I am a plant evolutionist who uses physics, engineering, and mathematics to understand the relationship between plant form and function and how this relationship has evolved in consort with the physical environment over the course of Earth's history.
My focus is on plant evolution, particuarly how the shape, size, internal structure and reproductive biology of plants have changed over the course of millions of years of evolution.
I consider myself a teacher and a scientist. I love working with students, and I love doing research.
Awards and Honors
- Fellow (2018) American Association for the Advancement of Science
- Fellow (2015) American Academy of Arts and Sciences
- Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow (2012) Cornell University
- Fellow (1995) Linnean Society of London
- Named one of the best 300 professors in the USA (2012) Princeton Review
- Benitez, M., Hernandez-Hernandez, V., Newman, S. A., & Niklas, K. J. (2018). Dynamical Patterning Modules, Biogeneric Materials, and the Evolution of Multicellular Plants. Frontiers in Plant Science. 9:Art. 871.
- Niklas, K. J., Dunker, A. K., & Yruela, I. (2018). The evolutionary origins of cell type diversification and the role of intrinsically disordered proteins. JXB: Journal of Experimental Botany. 69:1437-1446.
- Niklas, K. J., Bondos, S. E., Dunker, A. K., & Newman, S. A. (2015). Rethinking gene regulatory network theory in light of alternative splicing, intrinsically disordered protein domains, and post-translational modifications. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology. 3:8.
- Niklas, K. J. (2014). The evolutionary-developmental origins of multicellularity. American Journal of Botany. 101:177-183.
- Niklas, K. J., & Spatz, H. C. (2004). Growth and hydraulic (not mechanical) constraints govern the scaling of tree height and mass. PNAS: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 101:661-663.
- Niklas, K. J., & Enquist, B. J. (2001). Invariant scaling relationships for interspecific plant biomass production rates and body size. PNAS: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 98:2922-2927.
- Niklas, K. J. (2000). The evolution of plant body plans –– a biomechanical perspective. Annals of Botany. 85:411-438.
- Niklas, K. J. (1994). Morphological evolution through complex domains of fitness. PNAS: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 91:6772-6779.
- Niklas, K. J., Tiffney, B. H., & Knoll, A. H. (1980). Apparent changes in the diversity of fossil plants: A preliminary assessment. p. 1-89 Evolutionary Biology M. Hecht, W. Steere, and B. Wallace (ed.), Plenum Publishing, New York.
- Niklas, K. J. (2016). Plant Evolution: An Introduction to the History of Life. p. 560 University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL.