“Research is the process of going up alleys to see if they are blind.” — Marston Bates

Mackenzie L. Taylor

Assistant Professor
Plant Reproductive Biology and Development

Clare Boothe Luce Chair for Women in Science

Ph.D. – University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 2011
B.A. – Truman State University, 2005

Department of Biology
Creighton University
2500 California Plaza
Omaha, NE 68178-0103
Office: Hixson-Lied 424
Lab: Rigge Science 505

Courses Offered

  • BIO 205 – General Biology: Organismal & Population (Lab Coordinator)
  • BIO/EVS 341 – General Botany
  • BIO 541 – Advanced Topics in Plant Biology
  • BIO 545 – Plant Diversity and Evolution
  • IDC 491 – Women in Science Seminar

Research Interests

My general research interests are in plant reproductive biology and plant development. I am also interested in science advocacy and the relationship between religion and science.

Current Projects

My research falls into the areas of angiosperm reproductive morphology and development and pollen biology. I am particularly interested in understanding how evolution in the morphology of reproductive structures, such as the carpel or the pollen grain, affects their function. For example, the flower is tremendously diverse and comes in many shapes and sizes. Much of this diversity arises due to adaptations to attract pollen and/or pollinators, which is an important function of the flower. However, at the same time, flowers must also mediate pollen germination and the development of a pollen tube that carries the sperm to the egg. Changes in flower size, shape, or ultrastructure can affect how development of the pollen tube proceeds. I use both field experiments and microscopy techniques to determine the timing of reproductive events and the pattern of reproductive development. Most of my work to date has been with in water lilies (Nymphaeales), one of the oldest groups of flowering plants. However, I am interested in investigating these processes across all angiosperms.

Scholarly Works


Taylor M. L., R. L. Cooper, E. L. Schneider, J. M. Osborn. 2015. Pollen structure and development in Nymphaeales: Insights into character evolution in an ancient angiosperm lineage. American Journal of Botany 102: 1685 –1702.

Williams J.H., M.L. Taylor, and B.C. O’Meara. 2014. Repeated evolution of tricellular (and bicellular) pollen in flowering plants. American Journal of Botany 101: 559–571.

Taylor M.L., P.J. Hudson, J.M. Rigg, J. N. Strandquist, J.A. Schwartz, T.C. Thiemann, and J.M. Osborn. 2013. Pollen ontogeny in Victoria (Nymphaeales). International Journal of Plant Sciences. 174: 1259-1276.

Taylor M.L. and J.H. Williams. 2012. Pollen tube development in two species of Trithuria (Hydatellaceae) with contrasting breeding systems. Sexual Plant Reproduction 25: 83–96.

Taylor M.L., P.J. Hudson, J.M. Rigg, J. N. Strandquist, J.A. Schwartz, T.C. Thiemann and J.M. Osborn. 2012. Tapetum structure and ontogeny in Victoria (Nymphaeaceae). Grana 51: 107-118.

Taylor, M.L., T.D. Macfarlane, and J.H. Williams. 2010. Reproductive ecology of the basal angiosperm Trithuria submersa (Hydatellaceae). Annals of Botany 106: 909-920.

Williams, J.H., R.T. McNeilage, M.T. Lettre, and M.L. Taylor. 2010. Pollen tube growth and the pollen-tube pathway of Nymphaea odorata (Nymphaeaceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 162: 581-593.

Osborn J.M. and M.L. Taylor. 2010. Pollen and coprolite structure in Cycadeoidea (Bennettitales): Implications for understanding pollination and mating systems in Mesozoic cycadeoids. In Gee C. (ed) Plants in Deep Mesozoic Time: Morphological Innovations, Phylogeny, and Ecosystems. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN. pp. 35-50.

Taylor, M.L., and J.H. Williams. 2009. Consequences of pollination syndrome evolution for post-pollination biology in an ancient angiosperm family. International Journal of Plant Sciences 170: 584-598.

Taylor, M.L., B.L. Gutman, N.A. Melrose, A.M. Ingraham, J.A. Schwartz, and J.M. Osborn. 2008. Pollen and anther ontogeny in Cabomba caroliniana (Cabombaceae,Nymphaeales). American Journal of Botany 95: 399-413.

Taylor, M.L., and J.M. Osborn. 2006. Pollen ontogeny in Brasenia (Cabombaceae, Nymphaeales). American Journal of Botany 93: 344-356.

Selected Presentations

Taylor, M.L, M.C. McGlynn, E. Manke and D. Cooley. 2015. Post-pollination development in Nymphaeaceae: consequences of flower evolution. Botanical Society of America; Edmonton, Canada.

Osborn, J.M. & M.L. Taylor. 2015. The pollen life cycle in Nymphaeales: from microsporogenesis to fertilization. Botanical Society of America; Edmonton, Canada

Altrichter, K.M., L. Aeilts, & M.L. Taylor. 2015. Reproductive development in Ruppia maritima. Botanical Society of America; Edmonton, Canada

Taylor, M.L. & J.M. Osborn 2014. Comparative pollen structure and development in aquatic angiosperms. European Paleobotanical and Palynological Conference, Padua, Italy.

Taylor, M.L., R.L. Cooper, E.L. Schneider, & J.M. Osborn. 2014. Pollen structure and development in Nymphaeales (water lilies): insights into character evolution in an ancient angiosperm lineage. Botanical Society of America; Boise, ID.

Aeilts, L., K. Altrichter, & M.L. Taylor. 2014. Pollen structure and development in Ruppia maritima (Alismatales). Botanical Society of America; Boise, ID.

Williams J.H., M.L. Taylor, & B.C. O’Meara. 2014 Repeated evolution of tricellular (and bicellular) pollen. Botanical Society of America; Boise, ID.

Taylor, M.L. & J.M. Osborn 2012. Pollen structure and development in Nymphaeales: Insights into exine evolution in an ancient angiosperm lineage. 13th International Palynological Congress/ 9th International Organization of Palaeobotany Conference. Tokyo, Japan

Taylor, M.L. & J.H. Williams. 2011. Reproductive life history variation and breeding systems in Trithuria (Hydatellaceae). 18th International Botanical Congress; Melbourne, Australia.

Taylor, M.L. & J.H. Williams. 2010. Pollen tube growth patterns in Trithuria species (Hydatellaceae). Botanical Society of America; Providence, RI.

Taylor, M.L. & J.H. Williams 2009. Pollination to fertilization timing in Trithuria (Hydatellaceae). Botanical Society of America; Snowbird, UT.

Taylor, M.L. 2008. Pollination and pollen tube growth in Trithuria (Hydatellaceae, Nymphaeales); plans and progress. Department Seminar; Department of Environment and Conservation, Manjimup, Western Australia.

Taylor, M.L. & J.H. Williams 2007. Fertilization timing and the pollen tube pathway in Cabombaceae (Nymphaeales). Botanical Society of America; Chicago, IL.

Taylor, M.L. & J.M. Osborn 2005. Pollen and Anther Ontogeny in Brasenia (Cabombaceae, Nymphaeales). 17th International Botanical Congress; Vienna, Austria.