C. Kevin Boyce
C. Kevin Boyce
Leaf of the angiosperm Boehmeria nivea overlain with the fern Polypodium formosanum. The angiosperm has eight times the vein density of the fern--which scales with rates of both photosynthesis and transpiration and provides a proxy for these physiological traits measurable in the fossil record. Mean and maximum vein densities of angiosperms are four times higher than all other plants, living or extinct, suggesting large changes in the terrestrial carbon and hydrologic cycles accompanied angiosperm evolution.
Anatomy of Devonian Prototaxites, showing the hyphal network of which its 8m tall trunks were composed. The largest hyphae, shown here in cross section, are about 50 microns wide. Carbon isotopic ratios indicate Prototaxites was a heterotroph and, thus, most likely a fungus.
The vein patterns and ontogenetic changes in shape that accompany marginal growth in buttercup flower petals. The pink stain is of cell nuclei, showing the proximal-distal gradient in cell expansion. Length of the youngest petal is 1.8mm.
At different X-ray energies, the molecular bonding of an element can affect X-ray absorption, allowing sub-micron imaging of the distribution of chemical components in fossil cell walls. The above are vascular cells in a Carboniferous fossil lycopsid tree, showing the distribution of original organics from the plant and the fossilizing calcite. Top image: 290.5 eV X-rays show the carbon-oxygen bonding of the individual calcite crystals (intensity is sensitive to crystal orientation with each identified by a discrete shade of gray). Bottom image: 288.7 eV X-rays show the distribution of carboxylate organic matter prevalent in the cell walls (white). Because the particular technique employed here -- X-PEEM -- analyzes just the sample surface, cell walls appear to be disrupted by calcite and fragmentary even though they would be recognized as intact over any depth. Horizontal scale bars equal 20 microns.
Associate Professor, Department of the Geophysical Sciences,
Committee on Evolutionary Biology, and the College
Email: ckboyce at uchicago.edu
Office #: 267
I am interested in the evolution of plant structure, development, and physiology during the original colonization of land and subsequent radiations of land plant form with particular emphasis upon the evolution of novel organ and cell types. Plants provide unparalleled advantages for paleobiological study: their organic, cellular preservation and bounded physiology and development uniquely invite the asking of questions with plant fossils that are usually only answerable in living organisms. Furthermore, multiple independent evolutions of most aspects of plant morphology, including roots, leaves, and wood, are available for comparative study. My work has embraced both living and fossil plants and integrated a wide variety of approaches: developmental and physiological investigation, comparative study of morphological diversity, and cell and tissue specific analysis of elemental, isotopic, and organic chemistry. These tools have been applied to three primary areas of ongoing research:
1. The evolution of leaf morphology, development, and physiology, as well as feedbacks between leaf and environment.
2. The evolution of cell wall biochemistry and physiology, as well as its fossil preservation and geochemical importance.
3. Structure and assembly of early terrestrial ecosystems approached largely through constraint of the physiology and phylogenetic affinity of enigmatic components of the biota.
Boyce, C. K., M. A. Zwieniecki. In press. Leaf fossil record suggests limited influence of atmospheric CO2 on terrestrial productivity prior to angiosperm evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.
Boyce, C. K., A. B. Leslie. In press. The paleontological context of angiosperm vegetative evolution. International Journal of Plant Sciences.
Leslie, A. B., C. K. Boyce. In press. Function, constraint, and the evolution of angiosperm reproductive innovations. International Journal of Plant Sciences.
Lee, J.-E, B. R. Lintner, C. K. Boyce, P. J. Lawrence. 2011. Land use change exacerbates tropical South American drought by sea surface temperature variability. Geophysical Research Letters 38: L19706.
