Director of the Flora of Missouri, MBG
• Floristics of the United States, Mexico
• Revision of Steyermark's Flora of Missouri
• Plant Conservation
• Parasitic plants, Orobanchaceae
Web Page: MBG, Flora of Missouri Project
Project: Describing a new fern species from Africa. George Yatskievych is the Director of the Flora of Missouri Project at MBG, overseeing the production of a new three-volume book on all the species of Missouri. In addition, he does research on various fern groups and parasitic angiosperms. MBG botanical explorations yield a large number of species new to science each year. The job of the plant taxonomist has three parts: 1) to recognize when a specimen represents an undescribed taxon; 2) the description of the new taxon (and its morphological distinction from related, previously described species); and 3) the study of the phylogenetic and taxonomic relationships of the novelty to other plants. On 17 July 2008, an unusual specimen of a small fern was collected by botanists working for the Missouri Botanical Garden in the Central African country of Gabon. Pteridologists (fern specialists) have since been unable to locate a published name for this plant, and it appears to be a new species in the fern family Tectariaceae. The student will work with MBG curator George Yatskievych to develop a detailed morphological description of the new taxon from the available herbarium material and will review the scientific literature on the family Tectariaceae to find suggestions of potentially related species. The student also will help to write a botanical key to distinguish the new species from its potential relatives. Finally, we will extract DNA from the novelty and a small number of related species, amplify selected molecular markers for DNA sequencing, and conduct a phylogenetic analysis of the group. The descriptive and comparative data from the library, herbarium, and laboratory will be compiled into a paper to be submitted for publication in a botanical journal that will result in the formal description of this fern as new to science.
• Jessee, L.H., and G. Yatskievych. 2011. A new putative hybrid in Silphium (Asteraceae: Heliantheae). Phytoneuron 2011-62: 1–7.
• Sigel, E. M., M. D. Windham, L. Huiet, G. Yatskievych, and K. M. Pryer. 2011. Species relationships and farina evolution in the cheilanthoid fern genus Argyrochosma (Pteridaceae). Syst. Bot. 36: 554–564.
• Yatskievych, G. 2006. Steyermark’s Flora of Missouri, Second Edition, Volume 2. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis.
• Mora-Olivo, A., and G. Yatskievych. 2009. Salvinia molesta in Mexico. Amer. Fern J. 99: 56–58.