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

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

Stomatal anatomy coordinates leaf size with Rubisco kinetics in the Balearic Limonium

Trait integration arises through both selection on functional coordination and shared developmental pathways. Different anatomical …

tealeaves: an R package for modelling leaf temperature using energy budgets

Plants must regulate leaf temperature to optimize photosynthesis, control water loss, and prevent damage caused by overheating or …

The case for the continued use of the genus name Mimulus for all monkeyflowers

The case for the continued use of the genus name Mimulus for all monkeyflowers

Is amphistomy an adaptation to high light? Optimality models of stomatal traits along light gradients

Stomata regulate the supply of CO2 for photosynthesis and the rate of water loss out of the leaf. The presence of stomata on both leaf …


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 470: Evolution (Fall 2020)
    MWF 9:30-10:20
    KUY 307

  • BIOL 470: Evolution (Spring 2020)
    MWF 10:30-11:20
    HIG 110

  • BIOL 297/BOT 297: Biostatistics (Spring 2020)
    TR 12:00-1:15
    KUY 406

  • BOT455: Analysis of Biological Data (Spring 2019)
    MWF 10:30-11:20
    St. John 007

Recent & Upcoming Talks

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 …

Assimilation in silico and in practice: Open source computational tools for simulating CO2 assimilation and fitting models to data

Click the “PDF” link above to download the poster I'm presenting at the Gordon Research Conference: CO2 Assimilation in Plants from Genome to Biome. And if you're at the conference, please swing by!