Plant Systematics, Conservation Biology, and Ethnobotany


Robbie Hart, Ph.D.

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Robbie Hart, Ph.D.

Director & Curator of Economic Botany
William L. Brown Center

Research Interests

• Ethnobotany / Ethnobiology
• Plant Ecology
• Climate Change

Peter Wyse Jackson, Ph.D.
President and Director
Missouri Botanical Garden

Research Interests
• Ethnobotany
• Plant Conservation

Comparative Ozark Ethnobotany. Hart, is the director of MBG's William L. Brown Center; he is an ethnobotanist and ecologist with interests in quantitative methods in ethnobotany. Wyse Jackson, the Garden President, has published widely in archival ethnobotany, including in the 2014 "Ireland's Generous Nature: The Past and Present Uses of Wild Plants in Ireland". A student working with them will investigate the ethnobotany of the Ozark region, working from herbarium specimen labels, published ethnobotanical research, and archival records of plant usage, including folklore and cookbooks. These records will then be used to compare the plant-use patterns of Ozark settlers to plant use patterns in the communities from which they derived (ethnobotany of the Appalachian Mountains and British Isles) as well as to communities with which they shared an environment (ethnobotany of indigenous Ozark residents, particularly the Osage). The student will learn skills in ethnobotanical literature research, cleaning data, and reconciling taxonomic names, as well as analytic comparative methods including multi-dimensional distance and clustering. The project will form the foundation of a publicly available database in which records are linked to their source contexts, might involve field botanical collection and horticultural components connected to a nascent Ozark ethnobotanical garden (if an onsite program is possible in 2021), and will constitute a comparative ethnobotanical paper for which the student will be co-author.

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