Michael (Mike) Moore

  • Longman Professor of Biology
  • Chair of Biology


  • BS, College of William & Mary, Virginia, 1995
  • MS, University Illinois, Urbana, 1999
  • PhD, University Texas, Austin, 2005


For additional research, publication, and course information:  http://www2.oberlin.edu/faculty/mmoore/

Research in the Moore Lab lies within the field of plant systematics-the study of plant evolutionary diversity.  We are interested in exploring various problems in flowering plant evolution using molecular phylogenetic and phylogeographic approaches. 

In other words, members of the Moore Lab generate DNA sequence data for various gene regions and then utilize this information to reconstruct the evolutionary relationships among and within species in a particular plant group of interest. 

Once these evolutionary relationships are established (they are usually depicted as a bifurcating "tree"), it is possible to use this information to address important evolutionary questions, such as when did a particular trait first appear within a given group, and did this trait evolve once or multiple times? 

Systematists can also use phylogenetic information as the basis to infer the geological ages of particular plant groups, to study the molecular evolution of a particular gene or protein, and to examine the biogeographic history of a particular plant group, to name but a few applications of systematic methods.

As you can see, systematics is a broad field, incorporating techniques and ideas from such diverse branches of biology as evolutionary biology, anatomy, ecology, molecular biology, biogeography, and bioinformatics. Consequently, systematists have the opportunity to do fieldwork, labwork, and computational work.

Moore Lab (fall 2009 from left): Jeffrey Sanders, Sophia Weinmann, Carolyn Stange, Riva Bruenn, Mike Moore, Heather-Rose Kates, Matt Croley, Katarina Lunde

The Moore Lab is full of opportunities for the motivated student. Students in my lab learn many lab techniques, ranging from DNA isolation to sequence editing/analysis to cloning. In addition to lab work, we often go on expeditions to the desert Southwest during the summer to collect plants for our research.

Spring 2024

Senior Project — ACHS 300
Plant Systematics — BIOL 323
Plant Systematics Laboratory — BIOL 324

Fall 2024

Organismal Biology — BIOL 100
Senior Project — ACHS 300


Mike Moore featured in 'In Defense of Plants' podcast

January 8, 2021

Professor of Biology Mike Moore was featured in the most recent episode of the "In Defense of Plants" podcast. He discussed his lab's ongoing collaborative research into understanding plant life on unusual soils.


My Cousin the Comb Jelly

November 15, 2023

The research of Darrin Schultz ’13 deepens our insights into animal evolution.

2022 Winter Term Recap

March 11, 2022

More than 2,290 students explored projects and research opportunities outside of their normal course of study during Winter Term. In this wrap-up gallery we look back at some of the group projects students performed.