My research focus is plant diversity. I explore topics in plant systematics, biogeography, and the flora of the Eastern United States. To do so, I combine various aspects of fieldwork, herbarium work, and molecular study. Currently I am focused on resolving the evolutionary and biogeographical history of the river-weed family (Podostemaceae). The river-weeds belong to the clusioid clade of Malpighiales which consists of five families (Bonnetiaceae, Calophyllaceae, Clusiaceae, Hypericaceae, and Podostemaceae) and have both tropical and temperate representatives. Examples of other plants included in this group are the St. Johns worts and the tropical fruits, the mangosteen and the mammey apple. It is my hope that by resolving relationships within this clade, we can begin to understand the systematics, biogeography, and character evolution within this fascinating group of plants. I am also working to further understand the flora of the eastern United States by conducting floristic studies.
Andries, C., and B. Ruhfel. 2020. Vascular flora of two wetlands in the Red River Gorge Geological Area and Clifty Wilderness in Menifee and Powell Counties of Kentucky. Journal of the Kentucky Academy of Science 81: 1-12.
Bedoya, A. M., B. R. Ruhfel, C. T. Philbrick, S. Madriñán, C. P. Bove, A. Mesterházy, AND R. G. Olmstead. 2019. Plastid genomes of five species of riverweeds (Podostemaceae): structural organization and comparative analysis in Malpighiales. Frontiers in Plant Science 10.
Marinho L.C., L. Cai, X. Duan, B.R. Ruhfel, P. Fiaschi, A.M. Amorim, C. van den Berg, C.C. Davis. 2019. Plastomes resolve generic limits within tribe Clusieae (Clusiaceae) and reveal the new genus Arawakia. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 134: 142-151.
Philbrick, C.T., B.R. Ruhfel, and C.P. Bove. 2018. Contributions to the taxonomy of Rhyncholacis (Podostemaceae): Evidence of monophyly, description of a new species, and transfer of the monotypic Macarenia. Phytotaxa 357: 107-116.
Gitzendanner, M.A., P.S. Soltis, G. K.-S. Wong, B.R. Ruhfel, D.E. Soltis. 2018. Plastid phylogenomic analysis of green plants: a billion years of evolutionary history. American Journal of Botany 105: 291-301.
Meseguer, A.S., J.M. Lobo, J. Cornuault, D. Beerling, B.R. Ruhfel, C.C. Davis, E. Jousselin, and I. Sanmartin. 2018. Reconstructing deep-time paleoclimate legacies unveil the demise and turnover of the ancient (boreo)tropical flora. Global Ecology and Biogeography 27: 616-628.
Ruhfel, B. R., C. P. Bove, C. T. Philbrick, and C. C.Davis. 2016. Dispersal largely explains the Gondwanan distribution of the ancient tropical clusioid plant clade. American Journal of Botany. 103: 1117-1128.
Nelson G., P. Sweeney, L.E. Wallace, R.K. Rabeler, D. Allard, H. Brown, J.R. Carter, M.W. Denslow, E.R. Ellwood, C.C. Germain-Aubrey, E. Gilbert, E. Gillespie, L.R. Goertzen, B. Legler, D.B. Marchant, T.D. Marsico, A.B. Morris, Z. Murrell, M. Nazaire, C. Neefus, S. Oberreiter, D. Paul, B.R. Ruhfel, T. Sasek, J. Shaw, P.S. Soltis, K. Watson, A. Weeks, A.R. Mast. 2015. Digitization Workflows for Flat Sheets and Packets of Plants, Algae, and Fungi. Applications in Plant Sciences 3: 1-9.