Dr. Alina Freire-Fierro
Interests: Systematics of Neotropical Polygalaceae, Monnina in particular; Andean flora
Ph.D. Drexel University 2015
M. S., University of Missouri-St. Louis, M. emC. Universidade de Sao Paulo.
My research is focused on Neotropical Polygalaceae, in particular Monnina, as well as Ecuadorian Saxifragaceae s.l. and neotropical floristics. During my studies and career, I have done extensive fieldwork in the Andean region of Ecuador, as well as in the Campos rupestres of Brazil. I have also done field trips to Bolivia and Costa Rica. My morphological research, and molecular studies suggest that Monnina is a monophyletic group with a high variability in habit (herbs to small trees) and fruit morphology (drupes to samaras). The papilionaceous flowers are very similar, except for two species endemic to northeastern Brazil that exhibit flowers very different.
Besides the revision of Monnina, I have been working with floristic treatments of Polygalaceae from Bolivia, Antioquia (Colombia), and the Southern Cone. I have recently started working at the Academy. Before that, I was a Research Specialist at the Missouri Botanical Garden (www.mobot.org), where I am now a Research Associate.
Throughout my career I have met many colleagues from Latin American and, in order to facilitate communication within the community, I have created and administer the discussion group Anuncios Botanicos (espanol.groups.yahoo.com/ group/Anunciosbotanicos/).
Dr. Walter F. Bien
Director, Laboratory of Pinelands Research
Biology Department, Drexel University, Stratton 416A
3141 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Interests: Plant community ecology, flora of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, rare plant conservation, synecology of Sphagnum
My botanical interest focuses on plant community ecology with special interest on the role that fire plays in facilitating habitat for disturbance-dependent species. Students in my lab are currently researching: fire effects on seed banking and dispersal mechanisms in Rhynchospora knieskernii; effect of anthropogenic disturbance on pollinator success in Gentiana autumnalis, and systematics of Mesoamerican Monnina (Polygalaceae).
Dr. Timothy Block
The John J. Willaman Chair of Botany
Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania
100 East Northwestern Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118
Interests: Flora of Pennsylvania Project, GIS.
My research interests are in the flora of Pennsylvania and in GIS mapping of plant distribution. See the Flora of Pennsylvania web site at www.paflora.org.
Dr. Walt Cressler
Associate Professor, West Chester University
Francis Harvey Green Library, West Chester University
9 West Rosedale Avenue, West Chester, PA 19383
Interests: Paleobotany and paleoecology of the Late Devonian Period; Development of terrestrial ecosystems.
My research interests focus on the evolution and ecology of plants and continental ecosystems of the Late Devonian Period, the time of the earliest forests and of the earliest seed plants. I work with Academy vertebrate paleontologist Ted Daeschler and others on characterizing the habitats of the earliest tetrapods which also date from this period.
Dr. David Hewitt
Botany Department, Academy of Natural Sciences
1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway,
Philadelphia PA 19103, USA.
Interests: urban and suburban ecology (especially in eastern North America), ascomycete ecology, history of botany.
My research includes and has included field biology (plants, fungi, soils), history of botany (Lewis David von Schweinitz) microbiology (algae, fungi), paleontology, and cell/molecular/developmental biology. My fieldwork has primarily been in eastern North America and Europe, generally in pretty well inhabited areas (urban and suburban areas).
Ms. Carrie Kiel
Graduate Research Associate
Interests: Herbarium techniques and plant systematics, in particular Acanthaceae.
Currently I am working on a very species rich group of plants within the Jusicieae lineage. These plants are predominantly from tropical regions and have a rich diversity of corolla morphologies. Working at the Academy stimulates my interests in taxonomy, research, and history. I have continued my research work on Acanthaceae and study botany in graduate school.
Mr. James C. Lendemer
Graduate Research Associate
Interests: Floristics and taxonomy of lichens and lichenicolous (specifically Usnea and Lepraria); typification.
My research focuses on the taxonomy and floristics of lichenized and Lichenicolous fungi, particularly those that occur in eastern North America. Primarily I am interested in documenting the biodiversity of Appalachian Mountains of eastern North America and the coastal plain of the southeastern United States. However I my interested have led me to conduct studies elsewhere in eastern North America, including the limestone barrens of the Northern Peninsula of the Island of Newfoundland (Canada), southern New Jersey, and the state of Pennsylvania. In recent years I have also become interested in taxonomy and evolution of the genus Lepraria. Using a multifaceted approach involving extensive field work to observe the species in nature and better understand their specific ecological role/requirements, molecular techniques, micro- and macro- morphological characters (particularly Scanning Electron Microscopy), chemical data, and culture data my colleagues and I hope to arrive at a better understanding this highly successful genus of lichenized fungi that has evolved to reproduce entirely asexually. I have also recently begun my PhD studies at The New York Botanical Garden which will involve a revision of the genus Lecania in North America using an approach similar to that which my colleagues and I have developed for Lepraria. In addition to my lichenological studies I edit and publish the primarily online lichenological journal Opuscula Philolichenum, am an associate editor of Bartonia (The Journal of the Philadelphia Botanical Club), and chair of the Bryophyte and Lichen Technical Commission (BLTC) of the Pennsylvania Biological Survey (PABS).
