Dr. Christine Davis

Senior Lecturer, Coordinator of Introductory Biology, and Director of the Biology Learning Assistants Program

PhD Botany, Duke University, 2005
BS Botany, University of Florida, 1998

My role in the department is to support and improve undergraduate education via teaching, botany and education research, and curriculum and course development.  As the Coordinator for Introductory Biology, I work with faculty and Biology administration team to coordinate all aspects of the curriculum in BSC2010 and BSC2011 courses: Integrated Principles of Biology I and II. As a Co-Director of the Biology Learning Assistants program, I train and manage undergraduate students as leaders and curriculum facilitators in the classroom.

MagnoliaflowerAreas of Interest/Research

Bryophyte diversity and systematics – I am broadly interested in plant diversity and systematics. My graduate and postdoctoral collaborative research on bryophyte systematics helped shape our current understanding of leafy liverwort evolution and modern classification of the Marchantiophyta. In 2016, colleagues and I received funding through the National Science Foundation’s GoLife program to build a comprehensive phylogeny of the flagellate plants (GoFlag). Although Florida hosts a rich diversity of bryophytes that represents a mixture of temperate and subtropical species, there is no modern floristic treatment documenting this richness. 

Plant symbiosis – Symbioses have fundamental influence on the diversification of species, genes, communities, and ecosystems. Partnerships between plants and fungi likely were key innovations that allowed both groups to successfully colonize terrestrial habitats. These ubiquitous partnerships have co-evolved mechanisms and gene complexes specific to establishment and maintenance of symbiosis. I am interested in exploring symbiosis genes in poorly understood systems and in plants that supposedly lack fungal partnerships, such as the mosses. I also explore and quantify biodiversity of fungi that can be found in healthy living plant tissue, while causing no apparent symptoms of disease. These ubiquitous fungi are broadly called “endophytes”, and their ecological roles and relationships with their host plants are not well understood. 

Biology and botany education research – I am dedicated to improvement of teaching practices and discipline-based education research, and am involved in efforts to transform undergraduate education in biology courses using principles of scientific teaching. My pedagogical research interests include: 1) The success of integrated peer teaching in introductory biology courses. My colleagues and I conduct research to measure the effect of undergraduate Learning Assistants (LAs) in our introductory Biology course series. See here for more information about the Learning Assistants Program at UF and nationwide. 2) the effect of early fieldwork experience on recruitment and retention of biology students; and 3) documenting and reversing plant blindness – despite their beauty and crucial ecological, economic, and cultural importance, plants are often overlooked and frequently viewed as boring or irrelevant to undergraduate biology students. I seek to understand and correct this using creative pedagogical techniques.  

mosssporophytesContact Information

Office: 614 Carr Hall

Phone: (352) 846-1156
Fax: (352) 392-3704
Email for research or teaching correspondence: christine dot davis at ufl dot edu

Mailing address:
Department of Biology
Bartram-Carr Hall
Main office, 220 Bartram Hall
P.O Box 118525
Gainesville FL 32611