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Charles Willis

Teaching Assistant Professor



Curriculum Vitae

Charlie is the course instructor for BIOL1001, BIOL1001 online and BIOL 1009. 

Education & Background

  • Postdoctoral appointment, Harvard University Herbaria
  • Postdoctoral fellowship, Harvard University Center for the Environment
  • Ph.D. in Biology, Duke University
  • A.M. in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University
  • B.S. in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Research Statement

My research is generally concerned with understanding how changing environments shape plant diversity on both evolutionary and ecological time scales. Currently, I am focused on using historical specimen data to study how historic climate change (over the past century) has impacted plant phenology and diversity across North America.


  • Shaw, EC, Fowler, R, Ohadi, S, Bayly, MJ, Barrett, RA, Tibbits, J, Strand, A, Willis, CG, Donohue, K, Robeck, P, Cousens, RD. Explaining the worldwide distributions of two highly mobile species: Cakile edentula and Cakile maritima. J Biogeogr. 2020; 48: 603– 615.
  • Palmer, MS, Willis, CG, Barry, K, Packer, C, Moe, A, Wassenberg, D. Exploring Species Interactions with "Snapshot Serengeti". CourseSource. 2020;
  • Park, DS, Willis, CG, Xi, Z, Kartesz, JT, Davis, CC, Worthington, S. Machine learning predicts large scale declines in native plant phylogenetic diversity. New Phyt. 2020; 227: 1544-1556.
  • Willis, CG, Ellwood, ER, Primack, RB, Davis, CC, Pearson, KD, Gallinat, AS, Yost, JM, Nelson, G, Mazer, SJ, Rossington, NL, Sparks, TH, Soltis, PS (2017). Old plants, new tricks: phenological research using herbarium specimens. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 99: 1263–1275.

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Minneapolis, MN 55455