Research Assistant Professor

Michael Sundue


Office Location:

356 Jeffords Hall, The Pringle Herbarium

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Evolution and taxonomy of ferns and lycophytes


  • Ph.D. 2008, CUNY Graduate Center / The New York Botanical Garden

Research and/or Creative Works

Weston Testo and Michael Sundue in the fieldMy research program seeks to discover and describe biological diversity. I am broadly interested in land plants, with a particular focus on the ferns and lycophytes. Major goals include discovering and describing biodiversity, and understanding how particular traits are distributed across the tree of life.  My research falls into five main areas: 1) phylogenetics and biogeography 2) morphological trait evolution and diversification 3) generic circumscription and taxonomic revision 4) macroevolution, with an emphasis on the correlates of diversification rates, and 5) floristics with an emphasis on developing web-based tools for the dissemination of results. Many of these questions are best addressed by consulting herbaria and conducting field work, and therefore herbarium activities and collecting expeditions are central to my research. 

At UVM I am co-leader of the Barrington-Sundue lab. My other duties include curation and development of both the Pringle Herbarium, and the Tryon Pteridophyte Library. I also maintain a photo blog of ferns and lycophytes with Nathan Smith (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia).



  • Fawcett, S., Smith, A.R., Sundue, M., Burleigh, J.G., Sessa, E.B. and Kuo, L.Y., 2021. A Global Phylogenomic Study of the Thelypteridaceae. Systematic Botany 46: 891–915.
  • Sundue, M., 2021. Rebuttal to:(100) Request for a binding decision on whether the names Parisia Broth. (Dicranaceae) and Parrisia Shalisko & Sundue (Polypodiaceae) are sufficiently alike to be confused. Taxon 70: 1376–1377.
  • Black, B.K., Harrison, J.S., Labiak, P.H., Smith, A.R. and Sundue, M.A., 2021. Lellingeria cantarensis (Polypodiaceae): A New Dwarf Species from Cerro Jefe, Panama. American Fern Journal 111: 159–173.
  • Suissa, J.S., Sundue, M.A. and Testo, W.L., 2021. Mountains, climate and niche heterogeneity explain global patterns of fern diversity. Journal of Biogeography 48: 1296–1308.
  • May, M.R., Contreras, D.L., Sundue, M.A., Nagalingum, N.S., Looy, C.V. and Rothfels, C.J. 2021. Inferring the Total-Evidence Timescale of Marattialean Fern Evolution in the Face of Model Sensitivity. Systematic Biology 70: 1232–1255.
  • Pigg, K.B., DeVore, M.L., Greenwood, D.R., Sundue, M.A., Schwartsburd, P. and Basinger, J.F., 2021. Fossil Dennstaedtiaceae and Hymenophyllaceae from the Early Eocene of the Pacific Northwest. International Journal of Plant Sciences 182:  793–807.
  • Molino, S., Sundue, M. and Testo, W., 2021. First Record of Sporangiasters in the Blechnaceae. American Fern Journal 111: 196–204.
  • Vasco, A., Matos, F.B. and Sundue, M.A., 2021. Robbin C. Moran, Fern and Lycophyte Curator-an Appreciation. The Botanical Review 87: 151–167.
  • Mellado-Mansilla, D., Zotz, G., Kreft, H., Sundue, M. and Kessler, M., 2021. The Taxonomic Distribution of Chlorophyllous Spores in Ferns: An Update. American Fern Journal 111: 150–156.
  • Riibe, L., Sundue, M., Sessa, E. and Testo, W., 2021. A Reassessment of the Little-Known Amazonian Fern Diplazium praestans Based on Molecular and Morphological Evidence. Systematic Botany 46: 260–272.
  • Brazil Flora Group, Gomes‐da‐Silva, J., Filardi, F.L., Barbosa, M.R.V., Baumgratz, J.F.A., Bicudo, C.E., Cavalcanti, T.B., Coelho, M.A., Costa, A.F., Costa, D.P. and Dalcin, E.C….Sundue, M.….et al., 2021. Brazilian Flora 2020: Leveraging the power of a collaborative scientific network. Taxon 71: 178–198.


