Skip to main content
Leigh Johnson.jpg

Leigh Johnson

Assistant Director-Bean Museum
M. L. Bean Museum, Biology

4058 LSB
Provo, UT 84602

Teaching Interests

  • Plant Biology
  • Plant Diversity
  • Plant Classification & Identification
  • Systematics

Research Interests

  • Plant Systematics
  • Taxonomy
  • Phylogenetic Inference
  • Species Delimitation
  • Phylogeography
  • Conservation Genetics


  • PhD, Botany, Washington State University, 1996
  • BS, Botany, Brigham Young University, 1991

Courses Taught

Winter 2019

  • BIO 230: Biological Diversity: Plants Section 001, 002, 003
  • BIO 494R: Mentored Research Section 007
  • BIO 699R: Master's Thesis Section 006

Fall 2018

  • BIO 430: Plant Classif. & Identif. Section 001
  • BIO 494R: Mentored Research Section 008
  • BIO 510: Biological Systemat Curation Section 001
  • BIO 559R: Adv Topics Ecology & Evolution Section 006
  • BIO 699R: Master's Thesis Section 007

Winter 2018

  • BIO 230: Biological Diversity: Plants Section 001, 002
  • BIO 699R: Master's Thesis Section 006

Fall 2017

  • BIO 430: Plant Classif. & Identif. Section 001


Journal Articles

Denham SS, Brignone NF, Johnson LA, Pozner RE. 2019. Using integrative taxonomy and multispecies coalescent models for phylogeny reconstruction and species delimitation within the “Nastanthus–Gamocarpha” clade (Calyceraceae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 130:211-226.

Rodríguez-Peña RA, Johnson RL, Johnson LA, Anderson CD, Ricks NJ, Farley KM, Robbins MD, Wolfe AD, Stevens MR. 2018. Investigating the genetic diversity and differentiation patterns in the Penstemon scariosus species complex under different sample sizes using AFLPs and SSRs. Conservation Genetics. 19(6):1335–1348.

Gowen D, Johnson LA. 2018. Navarretia panochensis (Polemoniaceae), a new species from the Panoche Hills and Panoche Valley of the San Joaquin Desert, California. Phytotaxa. 347:81-88.

Achimón F, Johnson LA, Cocucci AA, Sérsic AN, Baranzelli MC. 2018. Species tree phylogeny, character evolution, and biogeography of the Patagonian genus Anarthrophyllum Benth. (Fabaceae). Organisms Diversity & Evolution.

Johnson LA, Gowen D. 2017. Ex uno, multis: taxonomic revision in Navarretia divaricata (Polemoniaceae) and the recognition of four additional cryptic or near-cryptic species. Phytokeys. 91:39–83.

Simpson MG, Johnson LA, Villaverde T, Guilliams CM. 2017. American Amphitropical Disjuncts: Perspectives from vascular plant analyses and prospects for future research. American Journal of Botany. 104:1600-1650.

Johnson LA, Porter JM. 2017. Fates of angiosperm species following long-distance dispersal: examples from American amphitropical Polemoniaceae. American Journal of Botany.

Denham SS, Zavala-Gallo L, Johnson LA, Pozner RE. 2016. Insights into the phylogeny and evolutionary history of Calyceraceae. Taxon.

Johnson RL, Stevens MR, Johnson LA, Robbins MD, Anderson CD, Ricks NJ, Farley KM. 2016. Molecular and morphological evidence for Penstemon luculentus (Plantaginaceae): a replacement name for Penstemon fremontii var. glabrescens. PhytoKeys. 63:47-62.

Johnson LA, Gowen D, Johnson RL, Brabazon H, Goates ED. 2016. Navarretia crystallina and N. miwukensis (Polemoniaceae): new species endemic to California with affinity for soils derived from pyroclastic deposits. Phytotaxa. 257(3):249-260.

Nicola MV, Sede SM, Pozner R, Johnson LA. 2014. Phylogeography and palaeodistribution modelling of Nassauvia subgenus Strongyloma (Asteraceae): exploring phylogeographical scenarios in the Patagonian steppe. Ecology and Evolution. 4:4270–4286.

Baranzelli MC, Johnson LA, Cosacov A, Sérsic AN. 2014. Historical and ecological divergence among populations of Monttea chilensis (Plantaginaceae), an endemic endangered shrub bordering the Atacama Desert, Chile. Evolutionary Ecology. 28:751–774.

Johnson LA, Gowen D, Jensen AB. 2013. Cryptic speciation: distinguishing serpentine affiliated sister species Navarretia paradoxiclara and N. paradoxinota from N. intertexta (Polemoniaceae). Phytotaxa. 91:27–38.

Cosacov A, Johnson LA, Paiaro V, Cocucci AA, Cordoba FE, Sersic AN. 2013. Precipitation rather than temperature influenced the phylogeography of the endemic shrub Anarthrophyllum desideratum in the Patagonian steppe. Journal of Biogeography. 40:168–182.

Johnson LA, Chan LM, Pozner R, Glazier LD. 2012. Allotetraploids in Patagonia with affinities to western North American diploids: did dispersal or genome doubling occur first?. Botanical Review. 78:288–306.

Johnson LA, Chan LM, Burr K, Hendrickson D. 2012. Navarretia furnissii (Polemoniaceae), a new diploid species from the intermountain western United States distinguished from tetraploid Navarretia saximontana. Phytotaxa. 42:51–61.

Pozner R, Zanotti C, Johnson LA. 2012. Evolutionary origin of the Asteraceae capitulum: insights from Calyceraceae. American Journal of Botany. 99(1):1-13.

Sersic AN, Cosacov A, Cocucci AA, Johnson LA, Pozner R, Avila LJ, Sites JW, Morando M. 2011. Emerging phylogeographic patterns of plants and terrestrial vertebrates from Patagonia. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 103(2):475-494.

Johnson LA, Cairns-Heath H. 2010. Decrypting cryptic species: morphological and molecular evidence for recognizing Navarretia linearifolia as distinct from N. sinistra. (Polemoniaceae). Systematic Botany. 35(3):618-628.

Cosacov A, Sersic AN, Sosa V, Johnson LA, Cocucci AA. 2010. Multiple periglacial refugia in the Patagonian steppe and post-glacial colonization of the Andes: the phylogeography of Calceolaria polyrhiza. Journal of Biogeography. 37:1463-1477.

Johnson LA, Chan L, Weese TL, Busby LD, McMurry SL. 2008. Nuclear and cpDNA sequences combined provide strong inference of higher phylogenetic relationships in the phlox family (Polemoniaceae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 48:997-1012.


Johnson LA. Vernal pool Navarretia and their near relatives: What we know and what we have yet to learn about relationships and genetic structure. Vernal Pool Landscapes: Past, Present, and Future. Chico, California. 2018.

Johnson LA. Cryptic species recognition and rare plant biology: Impractical taxonomic splitting or an inconvenient truth?. California Native Plant Society Conservation Conference 2018. Los Angeles, California. 2018.

Johnson LA. Stasis, evolution, and extirpation: exploring the fates of angiosperm species post long-distance dispersal with examples from Polemoniaceae. Botany 2016. Savannah, Georgia. 2016.