James A. Doyle

James Doyle

Position Title
Professor Emeritus

  • Evolution and Ecology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences
5349 Storer

Research Interests


My research deals primarily with the origin and early evolution of angiosperms. My oldest interest is in Cretaceous fossil pollen and leaves and their implications for the evolution, geographic spread, and original ecology of angiosperms. More recently my research has emphasized phylogenetic analyses of relationships between angiosperms and other seed plants and among living primitive angiosperm groups, based on morphological, molecular, and fossil evidence. I have worked on phylogeny, evolution, and biogeography of several living plant groups, especially the tropical family Annonaceae, the largest family of primitive angiosperms. My current main project aims to integrate Early Cretaceous fossils into the predominantly molecular phylogeny of living primitive angiosperms and to evaluate implications of the results for morphological evolution.

Specialties / Focus

  • Systematics and Evolutionary Biology


  • EVE 140 Paleobotany
  • PLB 108 Systematics and Evolution of Angiosperms


  • 1966 BA Biology Harvard University
  • 1971 PhD Biology Harvard University -


Saarela, J. M., Rai, H. S., Doyle, J. A., Endress, P. K., Mathews, S., Marchant, A. D., Briggs, B. G., Graham, S. W., 2007. Hydatellaceae identified as a new branch near the base of the angiosperm phylogenetic tree. Nature 446: 312-315.

Doyle, J. A., 2008. Integrating molecular phylogenetic and paleobotanical evidence on origin of the flower. International Journal of Plant Sciences 169: 816-843.

Endress, P. K., Doyle, J. A., 2009. Reconstructing the ancestral angiosperm flower and its initial specializations. American Journal of Botany 96: 22-66.

Doyle, J. A., 2009. Evolutionary significance of granular exine structure in the light of phylogenetic analyses. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 153: 198-210.

Doyle, J. A., Endress, P. K., 2010. Integrating Early Cretaceous fossils into the phylogeny of living angiosperms: Magnoliidae and eudicots. Journal of Systematics and Evolution 48: 1-35.

Doyle, J. A., Endress, P. K., 2011. Tracing the early evolutionary diversification of the angiosperm flower. Flowers on the tree of life (Wanntorp, L., Ronse De Craene, L. P., eds.), 88-119. Cambridge University Press.

Doyle, J. A., 2012. Molecular and fossil evidence on the origin of angiosperms. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences 40: 301-326.

Doyle, J. A., Le Thomas, A., 2012. Evolution and phylogenetic significance of pollen in Annonaceae. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 169: 190-221.

Pirie, M. D., Doyle, J. A., 2012. Dating clades with fossils and molecules: the case of Annonaceae. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 169: 84-116.