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Jessica Budke

Associate Professor & Herbarium Director

Research Interest

Evolutionary developmental biology, structure-function relationships, parent-offspring conflict, systematics, bryology, natural history collections


2011, Ph.D. University of Connecticut


Research in my lab focuses on the development, evolution, and function of plant structures. We study morphological features that are used to distinguish species taxonomically and those that are important for reproduction and fitness. Our research also focuses on the relationship between maternal gametophytes and their sporophyte offspring. We use electron microscopy, molecular techniques, and manipulation experiments to address our research questions.

  • How do we resolve relationships between morphologically austere taxa? 
  • What morphological and transcriptomic changes do plant species undergo transitioning from terrestrial to aquatic habitats? 
  • What are the functional roles of maternal structures for offspring survival, development, and fitness? 


Visit Google Scholar for more publications.

  • Bainard JD, Newmaster SG, Budke JM. 2020. Genome size and endopolyploidy evolution across the moss phylogeny. Annals of Botany 125: 543-555. (Editor’s Choice – Bryophyte Highlight) Link
  • Benoit AD, Oliver MG, Vichich RJ, Budke JM. 2020. Noteworthy Collections: First record of the non-native plant Portulaca amilis (Portulacaceae) in Tennessee. Castanea 85: 343-347. Link
  • Oliver MG, Budke JM. 2020. Featured Herbarium: University of Tennessee, Knoxville Herbarium – TENN (U.S.A.). The Vasculum 15(2):20-27. Link
  • Budke JM. 2019. The moss calyptra: A maternal structure influencing offspring development. The Bryologist 122: 471-491. (Featured on the cover: Volume 122, Issue 3) Link
  • Patel N, Fawcett S, Sundue M, Budke JM. 2019. Evolution of perine morphology in the Thelypteridaceae. International Journal of Plant Sciences 180: 1016-1035. Link
  • Budke JM, Bernard EC, Gray DJ, Huttunen S, Piechulla B, Trigiano RN. 2018. Introduction to the Special Issue on Bryophytes. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences 37(2-3):102-112. Link
  • Miller CN, Brabazon H, Ware IM, Kingsley NH, Budke JM. 2018. Bringing a historic collection into the modern era: curating the J.K. Underwood seed collection at the University of Tennessee Herbarium (TENN). Collection Forum 32: 14-30. <> Link

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