Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2018

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair

Linda Raubeson

Second Committee Member

Jim Johnson

Third Committee Member

David Darda


Juniperus is a species-rich and geographically widespread genus of coniferous trees and shrubs. The genus is relatively recently diverged, and has experienced periods of rapid diversification. Recent phylogenetic investigations by others have compared DNA from selected regions of the chloroplast, but the resulting topologies conflict, and some relationships remain unresolved. Their relatively small data sets failed to capture sufficient variation to resolve events of rapid diversification in these closely related taxa. This study provides increased resolution and support by generating a plastome-scale phylogeny for 28 Juniperus species, revealing previously unresolved relationships at both deep and shallow nodes. One-third of the recognized species of Juniperus are included, representing each of the major clades within the genus. This study contributes eight complete and 17 nearly complete chloroplast genome sequences to an ever-growing number of sequenced organellar genomes. This phylogeny provides a foundation from which an improved biogeographic history and molecular dating analysis can be performed.