Ohio University | College of Arts and Sciences | Department of Environmental and Plant Biology

Porter Hall 315 | Athens OH 45701 | Tel 740 593 1126 | Fax 740 593 1130

Harvey E. Ballard Jr.

Associate Professor

Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1996

Plant Systematics and Evolution

Porter Hall 406

740 593 4659

Other Websites

Internships for PBIO majors
Global Studies in Plant Biology
Edible Wild Plants of Southeastern Ohio

Faculty Research Focus Areas

Phylogenetic Systematics


PBIO 2010 (Plant Biology for Gardeners)
PBIO 2010L (Plant Biology for Gardeners lab)
PBIO 3190/5190 (Ohio Flora)
PBIO 4090/5090 (Plant Systematics and Vascular Plant Family Survey)
PBIO 4095/5095 (Field Studies in Plant Diversity)
PBIO 4850/5850 (Global Studies in Plant Biology Capstone)

Departmental Service

Global Studies in Plant Biology, Coordinator
Herbarium Director and Curator of Vascular Plants
HTC Director of Studies
Honors Program Coordinator
Undergraduate Advising Coordinator
Recruitment and Retention Committee, Chair
Internships Committee, Chair
Evaluation Committee

Professional Service

Ohio State University Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, Adjunct Faculty Member
BRAHMS Database System International Advisory Group
Violaceae Working Group, Species Plantarum Programme
Editorial Board of Acta Botanica Cracoviensia
American Society of Plant Taxonomists Program Director
US Virtual Herbarium Database Network Program
Missouri Botanical Garden, Research Associate
Carnegie Museum, Research Associate
Ohio Rare Plant Technical Advisory Committee
Ohio Flora Committee

Research Program Summary

The collective research in our lab encompasses many diverse aspects of plant organismal biology including traditional systematics, phylogenetics, molecular ecology, population genetics and conservation genetics. Some of us also delve into more interdisciplinary investigations concerning species formation, hybridization and polyploid evolution. I collaborate actively with Dr. Sarah Wyatt on the molecular genetic basis of the chasmogamous-cleistogamous mixed breeding system in Viola.

The element that unites most of our research efforts is the use of comparative molecular evidence to answer organism- or lineage-level questions. For research questions we employ plastid and nuclear gene regions such as DNA sequences, ISSRs (Inter-Simple Sequence Repeats) and microsatellites.  Our recent research into evolutionary processes and studies of hybridization in Viola utilize microsatellite markers isolated through 454 shotgun genome sequencing--a quick and cost-effective alternative to traditional approaches. We have applied this same approach to the genus Lycopodiella and are now assisting the US National Arboretum through contract research to isolate microsatellites in the ornamental shrub genus Corylopsis.

More recently I have been working with various collaborators on using “next gen” sequencing to isolate microsatellite loci in wild species of violets and other groups, and to develop novel ways to use this new approach in examining polyploid species formation through possible homoeologous recombination, as well as examining later-generation hybrid processes such as introgression or meiotic segregation.

On the applied (herbarium) side of things, we at the Floyd Bartley Herbarium have spearheaded the use of BRAHMS (Botanical Research and Herbarium Management Software) widely across Ohio and in other states, assisting herbaria interested in starting up a databasing/imaging initiative to move forward. With a National Science Foundation grant to OU and three other regional universities in Appalachian Ohio, we have databased all our Ohio and most of our national collections and are preparing to get our collective specimen data and images online as a regional network.

Selected References

Wahlert, G. A., T. Marcussen, J. de Paula-Souza, M. Feng, and H. E. Ballard, Jr. 2014. A phylogeny of the Violaceae (Malpighiales) inferred from plastid DNA sequences: Implications for generic diversity and intrafamilial taxonomy. Systematic Botany 39: 239-252.

Ballard, H. E., Jr., J. Paula Souza, and G. A. Wahlert. 2014. Violaceae. Pp. 303-322 In: Kubitzki, K. (ed.), The families and genera of vascular plants.  Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

Wang, Y., H. E. Ballard, Jr., R. R. McNally, and S. E. Wyatt. 2013. Gibberellins are involved but not sufficient to trigger a shift between chasmogamous-cleistogamous flower types in Viola pubescens. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 140: 1-8.

McCauley, R. A. and H. E. Ballard, Jr.. 2013. Viola calcicola (Violaceae), a new endemic violet from the Guadalupe Mountains of New Mexico and Texas. Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas 7: 9-20.

Ballard, H. E., Jr. 2013. Violaceae, Pp. 1218-1243 In: Flora of Missouri-Fagaceae through Zygophyllaceae, vol. 3. Yatsckievych, G. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis.

Ballard, H. E., Jr. and H. H. Iltis. 2012. Viola lilliputana sp. nov. (Viola sect. Andinium, Violaceae), one of the world’s smallest violets, from the Andes of Peru. Brittonia 64: 353-358.

Wahlert, G. A. and H. E. Ballard, Jr. 2012. A chloroplast phylogeny of Rinorea (Violaceae) with an emphasis on the African and Malagasy species. Systematic Botany 37: 964-973.

Donnell, A., P. D. Cantino, and H. E. Ballard, Jr. 2012. Callianthe (Malvaceae): A new genus of Neotropical Malveae. Systematic Botany 37: 712-722.

Keene, J., H. E. Ballard, Jr., and J. L. Clark. 2012. Two new species of Monopyle (Gesneriaceae) from northern Ecuador. Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas 5: 513-520.

Marcussen, T., K. S. Jakobsen, J. Danihelka, H. E. Ballard, K. Blaxland, A. K. Brysting, and B. Oxelman. 2012 [“2011”]. Inferring species networks from gene trees in high-polyploid North American and Hawaiian violets (Viola, Violaceae). Systematic Biology 60: 1-20.

Ballard, H. E., Jr. 2012. Violaceae. Pp. 913-916 In: Piedrahita, A. I., R. C. Ortiz, R. C. Posada, and M. Merello (eds.), Flora de Antioquia: Catálogo de la Plantas Vasculares, vol. II. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri.

Ballard, H. E., A. C. Cortes-Palomec, M. Feng, Y. Wang, and S. Wyatt.  2011.  The chasmogamous/cleistogamous mixed breeding system, a widespread and evolutionarily successful reproductive strategy in angiosperms. In: Thangadurai, D., C. A. Busso, and M. Hijri (eds.), Frontiers in biodiversity studies. Bioscience Publications, Agrobios, India. Pp. 16-41.

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