical Dispersal-Vicariance Analysis): a tool for inferring biogeographic histories. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 56:848-850.

Harris AJ*, Xiang Q-Y. 2009. Estimating ancestral distributions of lineages with uncertain sister groups - A statistical approach to DIVA and a case using Aesculus L. (Sapindaceae) including fossils. Journal of Systematics and Evolution 47:349-368. ??

Harris AJ*, Thomas DT, Xiang Q-Y. 2009. Phylogeny, origin, and biogeographic history of Aesculus L. (Sapindales) - An update from combined analysis of DNA sequences, morphology, and fossils. Taxon 58: 1-19.

Krings A, Harris AJ, Inman FM, Lee E, Richardson AR. 2005. An annotated catalogue of the Bertram Whittier Wells Big Savannah (Pender Co., North Carolina) collections in the North Carolina State University herbarium. Vulpia 4:52-67.