  • Aros-Mualin, D., Noben, S., Karger, D.N., Carvajal-Hernández, C.I., Salazar, L., Hernández-Rojas, A., Kluge, J., Sundue, M.A., Lehnert, M., Quandt, D. and Kessler, M., 2020. Functional diversity in ferns is driven by species richness rather than by environmental constraints. Frontiers in plant science 11: 2128.
  • Cámara-Leret, Rodrigo, David G. Frodin, Frits Adema, Christiane Anderson, Marc S. Appelhans, George Argent, Susana Arias Guerrero…Sundue, M.…et al. 2020. New Guinea has the world’s richest island flora. Nature 584: 579–583.
  • Parris, B.S. and Sundue, M.A., 2020. The fern genus Oreogrammitis (Grammitidoideae: Polypodiaceae) re-defined. Phytotaxa 436: 45-54.
  • Suissa, J.S. and Sundue, M.A., 2020. Diversity Patterns of Neotropical Ferns: Revisiting Tryon's Centers of Richness and Endemism. American Fern Journal 110: 211–232.
  • Schwartsburd, P.B., Perrie, L.R., Brownsey, P., Shepherd, L.D., Shang, H., Barrington, D.S. and Sundue, M.A., 2020. New insights into the evolution of the fern family Dennstaedtiaceae from an expanded molecular phylogeny and morphological analysis. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 150: 106881.


  • Hudson, O., Buchholz, M., Doyle, V. and Sundue, M.A., 2019. Multilocus phylogeny of Acrospermaceae: New epibiotic species and placement of Gonatophragmium, Pseudovirgaria, and Phaeodactylium anamorphs. Mycologia 111: 1-15.
  • Moran, R.C., Garrison Hanks, J. and Sundue, M., Phylogenetic relationships of Neotropical lady ferns (Athyriaceae), with a description of Ephemeropteris, gen. nov. Taxon 68: 425–421.
  • Patel, N., Fawcett, S., Sundue, M. and Budke, J.M., 2019. Evolution of Perine Morphology in the Thelypteridaceae. International Journal of Plant Sciences 180: 1016-1035.
  • Shalisko, V., Sundue, M.A., Villalobos-Arambula, A.R., Muniiz-Castro, M. A., and Vazquez-Garcia, J. A. 2019. Taxonomic novelties in grammitid ferns (Polypodiaceae) from the Neotropics and Madagascar supported by molecular data. Phytotaxa 394: 176-208.
  • Testo, W.L., Field, A.R., Sessa, E.B. and Sundue, M., 2019. Phylogenetic and Morphological Analyses Support the Resurrection of Dendroconche and the Recognition of Two New Genera in Polypodiaceae Subfamily Microsoroideae. Systematic Botany 44: 737–752.


  • Shang, H., Sundue, M., Wei, R., Wei, X.P., Luo, J.J., Liu, L., Schwartsburd, P.B., Yan, Y.H. and Zhang, X.C., 2018. Hiya: A new genus segregated from Hypolepis in the fern family Dennstaedtiaceae based on phylogenetic evidence and character evolution. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution 127: 449–458.
  • Schuettpelz, E., Rouhan, G., Pryer, K.M., Rothfels, C.J., Prado, J., Sundue, M.A., Windham, M.D., Moran, R.C. and Smith, A.R., 2018. Are there too many fern genera? Taxon 67: 473-480.
  • Sundue, M., Olivares, I. and Kessler, M., 2018. Ascogrammitis lehnertii (Polypodiaceae): A New and Dominant Understory-Species from a Diverse Community of Grammitid Ferns in the Andes of Ecuador. Systematic Botany 43: 709-716.
  • Testo, W.L. and Sundue, M.A., 2018. Are rates of species diversification and body size evolution coupled in the ferns? American journal of botany 105: 525-535.
  • Wolf, P.G., Robison, T.A., Johnson, M.G., Sundue, M.A., Testo, W.L. and Rothfels, C.J., 2018. Target sequence capture of nuclear-encoded genes for phylogenetic analysis in ferns. Applications in Plant Sciences, p.e01148.


