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C. Kevin Boyce

Title:Associate Professor
Primary Affiliation:Department of Geological & Environmental Sciences
Office Location:
E-mail:ckboyce (at)


My research is focused on the biological and environmental impacts of the evolution of plant structure, development, and physiology from the Paleozoic colonization of land through the subsequent radiations of land plant form up to and including the Cretaceous radiation of flowering plants.  This work involves both living and fossil plants and a wide variety of approaches: developmental and physiological investigation, climate modeling, comparative study of morphological diversity, and cell and tissue-specific analysis of elemental, isotopic, and organic chemistry. These tools have been applied to three connected areas of research that each inform wider questions concerning the evolution of terrestrial environments: the evolution of leaf morphology, development, and physiology with feedbacks to climate and primary productivity, the evolution of cell wall biochemistry and its influence on organic matter burial as a sink in the carbon cycle, and the establishment of early terrestrial life and ecosystems.


  • 2001    Harvard University                                  Ph.D.    Organismic & Evolutionary Biology
  • 1995    California Institute of Technology           B.S.       Biology
  • 1995    California Institute of Technology           B.S.       Literature

Professional Experience

  • 2013-            Associate professor, Stanford University
  • 2003-2013    Assistant/associate professor, University of Chicago
  • 2001-2003    National Research Council associate, NASA Astrobiology Institute

Honors & Awards

  • 2013-2018    Fellow, MacArthur Foundation
  • 2012              W. S. Cooper Award of the Ecological Society of America
  • 2011              Charles Schuchert Award of the Paleontological Society
  • 2011-            Fellow, Paleontological Society
  • 2001              Carnegie Geophysical Laboratory Postdoctoral Fellowship (declined)
  • 1996-1999    NSF Predoctoral Fellowship

Professional Activities

  • 2014-                     Extended adviser, Deep Time Exhibit, Smithsonian NMNH
  • 2014-                     Member, Cooper Award committee, Ecological Society of America
  • 2012-2015             Member, Strimple Award Committee, Paleontological Society
  • 2011-                     Associate editor, Paleobiology
  • 2006-2007             Chair, Paleobotanical Section, Botanical Society of America
  • 2004-2006             Member, Moseley Award committee, Botanical Society of America
  • 2004-                     Research Associate, Geology, Field Museum of Natural History
  • 2003                       Member, Cookson Award committee, Botanical Society of America
  • 1999-2001             Predoctoral Fellow, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Geophysical Laboratory


  • Zwieniecki, M. A., C. K. Boyce. 2014. Evolution of a unique anatomical precision in angiosperm leaf venation lifts constraints on vascular plant ecology. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 281: 20132829.
  • Lee, J.-E., C. Frankenberg, C. van der Tol, J. A. Berry, L. Guanter, C. K. Boyce, J. B. Fisher, E. Morrow, J. R. Worden, S. Asefi, G. Badgley, S. Saatchi. 2013. Forest productivity and water stress in Amazonia: observations from GOSAT chlorophyll fluorescence. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 280: 20130171.
  • Boyce, C. K., M. A. Zwieniecki. 2012. Leaf fossil record suggests limited influence of atmospheric CO2 on terrestrial productivity prior to angiosperm evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 109: 10403-10408.
  • Lee, J.-E., B. R. Lintner, J. D. Neelin, X. Jiang, P. Gentine, C. K. Boyce, J. B. Fisher, J. T. Perron, T. L. Kubar, J. Lee, J. Worden. 2012. Reduction of tropical land region precipitation variability via transpiration. Geophysical Research Letters 39: L19704.
  • Boyce, C. K., A. B. Leslie. 2012. The paleontological context of angiosperm vegetative evolution. International Journal of Plant Sciences 173: 561-568.
  • Leslie, A. B., C. K. Boyce. 2012. Ovule function and the evolution of angiosperm reproductive innovations. International Journal of Plant Sciences 173: 640-648.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Boyce, C. K., J.-E. Lee, T. S. Feild, T. J. Brodribb, 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 Gardens 97: 527-540.
  • 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.
  • 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 115: D23123.
  • Boyce, C. K., C. L. Hotton. 2010. Prototaxites was not a taphonomic artifact. American Journal of Botany 79: 1073.
  • 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 of London B 277: 3437-3443.
  • Boyce, C. K. 2010. The evolution of plant development in paleontological context. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 13: 102-107.
  • Hobbie, E. A., C. K. Boyce. 2010. Carbon sources for the Paleozoic giant fungus Prototaxites inferred from modern analogues. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 277: 2149-2156.
  • Boyce, C. K., T. J. Brodribb, T. S. Feild, M. A. Zwieniecki. 2009. Angiosperm leaf vein evolution was physiologically and environmentally transformative. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 276: 1771-1776.
  • 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.
  • Boyce, C. K. 2008. The fossil record of plant physiology and development—What leaves can tell us. Paleontological Society Papers 14: 133-146.
  • 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.
  • Boyce, C. K., C. L. Hotton, M. L. Fogel, G. D. Cody, R. M. Hazen, A. H. Knoll, F. M. Hueber. 2007. Devonian landscape heterogeneity recorded by a giant fungus. Geology 35: 399-402.
  • Boyce, C. K. 2007. Mechanisms of laminar growth in morphologically convergent leaves and flower petals. International Journal of Plant Science 168: 1151-1156.
  • Zwieniecki, M. A., H. Stone, A. Leigh, C. K. Boyce, N. M. Holbrook. 2006. Hydraulic design of pine needles: one-dimensional optimization for single-vein leaves. Plant, Cell & Environment 29: 803-809.
  • Boyce, C. K. 2005. The evolutionary history of roots and leaves. Pp. 479-499 in N. M. Holbrook & M. A. Zweiniecki, eds. Vascular transport in plants. Elsevier Sciences/Academic Press.
  • Boyce, C. K. 2005. Patterns of segregation and convergence in the evolution of fern and seed plant leaf morphologies. Paleobiology 31: 117-140.
  • Zwieniecki, M. A., C. K. Boyce, 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.
  • Boyce, C. K., M. A. Zwieniecki, G. D. Cody, C. Jacobsen, S. Wirick, A. H. Knoll, N. M. Holbrook. 2004. Evolution of xylem lignification and hydrogel transport regulation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 101: 17555-17558.
  • Zwieniecki, M. A., C. K. Boyce, 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.
  • Boyce, C. K., G. D. Cody, M. L. Fogel, R.M. Hazen, C. M. O’D. Alexander, 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.
  • Zwieniecki, M. A., P. J. Melcher, C. K. Boyce, L. Sack, N. M. Holbrook. 2002. Hydraulic architecture of leaf venation in Laurus nobilis L. Plant, Cell & Environment 25: 1445-1450.
  • Boyce, C. K., G. D. Cody, M. Feser, C. Jacobsen, A. H. Knoll, 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.
  • Boyce, C. K., A. H. Knoll. 2002. Evolution of developmental potential and the multiple independent origins of leaves in Paleozoic vascular plants. Paleobiology 28: 70-100.
  • Boyce, C. K., A. H. Knoll, 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.
  • Kirschvink, J. L., S. Padmanabha, C. K. Boyce, J. Oglesby. 1997. Measurement of the threshold sensitivity of honeybees to weak, extremely low-frequency magnetic fields. Journal of Experimental Biology 200: 1363-1368.

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