Current position: Professor and Director, L. H. Bailey Hortorium, Department of Plant Biology, Cornell University
Office: 406 Mann Library
Phone: (607) 255-7975/ (607) 255-2131
Fax: (607) 255-5407
Departmental website: Kevin C. Nixon
Project website:


I have diverse research interests in the theory and practice of plant systematics. My taxonomic interests include higher level analysis of seed plant and angiosperm relationships, and relationships of Hamamamelid and Rosid ordinal and family relationships. I work at the generic and species level within Fagaceae, and in particular in Quercus. I am also very much involved in paleobotanical studies of Tertiary Fagaceae and a wide assortment of Late Cretaceous angiosperm floral remains in collaboration with Dr. W.L. Crepet. We are attempting to place a diverse Cretaceous flora into phylogenetic context and anticipate a rather extensive body of research in this area over the next few years.

My theoretical interests center on methods of phylogenetic analysis, computer programs for analysis and display of phylogenetic information, and species concepts. I have written several software packages, i. e. CLADOS, DADA, Winclada, and Encino that are used to analyze character distributions and augment other phylogenetic software such as NONA and Hennig86. I am coauthor of a new software package, TNT, with Pablo Goloboff and James S. Farris, that provides tools for rapid phylogenetic analysis of very large data matrices. In the area of biodiversity, I have developed a simple method for measuring phylogenetic diversity and thus maximizing sample diversity based on phylogenetic information.


1984 - Ph.D. (Botany) University of Texas, Austin (Dissertation: a biosystematic study of Quercus series Virentes (the live oaks) with phylogenetic analyses of Fagales, Fagaceae and Quercus)
1980 - M.A. (Biology) University of California, Santa Barbara
1978 - B.A. (Biology) University of California, Santa Barbara


American Society of Plant Taxonomists
Botanical Society of America
Willi Hennig Society