  • Bauret, L., Rouhan, G., Hirai, R.Y., Perrie, L., Prado, J., Salino, A., Senterre, B., Shepherd, L., Sundue, M., Selosse, M.A. and Gaudeul, M., 2017. Molecular data, based on an exhaustive species sampling of the fern genus Rumohra (Dryopteridaceae), reveal a biogeographical history mostly shaped by dispersal and several cryptic species in the widely distributed Rumohra adiantiformis. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 185: 463–481.
  • Bauret, L., Gaudeul, M., Sundue, M.A., Parris, B.S., Ranker, T.A., Rakotondrainibe, F., Hennequin, S., Ranaivo, J., Selosse, M.A. and Rouhan, G., 2017. Madagascar sheds new light on the molecular systematics and biogeography of grammitid ferns: new unexpected lineages and numerous long-distance dispersal events. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 111: 1–17.
  • Chen, C.W., Sundue, M., Kuo, L.Y., Teng, W.C. and Huang, Y.M., 2017. Phylogenetic analyses place the monotypic Dryopolystichum within Lomariopsidaceae. PhytoKeys 78: 83.
  • Schmitt, M., Mehltreter, K., Sundue, M., Testo, W., Watanabe, T. and Jansen, S., 2017. The evolution of aluminum accumulation in ferns and lycophytes. American Journal of Botany 104: 573–583.
  • Sundue, M.A., 2017. Ceradenia spectabilis (Polypodiaceae), a New Species from Cerro del Torrá, Colombia. American Fern Journal 107: 193–199.
  • Sundue, M.A., 2017. Three New Species of Grammitid Ferns (Polypodiaceae) from the Fern Hunter's Paradise: Sierra Juárez, Oaxaca, Mexico. Systematic Botany 42: 160–168.
  • Testo, W.L., Sundue, M. and Vasco, A., 2017. Diplazium hybrids involving D. plantaginifolium and D. ternatum from Mexico and Central America. Brittonia 69: 1–12.


  • PPG [Pteridophyte Phylogeny Group; 68 co-authors] 2016. A community-derived classification for extant lycophytes and ferns. Journal of Systematics and Evolution 54: 563–603.
  • Fawcett, S. and Sundue, M., 2016. Evidence of primary hemiepiphytism in Pleopeltis bradeorum (Polypodiaceae). Brittonia 68: 1–8.
  • Sundue, M. and Poinar, G. 2016. An extinct grammitid fern genus from Domimican amber, with revision of Grammitis succinea. Review of Paleobotany and Palynology 233: 193–198.
  • Sundue, M. and Testo, W., 2016. Parapolystichum novoguineense (comb. nov.; Dryopteridaceae) from New Guinea. Phytotaxa 243: 193-196.
  • Testo, W. and Sundue, M., 2016. A 4000-species dataset provides new insight into the evolution of ferns. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 105: 200–211.


  • Labiak, P. H., Sundue, M. A., Rouhan, G., & Moran, R. C. (2015). Rhopalotricha, a New Subgenus of the Fern Genus Lastreopsis (Dryopteridaceae). American Fern Journal 105: 20–30.
  • Ranker, T. A., & Sundue, M. A. (2015). Why are there so few species of ferns? Trends in plant science 20: 402–403.
  • Sundue, M., Sylvester, S. P., Kessler, M., Lyons, B., Ranker, T. A., & Morden, C. W. (2015). A New Species of Moranopteris (Polypodiaceae) from Inaccessible Ledges in the High Andes of Peru. Systematic Botany 40: 652-657.
  • Sundue, M. A., Testo, W. L., & Ranker, T. A. (2015). Morphological innovation, ecological opportunity, and the radiation of a major vascular epiphyte lineage. Evolution 69: 2482-2495.
  • Wei, R., Xiang, Q., Schneider, H., Sundue, M. A., Kessler, M., Kamau, P. W., Hidayat, A. and Zhang, X. (2015), Eurasian origin, boreotropical migration and transoceanic dispersal in the pantropical fern genus Diplazium (Athyriaceae). Journal of Biogeography 42: 1809–1819. doi: 10.1111/jbi.12551


