Dr. Paul Wolf

Department Chair,
Biological Sciences
Professor, Biological Sciences


301 Sparkman Drive
Shelby Center
Room 369
Huntsville, AL 35899
Campus Map



The Wolf lab focuses on the evolution of plants and their genomes. We use a wide range of approaches to explore relationships among plant populations and species. We are currently interested in how homosporous ferns have acquired their typically high chromosome numbers, on average about four times that of flowering plants - Some fern species have over 1000 chromosomes! Patterns of chromosome behavior in ferns can be a reference model for exploring loss of fertility in flowering plants when they undergo genome doubling (polyploidy). Paul G Wolf received his PhD from Washington State University, trained as a post doctoral researcher at University of California, Irvine, and was faculty at Utah State University from 1992 - 2019. He joined the faculty in Biological Sciences at University of Alabama in Huntsville in 2019. The lab is currently accepting masters students in the Biological Sciences Program and PhD students in the Biotechnology Program.

Curriculum Vitae

Personal Website


  • Post doctoral researcher, University of California, Irvine: 1990-1991
  • Ph.D. Botany, Washington State University: 1990
  • M.A. Botany (honors), University of Kansas: 1986
  • B.Sc. Biological Sciences (honors), University of Leicester: 1982

Honors & Awards

  • Utah State University and College of Science University Service Award, 2018
  • Outstanding paper – Journal of Systematics and Evolution, 2018
  • Utah State University Mortar Board, Top Professor, 1998
  • Washington State University Summer Research Assistantship, 1989
  • Hannah Aase Fellowship, Washington State University, 1986
  • Graduated with honors, University of Kansas, 1986
  • Graduated with honors, University of Leicester, 1982

Recent Publications

  • Wolf, P. G. 2021. Cellular Processes: Chromosome number pattern seen in ferns. Open Access Government Jan 2021: 234-235.

  • Wolf, P. G. 2020. Fern genomics: unfurling the mystery of plant chromosome numbers. Scientia vol 133: 72. https://doi.org/10.33548/SCIENTIA543

  • Kinosian SP, WD Pearse, and PG Wolf. 2020. There and back again: Reticulate evolution in Ceratopteris. American Fern Journal 110: 193 – 210.

  • Kinosian SP, WD Pearse, and PG Wolf. 2020. Cryptic diversity in the model fern genus Ceratopteris (Pteridaceae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 152: 106938.

  • Rowe CA, Lichvar RW and Wolf PG. 2020. How Many Tree Species of Birch Are in Alaska? Implications for Wetland Designations. Front. Plant Sci. 11:750. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2020.00750

  • Marchant DB, EB Sessa, PG Wolf, K Heo, WB Barbazuk, PS Soltis, DE Soltis. 2019. The C-Fern (Ceratopteris richardii) genome: insights into plant genome evolution with the first partial homosporous fern genome assembly. Scientific Reports 9: 18181.

  • Wolf PG, Rowe CA, Kinosian SP, Der JP, Lockhart PJ, Shepherd LD, McLenachan PA, Thomson JA. 2019. Worldwide relationships in the fern genus Pteridium (bracken) based on nuclear genome markers. American Journal of Botany 106(10): 1365–1376.

  • Wolf, PG and MS Barker. 2019. Current status and future prospects for fern and lycophyte genomics: introduction to an American Fern Journal special issue. American Fern Journal 109 (3): 177-182.

  • Robison TA and PG Wolf. 2019. ReFernment: an R package for annotating RNA editing in plastid genomes. Applications in Plant Sciences 7(2): e1216

  • Rowe CA, PG Wolf, RW Lichvar. 2019. Do genetic differences explain the ability of an alkaline shrub to grow in both uplands and wetlands? Western North American Naturalist: 79: 260–269.