Skip Navigation

J. Phil Gibson, PhD

Skip Side Navigation

J. Phil Gibson, Ph.D.

Professor of Plant Biology

406 Richards Hall
730 Van Vleet Oval
Norman, OK 73019
405-325-1792  (Office)
405-325-1792 (Lab)

Gibson Lab Website


B.S. Botany, Oklahoma State University, 1988
M.S. Botany, The University Of Georgia, 1990
Ph.D. Environmental, Population and Organismic Biology, The University of Colorado 1995

Research areas:

STEM Education and Pedagogy, Plant Reproductive Ecology

Research interests:
A central theme in my research is the evolutionary ecology of plant reproduction. We investigate the dynamics of different reproductive strategies and how plants interact with their biotic and abiotic environment through their reproductive system. Much of this work involves mating system and germination studies. Currently, we are investigating the dynamics of heterocarpy, a reproductive system in which different flowers on the same plant produce two or more types of fruits that have dramatically different dispersal and germination features. This reproductive strategy provides bet-hedging against habitat variation and may provide protection against seed loss through insect herbivory. This work focuses primarily on the genus Grindelia (gumweeds) and we are pursuing new directions related to its seed bank dynamics. . My lab is also conducting conservation research on the rare, riparian tree Alnus maritima (seaside alder), which grows in Oklahoma, Georgia, and the Delmarva peninsula. We are combining population genetic and ecological studies to investigate why this species has little establishment of new individuals from seed despite very high seed production. Response of this species to climate change is a topic of central interest for future studies.
In addition to the research described above, I also conduct science pedagogy and education research investigating how a curricular structure based on Tree-Thinking helps students understand concepts of biological evolution. I have also co-authored three high school level reference books: Plant Ecology, Plant Diversity, and Natural Section.

Relevant publications:

Ehardt-Kistenmacher, C., H. R. McCarthy, and J.P. Gibson (2019) Germination, Survival, and Establishment of a Rare Riparian Species Alnus maritima. Castanea, 84: 144-160.

Prud'homme-Généreux, A., J.P. Gibson, and M. Csikari (2019). Creating a Video Case Study. Journal of College Science Teaching, 48: 46-53.

Gibson, J.P. and T Mourad. (2018) The growing importance of data literacy in life science education. American Journal of Botany 105(12): 1–4. doi:10.1002/ajb2.1195.

Gibson, J.P. and J.T. Cooper. (2017) Botanical Phylo-Cards, A tree-thinking game to teach plant evolution. The American Biology Teacher 79: 241-245.

Kistenmacher, M. and J.P. Gibson. 2016. Bet-hedging against larval herbivory and seed bank mortality in the evolution of heterocarpy. American Journal of Botany 103:1-18. doi:10.3732/ajb.1600078

Gibson, J.P. and M.H. Hoefnagels. 2015. Correlations Between Tree Thinking and Acceptance of Evolution In Introductory Biology Students. Evolution: Education and Outreach 8:15. DOI 10.1186/S12052-015-0042-7.

Jones J.M. and J.P. Gibson. 2012. Mating system analysis of Alnus maritima (seaside alder), a rare riparian tree. Castanea 77: 11-20.

Jones J.M. and J.P. Gibson. 2011. Population genetic diversity and structure within and among disjunct populations of Alnus maritima (seaside alder) using microsatellites. Conservation Genetics. 12:1003-1013. DOI 10.1007/s10592-011-0203-3. Published online 17 March 2011.

Rice, S.A. and J.P. Gibson. 2009 Does the Oklahoma seaside alder (Alnus maritima ssp. oklahomensis) reproduce by seedling establishment? Oklahoma Native Plant Record.

Gibson, J.P. and T.R. Gibson. 2009. Natural Selection. Chelsea House Publishers. New York, NY.

Gibson, J. P., S.A. Rice, and C.M. Stucke. 2008. Comparison of population genetic diversity between a narrowly distributed and widespread species of Alnus (Betulaceae). American Journal of Botany 95:588-596.