What is occurring now against science and scientists in the U.S. goes beyond ideology and political party. Now we find our discourse under attack.


The Barrington Group at the University of Vermont is a community of scholars and students working together on an array of inquiries into the diversity and evolution of spore-dispersed plants, especially ferns and clubmosses. Our current fascination is with the biogeography and diversification rates of these plants and the ecological and geological variables that determine these patterns. We have for many years been exploring the origins of diversity via hybridization and polyploidy as well as through primary divergence.

David Barrington and Michael Sundue are the principal investigators in the group. 

Cathy Paris works closely with us in advising our students and developing our research projects.

Though we usually work on ferns (notably Grammitidaceae, Thelypteridaceae, Polystichum, Phegopteris, Dryopteris, Matteuccia, Pleopeltis, and Polypodium) and Lycophyes (Huperzia and Phlegmariurus), we have been known to work on flowering plants (including Carex and Lathyrus) as well. All of our projects include molecular genetic analysis of the plants: our data sets have included an array of chloroplast and nuclear DNA markers for some years; we are now incorporating genomic data into our analyses,

At the same time, we are deeply interested in the evolution of plant structures, so we have developed a number of tools for representing plant structural features and analyzing them phylogenetically. A particular fascination with the morphometrics of spore size and shape has a long history with us.