Diversity and Distributions


Scientists studying diversity and distributions at the Center for Conservation and Sustainable (CCSD) at the Missouri Botanical Garden strive to elucidate biological questions that are key for the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems around the world. In doing so, they build upon the wealth of plant data gathered by Garden botanists and held in the Garden’s TROPICOS database, herbarium, and seed banks. This vast store of knowledge represents a major source of primary, verifiable information on the distribution of plants and, therefore, on patterns of plant diversity. CCSD scientists also rely on strong, synergistic collaborations with other researchers in St. Louis, throughout the United States, and around the world.

The work of CCSD scientists is yielding information crucial for conservation decision-making, such as identification of regions that contain the highest plant diversity or regions with aggregations of species that are phylogenetically or biogeographically unique and hence particularly vulnerable to extinction. This work provides critical insights that enable decision-makers to assess the costs and benefits of different courses of action and design strategies based in science as well as pragmatic considerations.