Shannon StraubAssociate Professor of Biology

Joined faculty in 2014

Ph.D., Cornell University

B.A., University of Colorado

Contact Information

Eaton HallPhone (315) 781-3713

Scholarly Interest

plant systematics, phylogenomics, genome structure and evolution


I investigate the evolutionary relationships at different scales in the milkweed and dogbane family (Apocynaceae). At the species level, I am working to understand the diversification of milkweeds (Asclepias) in North America, where more than 120 species have evolved over the last 5-10 million years. At the family level, I am working to understand relationships among genera, tribes and subfamilies of Apocynaceae to provide a framwork for investigating the evolution of the biochemical pathway for pyrrolizidine alkaloid production. To address these questions, I use the sequences of hundereds of nuclear genes and whole chloroplast genome sequences to infer evolutionary relationships.

Courses Taught

BIOL 167: Topics in Introductory Biology - Plants & People

BIOL 220: General Genetics 

BIOL 228: The Biology of Plants

BIOL 380: Genomics 

BIOL 460: Senior Seminar - Genome Collisions


Selected Recent Publications:

Straub, S.C.K., J. Boutte, M. Fishbein, and T. Livshultz. 2020. Enabling evolutionary studies at multiple scales in Apocynaceae through Hyb-Seq. Applications in Plant Sciences 8(11): e11400.

Weitemier, K., S.C.K. Straub, M. Fishbein, C.D. Bailey, R.C. Cronn, and A. Liston. 2019. A draft genome and transcriptome of common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) as resources for evolutionary, ecological, and molecular studies in milkweeds and Apocynaceae. PeerJ 7:e7649.

Boutte, J. M. Fishbein, A. Liston, and S.C.K. Straub. 2019. NGS-Indel Coder: A pipeline to code indel characters in phylogenomic data with an example of its application in milkweeds (Asclepias). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 139:106534.

Fishbein, M., T. Livshultz, S.C.K. Straub, A. Simões, J. Boutte, A. McDonnell, and A. Foote. 2018. Evolution on the backbone: Apocynaceae phylogenomics and new perspectives on growth forms, flowers, and fruits. American Journal of Botany 105(3):495-513.

Fishbein, M., S.C.K. Straub, J. Boutte, K. Hansen, R.C. Cronn, and A. Liston. 2018. Evolution at the tips: Asclepias (Apocynaceae) phylogenomics and new perspectives on leaf surfaces. American Journal of Botany 105(3):514-524.

Livshultz, T., E. Kaltenegger, S.C.K. Straub, K. Weitemier, E. Hirsch, K. Koval, L. Mema, and A. Liston. 2018. Evolution of pyrrolizidine alkaloid biosynthesis in Apocynaceae: evidence for the defense de-escalation hypothesis. New Phytologist 218(2):762-773.

For a full publication list, visit my Google Scholar page:


American Society of Plant Taxonomists

Botanical Society of America

Society of Systematic Biologists

Flowers of Apocynaceae (top row) and Asclepias (bottom row). All photos © Shannon Straub.