Boyce, C. K., J.-E. Lee. 2011. Could land plant evolution have fed the marine revolution? Paleontological Research 15: 100-105. pdf
Nicotra, A. B., A. Leigh, C. K. Boyce, C. S. Jones, K. J. Niklas, D. Royer, and H. Tsukaya. 2011. The evolution and functional significance of leaf shape in the angiosperms. Functional Plant Biology 38: 535-552. pdf
Leigh, A., M. A. Zwieniecki, F. E. Rockwell, C. K. Boyce, A. B. Nicotra, N. M. Holbrook. 2011. Structural and hydraulic correlates of heterophylly in Ginkgo biloba L. New Phytologist 189: 459-470. pdf
Boyce, C. K., J.-E. Lee, T. S. Feild, T. J. Brodribb, and M. A. Zwieniecki. 2010. Angiosperms helped put the rain in the rainforests: The impact of plant physiological evolution on tropical biodiversity. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 97: 527-540. pdf
Boyce, C. K., M. Abrecht, D. Zhou, P.U.P.A. Gilbert. 2010. X-ray photoelectron emission spectromicroscopic analysis of arborescent lycopsid cell wall composition and Carboniferous coal ball preservation. International Journal of Coal Geology 83: 146-153. pdf
Lee, J.-E., C. K. Boyce. 2010. Impact of the hydraulic capacity of plants on water and carbon fluxes in tropical South America. Journal of Geophysical Research 155: D23123. pdf
Boyce, C. K., C. L. Hotton. 2010. Prototaxites was not a taphonomic artifact. American Journal of Botany 97: 1073. pdf
Boyce, C. K., J.-E. Lee. 2010. An exceptional role for flowering plant physiology in the expansion of tropical rainforests and biodiversity. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 277: 3437-3443. pdf
Hobie, E. A., C. K. Boyce. 2010. Carbon sources for the Paleozoic giant fungus Prototaxites inferred from modern analogues. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 277: 2149-2156. pdf
Boyce, C. K., T. J. Brodribb, T. S. Feild, and M. A. Zwieniecki. 2009. Angiosperm leaf vein evolution was physiologically and environmentally transformative. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 276: 1771-1776. pdf
Boyce, C. K. 2009. Seeing the forest with the leaves-clues to canopy placement from leaf fossil size and venation characteristics. Geobiology 7: 192-199. pdf
Boyce, C. K. 2008. The fossil record of plant physiology and development-What leaves can tell us. Paleontological Society Papers 14: 133-146. pdf
Boyce, C. K. 2008. How green was Cooksonia? -- the importance of size in understanding the early evolution of physiology in the vascular plant lineage. Paleobiology 34: 179-194. pdf
Boyce, C. K. 2007. Mechanisms of laminar growth in morphologically convergent leaves and flower petals. International Journal of Plant Science 168: 1151-1156. pdf
Boyce, C. K., C. L. Hotton, M. L. Fogel, G. D. Cody, R. M. Hazen, A. H. Knoll, and F. M. Hueber. 2007. Devonian landscape heterogeneity recorded by a giant fungus. Geology 35: 399-402. pdf
Zwieniecki, M. A., H. Stone, A. Leigh, C. K. Boyce, and N. M. Holbrook. 2006. Hydraulic design of pine needles: one-dimensional optimization for single-vein leaves. Plant, Cell & Environment 29: 803-809. pdf
Boyce, C. K. 2005. The evolutionary history of roots and leaves. Pp. 479-499 in N. M. Holbrook and M. A. Zweiniecki, eds. Vascular transport in plants. Elsevier Sciences/Academic Press. pdf
Boyce, C. K. 2005. Patterns of segregation and convergence in the evolution of fern and seed plant leaf morphologies. Paleobiology 31: 117-140. pdf
Zwieniecki, M. A., C. K. Boyce, and N. M. Holbrook. 2004. Functional design space of single veined leaves: role of tissue hydraulic properties in constraining leaf size and shape. Annals of Botany 94: 507-513. pdf
Boyce, C. K., M. A. Zwieniecki, G. D. Cody, C. Jacobsen, S. Wirick, A. H. Knoll, and N. M. Holbrook. 2004. Evolution of xylem lignification and hydrogel transport regulation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 101: 17555-17558. pdf
Zwieniecki, M. A., C. K. Boyce, and N. M. Holbrook. 2004. Hydraulic limitations imposed by crown placement determine final size and shape of Quercus rubra L. leaves. Plant, Cell & Environment 27: 357-365. pdf
Boyce, C. K., G. D. Cody, M. L. Fogel, R.M. Hazen, C. M. O'D. Alexander, and A. H. Knoll. 2003. Chemical evidence for cell wall lignification and the evolution of tracheids in Early Devonian plants. International Journal of Plant Sciences 164: 691-702. pdf
Zweiniecki, M. A., P. J. Melcher, C. K. Boyce, L. Sack, and N. M. Holbrook. 2002. Hydraulic architecture of leaf venation in Laurus nobilis L. Plant, Cell & Environment 25: 1445-1450. pdf
Boyce, C. K., G. D. Cody, M. Feser, C. Jacobsen, A. H. Knoll, and S. Wirick. 2002. Preservation of cell wall chemistry and microstructure in plant fossils as old as 400 million years: detection by carbon X-ray absorption spectromicroscopy. Geology 30: 1039-1042. pdf
Boyce, C. K. and A. H. Knoll. 2002. Evolution of developmental potential and the multiple independent origins of leaves in Paleozoic vascular plants. Paleobiology 28: 70-100. pdf
Boyce, C. K., A. H. Knoll, and R. M. Hazen. 2001. Nondestructive, in situ, cellular-scale mapping of elemental abundances including organic carbon in permineralized fossils. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 98: 5970-5974. pdf
Kirschvink, J. L., S. Padmanabha, C. K. Boyce, and J. Oglesby. 1997. Measurement of the threshold sensitivity of honeybees to weak, extremely low-frequency magnetic fields. Journal of Experimental Biology 200: 1363-1368. pdf
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CoursesGEOS 13200: Earth History
GEOS/EVOL 32500: Evolutionary history of terrestrial ecosystems
GEOS 36100/EVOL 46100: Chemical information in the sedimentary & fossil records
GEOS 39711: Paleobotany