Dr. Ben LePage
Senior Environmental and Remediation Project Manager
PECO Energy Company
2301 Market Avenue, S9-1, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Interests: Plant Evolution, wetlands, plant/habitat conservation
I want to better understand the evolution of our modern boreal and temperate forests through integration of the complex interactions between biotic and abiotic systems across multiple spatial and temporal scales.
Plant evolutionary studies have been traditionally compartmentalized and neglect to address the interrelationships, processes and feedbacks that cross traditional scientific boundaries. By integrating botanical, genetic, geological, paleontological and geochemical tools, my research identifies key drivers, processes, interactions and feedback mechanisms that regulate plant evolution.
Dr. James Macklin
(former Botany Collection Manager at ANSP)
Interests: Hawthorns (Crataegus, Rosaceae) and collections and informatics.
My taxonomic research continues to focus on species level variability influenced by complex breeding systems in one of the most economically important families of plants, the Rosaceae (Rose Family), especially Rubus (Raspberries and Blackberries) and Crataegus (Hawthorns). I have always been interested in historical botany and especially how botanists have influenced today’s nomenclatural nightmares.
My other growing area of interest is in biodiversity informatics. I am involved in several projects that involve data capture through taking high-resolution images of specimens, capturing their label and ancillary data in custom databases, and serving this information through secure, interactive websites.
Ms. Christine Manville
Interests: Bryophytes of Pennsylvania
My primary botanical interest is in the distribution of bryophytes (i.e., mosses, liverworts and hornworts) and lichens. I have been associated with the Academy's department of botany since 1984. I have worked on other museum collections, as diverse as vascular plants and molluscs. My primary emphasis is on the distribution of bryophytes and lichens in Pennsylvania. Previous research included work on peat bogs and lake sediments for pollen and subfossil remains. These bits of evidence can be assembled to provide detailed information on vegetation history. I am also interested in the history of botanical work in Pennsylvania.
Ms. Elizabeth P. McLean
I became fascinated by plants. I studied three years at the Barnes Arboretum under Jack Fogg. Participation in the activities of the Philadelphia Botany Club (President 1979-1981), and guidance from Ernie Schuyler increased my understanding of plant material. I annotated the type collection in the herbarium at the Academy under James Mears (1978 -1983). I have focused on plants collected by John Bartram, and co-authored a paper with Dr. Schuyler "The Versatile Bartrams and Their Botanical Legacy" to be published by the American Philosophical Society. My most recent project for the Academy was a field trip with Ernie Schuyler in 1997 to Montana to do on-site research for the Academy's Lewis and Clark exhibit at he Philadelphia Flower Show in 1998.
Dr. Lucinda McDade
Interests: Vascular plants, Acanthaceae systematics.
My research has three interrelated centers of focus. First, I seek to understand the evolutionary history of plants by unraveling their phylogenetic relationships. I have studied the large (>4000 species), worldwide (but mostly tropical and subtropical) plant family Acanthaceae for nearly 25 years, both at the species level and at higher levels.
Second, phylogenies permit us to understand the evolution of specific traits of plants or of interactions between plants and other organisms. I have a long-standing interest in plant reproductive biology, in particular the evolution of pollinator relationships and breeding systems in members of the Acanthaceae. I also have a collaborative project studying the evolution of floral scent in multiple lineages in which hawkmoth pollination has been gained and lost. This project depends upon the fragrance and taxonomic expertise of colleagues Rob Raguso and Rachel Levin email: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Third, hybridization is widely understood among botanists to be an important evolutionary mode but current phylogenetic methods cannot discover hybridization. I have studied the impact of hybridization on phylogenetics from both theoretical and empirical perspectives.
My research has field, lab and herbarium components. Since my graduate student days, I've done a great deal of fieldwork in the New World tropics. More recently, I've begun to work in Africa as well; I spent three very productive months in South Africa in 2000.
Dr. Gerry Moore
Interests: Floristics of the northeastern United States, especially the New York Metropolitan region and southern New Jersey; taxonomy of Cyperaceae, especially Rhynchospora, and Rosaceae, especially Rubus; botanical nomenclature.
My floristic interests focus on the local region. I am especially interested in documenting change, such as the spread of non-native invasive species and decline of native species. My current taxonomic interests focus on revisional work on Rhynchospora sect. Paniculatae found in the neotropics and developing a better understanding of our local Rubus species. I am active in botanical nomenclature, being a former nomenclature co-editor for Taxon and former member of the Committee for Spermatophyta. I am also the incoming editor of Bartonia, the journal of the Philadelphia Botanical Club.
