Plant Systematics, Conservation Biology, and Ethnobotany


Tom Croat, Ph.D.

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P.A. Schulze Curator of Botany

Revision of Anthurium sects. Belolonchium  and Calomystrium for the Lita-San Lorenzo Region (Esmeraldas Province, Ecuador) (mentor: Tom Croat). Croat is the world’s leading expert on the large and taxonomically complicated philodendron family (Araceae; for more information visit One of the largest genera in this family is the tropical genus Anthurium. The Lita-San Lorenzo region ranges from lowland tropical moist forest near sea level along the Pacific Ocean to the lower ranges of hills in the western Andes at elevations of up to 1000 m and containing tropical and premontane wet forests. It contains the wettest and most species-rich forests in Ecuador. Two projects dealing with the taxonomy of Anthurium in this region are available. Each will involve sorting out specimens of one section, sect. Belolonchium or sect. Calomystrium, into species, describing all species in detail, and creating a dichotomous key for purposes of identification.  All species whether new or previously published will be included in the key and fully described and all new species will be entered into Lucid, an electronic key to Anthurium which contains all known species (about 1500 to date). 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 and will co-author manuscripts. Two student researchers can work with Dr. Croat on these projects.

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