  • Sundue, M. A., B. S Parris, T. A. Ranker, A. R. Smith, E. L. Fujimoto, D. Zamora-Crosby, C. W. Morden, W.-L. Chiou, C.-W. Chen, G. Rouhan, R. Y. Hirai, J. Prado. 2014 Global phylogeny and biogeography of grammitid ferns (Polypodiaceae). Molecular phylogenetics and evolution 81: 195–206.
  • Labiak, P. H., M. Sundue, G. Rouhan, J. G. Hanks, J. T. Mickel, R. C. Moran 2014. Phylogeny and historical biogeography of the lastreopsid ferns (Dryopteridaceae)." American journal of botany 101.7: 1207–1228.
  • Testo, W., and M. Sundue. 2014. Primary Hemiepiphytism in Colysis ampla (Polypodiaceae) Provides New Insight into the Evolution of Growth Habit in Ferns. International Journal of Plant Sciences 175.5: 526–536.
  • Hirai, Regina Y., M. A. Sundue, and Jefferson Prado 2014. Adiantum alan-smithii (Pteridaceae), a New Maidenhair Fern from Chiapas, Mexico. Systematic Botany 39.2: 380–383.
  • Moran, R. C., J. Prado, M. A. Sundue 2014. Megalastrum in Andean South America, Part I. American Fern Journal 104: 109–179
  • Moran, R. C., J. Prado, M. A. Sundue 2014. Megalastrum in Andean South America, Part II. American Fern Journal 104: 181–236.
  • Labiak, P. H., Sundue, M., Rouhan, G., & Moran, R. al. 2014. New combinations in Lastreopsis and Parapolystichum (Dryopteridaceae). Brittonia 67: 79–86.


  • Sundue, M. A. & C. J. Rothfels. 2013. Stasis and convergence characterize morphological evolution in eupolypod II ferns. Annals of Botany 113: 35–54 doi:10.1093/aob/mct247
  • McHenry, M., M. A. Sundue, & D. S. Barrington.  2013. The fern genus Adenoderris (family insertis sedis) is artificial. Taxon 62: 1153–1160.
  • Sundue, M.A., R. Y. Hirai, & J. Prado. 2013.  Rumohra glandulosissima (Dryopteridaceae) a New Species from the Atlantic Rainforest, and Revision of the Species Occurring in Brazil. Systematic Botany 38: 915–924.
  • Sundue, M. A. 2013. Mycopteris, a new neotropical genus of grammitid ferns (Polypodiaceae). Brittonia 66: 174–185. doi: 10.1007/s12228-013-9322-0


  • McKeowan, M., M. A. Sundue, & D. S. Barrington 2012. Phylogenetic analyses place the Australian monotypic Revwattisa in Dryopteris (Dryopteridaceae). Phytokeys 14: 43–56.
  • Rothfels, C. J.*, M. A. Sundue*, L.-Y. Kuo, A. Larsson, M. Kato, E. Schuettpelz, & K. M. Pryer. 2012. (*equally contributing). A revised family-level classification for eupolypod II ferns (Polypodiidae: Polypodiales). Taxon 61: 515–533.
  • Sundue, M. A., P. H. Labiak, J. Mostacero, & A. R. Smith 2012. Galactodenia, a new genus of grammitid fern segregated from Terpsichore (Polypodiaceae). Systematic Botany 37: 339–346.


  • Sundue, M. A., A. Vasco, A., R. C. Moran. 2011. Cryptochlorophyllous spores in ferns: non-green spores that contain chlorophyll. International Journal of Plant Sciences 172: 1110–1119.
  • Sundue, M. A. 2011.  Helechos y Lycophytas, In: Flora de la Región del Parque Nacional Amboró, Vol. 1. Ed. M. H. Nee. Editorial FAN, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. Pp. 17–368.
  • Kessler, M., A. L. Moguel Velázquez, M. A. Sundue, & P. H. Labiak.  2011. Alansmia, a new genus of grammitid ferns (Polypodiaceae) segregated from Terpsichore. Brittonia 63: 233–234.
  • Sundue, M. A. 2011. Pityrogramma opalescens (Pteridaceae), a New Species from Cerro del Torrá, Colombia. American Fern Journal 101: 252–260.


