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 …

Scaling between stomatal size and density in forest plants

The size and density of stomatal pores limit the maximum rate of leaf carbon gain and water loss ($g_\text{max}$) in land plants. The …

Principles of resilient coding for plant ecophysiologists

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

Developmental integration cannot explain major features of stomatal anatomical evolution in seed plants

Developmental integration can cause traits to covary over macroevolutionary time and in some cases prevent populations from reaching …

Phylogenetic history of vascular plant metabolism revealed using a macroevolutionary common garden

While the fundamental biophysics of C$3$ photosynthesis is highly conserved across plants, substantial leaf structural and enzymatic …


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

Welcome Jacob Watts!

Welcome Jacob Watts!

Welcome McKenna Bonn-Savage!

Welcome McKenna Bonn-Savage!

Welcome Jennifer Guo!

Welcome Jennifer Guo!


I am currently teaching the following course(s) at the University of Hawaiʻi:

  • BOT 100: Freshman Seminar
    Lecture: Tuesday, 3:30-4:30 PM HST

Recent & Upcoming Talks

Eons of pore decisions: how selection shapes the stomatal morphospace

The paleontologist David Raup introduced the concept of a morphospace, the theoretical limits on morphological variation among …

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 …

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 …