Sarah and the snake she caught  with her bare hands.


Sarah Taylor

B.A.: Biology, Connecticut College

Ph.D.: In progress

  • Dissertation research: The Phylogeny of Nama (Hydrophyllaceae) and the Evolution of Gypsophily.

Contact: sarah.jackson at


Sarah is investigating the phylogeny of the genus Nama (Hydrophyllaceae), using DNA sequence data, with the goal of answering some interesting questions about its biogeography and the evolution of its gypsophilous species.  Here's an abstract from Botany 2007:


Evolutionary origins of gypsophily in Nama (Boraginaceae).

Gypsum endemism (gypsophily) has arisen independently in many different genera in arid regions around the world, giving rise to many intriguing endemic species and species-rich communities. However, in most cases it is not clear whether there are single or multiple origins within genera containing numerous gypsum-adapted species. Ten species of Nama, a New World genus in the hydrophyll lineage of Boraginaceae that comprises approximately 50 species and occurs mainly in the desert areas of southwestern United States and adjacent Mexico, exhibit varying degrees of gypsophily. Phylogenetic reconstructions using two chloroplast markers (matK and the adjacent matK-trnK 3’ intron, and ndhF) suggest that there have been at least three independent origins of gypsophily in the genus, one of which was followed by rapid radiation.