Chris Muir

Chris Muir

Assistant Professor

University of Hawaiʻi

About the Quantitative Evolutionary Physiology Lab

My lab is located in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Hawaiʻi in beautiful Mānoa. We study how plants work and why they evolved to work that way using a combination of experimental, comparative, and quantitative approaches. Please check out the Projects page for more information on current research. If these types of questions interest you, please contact me about working together!


  • Evolutionary Physiology
  • Adaptation
  • Biostatistics


  • PhD in Evolutionary Biology, 2013

    Indiana University

  • BS in Biology, 2006

    College of William & Mary

Recent Publications

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Climate warming weakens local adaptation

Anthropogenic climate change is generating mismatches between the environmental conditions that populations historically experienced …

A stomatal model of anatomical tradeoffs between gas exchange and pathogen colonization

Stomatal pores control leaf gas exchange and are one route for infection of internal plant tissues by many foliar pathogens, setting up …

Expansion dynamics and marginal climates drive adaptation across geographic ranges

Every species experiences limits to its geographic distribution. Some evolutionary models predict that populations at range edges are …

Future-proofing code: Principles of coding for plant ecophysiology with {photosynthesis} as a case study

Plant physiological ecology is founded on a rich body of physical and chemical theory, but it is challenging to connect theory with …

Developmental changes in the reflectance spectra of temperate deciduous tree leaves, and implications for thermal emissivity and leaf temperature

Leaf optical properties impact leaf energy balance and thus leaf temperature. The effect of leaf development on mid‐infrared (MIR) …


Leaf form, physiology, and photosynthesis

Leaf size, shape, and internal anatomy are extremely diverse but strongly constrained by functions such as light interception, CO$_2$ diffusion, and managing scarce resources like water and nitrogen. Two common assumptions are that plants i) cannot build tougher leaves without sacrificing photosynthesis and ii) cannot increase photosynthesis without decreasing water-use efficiency.

Local adaptation

The theory of evolutionary processes acting within species (microevolution) is more mature than that for macroevolution, but there is surprisingly little evidence of divergent natural selection on physiological traits under natural conditions.

Variation and constraint on stomatal evolution

Using stomata to study phenotypic evolution.

Recent Posts

licorer: Read and process LI-COR photosynthesis data files in R

New R package: licorer!

Welcome Daniel Trupp!

Welcome Daniel Trupp!

Welcome Skylar Hara!

Welcome Skylar Hara!


I am teaching the following courses at the University of Hawaiʻi:

  • BIOL/BOT 220: Biostatistics (Spring)
    Lecture: Asynchronous
    Lab: W 1:30-3:30 PM HST

  • BIOL 470: Evolution (Fall)

Recent & Upcoming Talks

How will climate change affect the variance in fitness? An empirical test in the perennial herb Mimulus cardinalis

George Gilchrist's fly lab at the College of William and Mary studied adaptation to climate on ecological time scales. Now a major …

licorer: Software to read and process LI-COR photosynthesis data files in R

Measuring photosynthesis is important in a variety of fields, such as botany and agriculture, as there is much to be learned from it. …

Independent evolution of ab-and adaxial stomatal density enables adaptation

Are organisms free to reach their adaptive optima or constrained by hard-wired developmental programs? Recent evidence suggests that …