Prof. Julian Starr
Julian R. Starr
Full Professor

GNN 286
(613) 562-5800 ext. 6100

Department of Biology


My research is in systematics, the science that names, classifies and determines the evolutionary relationships of living things. My laboratory explores all types of systematic problems ranging from the identification and circumscription of species, to the biogeography, evolution and phylogenetics of higher-level taxa. Although I work on all types of vascular plants, my primary focus is on species from the sedge family (Cyperaceae), a truly remarkable group characterized by its exceptional diversity (ca. 5000 species), varied habitats (deserts to rain forests), unusual cytology (2n = 12 to 112) and diverse biogeographical patterns (e.g., Gondwanan, bipolar). To explore such diverse subjects, my laboratory uses both traditional morphological and anatomical methods as well as modern molecular techniques (e.g., DNA Sanger and Next Generation Sequencing, microsatellites, fragment analyses, etc.). Visit my Homepage for more information on my research, publications, and advantages of working in my laboratory at the Center for Advanced Research in Environmental Genomics (CAREG).

Selected publications

  • Léveillé-Bourret, É., J. R. Starr, B.A. Ford, E. M. Lemmon, A. R. Lemmon, A.R. Resolving rapid radiations within angiosperm families using anchored phylogenomics. Systematic Biology 67: 94–112., 2018
  • Ford, B.A., J. R. Starr, T. K. T. Nguyễn, & A. T. Vũ. Two extraordinary new pseudopetiolate Carex species from Vietnam (sect. Hemiscaposae, Cyperaceae). Systematic Botany 42: 402-417., 2017
  • Spalink, D., B. T. Drew, M. C Pace, J. G. Zaborsky, J. R. Starr, K. M. Cameron, T. J. Givnish, & K. J. Sytsma. Biogeography of the cosmopolitan sedges (Cyperaceae) and the area-richness correlation in plants. Journal of Biogeography 43: 1893-1904., 2016
  • Starr, J. R., F. H. Janzen, & B. A. Ford. Three new, early diverging Carex (Cariceae, Cyperaceae) lineages from East and Southeast Asia with important evolutionary and biogeographic implications. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 88: 105-120., 2015
  • Gilmour, C. N., J. R. Starr, & R. F. C. Naczi. Calliscirpus, a new genus for two narrow endemics to the California Floristic Province, C. criniger and C. brachythrix sp. nov. (Cyperaceae). Kew Bulletin 68: 85-105., 2013

Research interests

  • Molecular systematics
  • DNA barcoding
  • Phylogeny
  • Evolution
  • Biodiversity
  • Taxonomy
  • Flora
  • Vascular plants
  • Sedges
  • Carex
  • Cariceae
  • Cyperaceae