Dr. Robert F. C. Naczi
Curator of North American Botany
The New York Botanical Garden
2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx, NY 10458-5126
Interests: Flora of eastern North America, systematics of Cyperaceae, systematics of Sarraceniaceae.
My floristics research centers on revising the Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada (Gleason & Cronquist 1991). The goals of this project are to produce a new Manual that reflects all of the advances of botanical science during the last two decades, and to create an accompanying online Flora.
My systematics research concerns revision of groups within the sedge genera Carex and Rhynchospora (Cyperaceae) and the Western Hemisphere Pitcher Plants (Sarraceniaceae). The groups on which I focus are those whose classifications are poorly resolved and for which novel data sets show promise for resolving these problems.
Dr. Terry O’Brien
Assistant Professor, Rowan University
Interests: Systematics and ecology of bryophytes, especially mosses.
Dr. Ann Rhoads
215-247-5777 ext. 134
Senior Botanist, Pennsylvania Flora Project
Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania
100 Northwestern Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19118
Interests: Floristic Botany of Pennsylvania, plant conservation.
My research interests are focused on the floristic botany of Pennsylvania. I want to document the natural vegetation of the state and better understand historical and contemporary influences that have shaped the patterns of plant distribution we see today.
Mr. William H. Roberts
Blank Rome LLP, One Logan Sq,
130 N 18th St., Philadelphia, PA 19103
My research interests focus primarily on the flora of the West Coast of Newfoundland, Labrador and the Canadian arctic; Cyperaceae; the history of systematic botany; and botanical references in ancient Greek and Latin literaturein including Homer, Theocritus and Virgil.
Dr. Benjamin Torke
New York Botanical Garden
Bronx, New York 10458-5126
Interests: Systematics, biogeography, and evolutionary diversification of Neotropical trees, with emphasis on the genus Swartzia (Leguminosae).
My current research is motivated by an interest in the tremendously high levels of species diversity that characterize tree communities in lowland Neotropical rainforests. A major goal is to understand the historical, ecological, and evolutionary mechanisms that underlie the diversifications of species-rich clades of Neotropical trees. To this end, I am deeply involved in a long-term international collaborative effort to build a variety of biological datasets for the genus Swartzia (Leguminosae), which has about 200 species distributed throughout the lowland Neotropics, particularly in rainforests. Extensive fieldwork in Neotropical countries and a growing collection database provide the raw data for systematic and evolutionary studies. My doctoral research produced the first molecular phylogeny for Swartzia and the only comprehensive biogeographic analysis of the genus. Research at the Academy focuses on particular clades of closely related species of Swartzia and utilizes molecular phylogenetic and phylogeographic approaches to reconstruct the timing and evolutionary histories of population divergences and speciation events. Future efforts will incorporate GIS-based analyses to examine broad scale environmental correlates of genetic divergence, speciation, and cladogenesis and will focus on the role of breeding systems and chromosomal evolution in speciation. Ultimately, I hope to make all of these studies and datasets broadly available such that Swartzia can be used as model system for the study of Neotropical tree diversification.
One of the most exciting parts of my work entails the examination of new herbarium collections from remote parts of the distribution of Swartzia. These specimens have often brought to light the existence of species new to science. As such, I am always happy to receive Swartzia specimen loans or gifts for determination.
Ms. Amada Treher
Graduate Research Associate
Delaware State University
Interest: Systematics of Rhynchospora (Cyperaceae)
Dr. Erin Tripp
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
1500 N. College Avenue, Claremont, CA 91711
I study the evolution of a diverse and geographically widespread plant family, Acanthaceae (~4,000 species). For my dissertation research, I use molecular phylogenetics to investigate species relationships and morphological evolution in the large genus Ruellia (~300 species) and associated tribe Ruellieae (1,000 species). Well-supported and well-sampled phylogenies are among the best tools that allow us to understand how and why some of the most interesting plant traits and plant symbioses have evolved over time. In Acanthaceae, this includes relationships to pollinators and floral (or vegetative) traits that affect such relationships.
I have three other primary research interests. I have studied and continue to have interest in the flora of the tepuis in western Guyana. On a more local level, I am involved in studies on vegetation dynamics in the Great Smoky Mountains and lichen diversity in the mountains and coastal plain of North Carolina.
Dr. Rachel Wilson
Associate Professor of Biology, Philadelphia University
Interests: Biochemistry of germination, algal evolution.
My research interests are in the physiology and biochemistry of plant development. I have studied the hormonal regulation of embryogenesis in bean (Phaseolus) and the roles of specific enzymes in the mobilization of stored protein during barley grain germination. More recently I have become interested in the evolution of land plants which has led to a focus on spore germination in one group of charophycean algae (Zygnematales).