  • Sundue, M. A., J. Prado, & A. R. Smith. 2010 Adiantum camptorachis (Pteridaceae), a new species from South America with Notes on the Taxonomy of Related Species from the Southern Cone and Bolivia. American Fern Journal 100: 195–206.
  • Sundue, M. A., M. B. Islam, & T. A. Ranker. 2010. Systematics of grammitid ferns (Polypodiaceae): using morphology and plastid sequence data to resolve the circumscription of Melpomene and the polyphyletic genera Lellingeria and Terpsichore. Systematic Botany 35: 701–715.
  • Sundue, M. A. 2010. A morphological cladistics analysis of Terpsichore (Polypodiaceae). Systematic Botany 35: 716–729.
  • Sundue, M. A. 2010. A monograph of Ascogrammitis, a new genus of grammitid ferns (Polypodiaceae). Brittonia 62: 357–399.
  • Labiak, P. H., M. A. Sundue, & G. Rouhan. 2010. Molecular phylogeny, character evolution, and biogeography of the grammitid fern genus Lellingeria (Polypodiaceae). American Journal of Botany 97: 1354–1364
  • Labiak, P. H., G. Rouhan, & M. A. Sundue. 2010. Phylogeny and taxonomy of Leucotrichum (Polypodiaceae): A new genus of grammitid ferns from the Neotropics. Taxon 59: 911–921.
  • Ranker, T. A., M. A. Sundue, P. H. Labiak, B. S. Parris, & G. Rouhan.  2010. New insights into the phylogeny and historical biogeography of the Lellingeria myosuroides clade (Polypodiaceae) PLoS Currents 2 doi:10.1371/currents.RRN1197.
  • Sundue, M. A., G. Rouhan, & R. C. Moran. 2010. Megalastrum (Dryopteridaceae) of the circumaustral region: Chile, Argentina, and southern islands of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. Systematic Botany 35: 461–475.
  • Prado, J, K. N. Ganhdi, M. Sundue, & Robbin C. Moran. 2010. (083) Proposal to include the terms "Isolectotype", “Isoneotype”, and “Isoepitype” in the Code. Taxon 59: 304.
  • Moran, R. C., J. Garrison Hanks, P. Labiak, & M. Sundue. 2010. Perispore morphology of bolbitidoid ferns (Dryopteridaceae) in relation to phylogeny. International Journal of Plant Science 171: 872–881.
  • Moran, R. C., M. A. Sundue, & P. H. Labiak. 2010. Synopsis of Mickelia, a newly recognized genus of bolbitidoid ferns (Dryopteridaceae). Brittonia 62: 337–356.
  • Moran, R. C., P. H. Labiak, & M. A. Sundue. 2010. Phylogeny and character evolution of Bolbitidoid ferns (Dryopteridaceae). International Journal of Plant Sciences 171: 547–559.
  • Sundue, M. A. 2009. Silica bodies and their systematic implications in Pteridaceae (Pteridophyta). Botanical Journal of the Linnaean Society 161: 422–435.
  • Sundue, M. A. & Lehnert, M. 2009. Melpomene anazalea, a new species of grammitid fern (Polypodiaceae).  American Fern Journal. 98: 208–213.
  • Sundue, M. A. & Kessler, M. 2008. New species and new records of the fern genus Terpsichore (Polypodiopsida: Polypodiaceae). Organisms Diversity and Evolution, 8: 163e1-163e10.
  • Sundue, M. A. 2006.  Two new species of Pleopeltis from Andean South America.  American Fern Journal 97: 107–112.
  • Kessler, M. Smith, A. R. & Sundue, M. A. 2005.  Three new andean species of Hymenophyllum (Hymenophyllaceae–Pteridophyta).  Blumea 50: 555–559. 
  • Prado J. & Sundue M. A. 2005.  Typification and identity of Adiantum tetragonum (Pteridaceae).  American Fern Journal 95: 89–93.
  • Kessler, M., Smith, A. R. & Sundue, M. A. 2005.  Notes on the genus Polystichum in Bolivia, with the descriptions of ten new species.  Brittonia 57: 205–227.
  • Sundue, M. A. & Prado, J. 2005.  Adiantum diphyllum, a rare and endemic species of Bahia state, Brazil, and its close relatives.  Brittonia 57: 123–128.
  • Moran, R. C. & Sundue, M. A. 2004.  Asplenium (sect. Hymenasplenium) basiscopicum, a new species from Bolivia.  Brittonia 56: 124–127.​