2018 Mentors and Projects
Plant Systematics, Conservation Biology, and Ethnobotany

09

Tom Croat, Ph.D.

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Tom Croat, Ph.D.

P.A. Schulze Curator of Botany
Research Department, Science & Conservation Division

Research Interests
• Systematics and Ecology of Neotropical Araceae
• Floristics of Araceae for Neotropical Areas
• Horticulture of Araceae

Revision of Anthurium sect. Cardolonchium (Araceae) for Department of Carchi, Ecuador. Dr. Croat is the world’s leading expert on the large and taxonomically complicated philodendron family (Araceae). One of the largest genera in this family is the tropical genus Anthurium. The Department of Carchi in Ecuador contains a very species-rich forest with abundant Anthurium species, most of them new to science. This project will involve helping to describe and publish many new species of section Cardolonchium for the region. The student will be trained to describe plants in detail, key species in a Lucid multi-entry key, an electronic key to Anthurium which contains all known species (about 1500 to date), and create a dichotomous key for purposes of identification. Distinct but sterile or otherwise unpublishable species will also be described, assigned numbers rather than names, and included in the dichotomous key in hopes that someone will use the treatment to recollect the species in fertile condition thus enabling the species to be published later. Students will also be involved in assembling images for the publication or scanning specimens to document the species. This will result in the publication of a scientific paper in which the student will be a coauthor. For information about aroids visit www.aroid.org.

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