Plant Systematics, Conservation Biology, and Ethnobotany


Patricia Barberá, Ph.D.

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Patricia Barberá, Ph.D.

Krukoff Assistant Scientist
Africa and Madagascar Department

Research Interests
• Systematics of African Euphorbiaceae, Phyllanthaceae, and Putranjivaceae (taxonomy, phylogeny, biogeography, morphology)
• Flora of Africa and Madagascar
• Application of taxonomic information to conservation planning and management

Heidi Schmidt, M.Sc.
Curatorial Assistant Africa and Madagascar Department

Research Interests
• Taxonomy and Phylogeny of Ericaceae
• Flora and vegetation of Madagascar
• Plant conservation assessment

Taxonomic studies of the genus Orfilea (Euphorbiaceae), endemic to Madagascar. Barberá is an Assistant Scientist in the Africa and Madagascar Department working on the systematics and evolution of the African flora. Schmidt is a Curatorial Assistant in the Africa and Madagascar department with interests in the flora of Madagascar and plant conservation. The genus Orfilea Baill. (Euphorbiaceae) is endemic to Madagascar and includes three species of shrubs and medium-sized trees. The amount of herbarium material has greatly increased in the recent times, revealing additional new species, and there is no current taxonomic treatment of the genus. The student in charge of this project will study herbarium specimens, formulate hypotheses about how many species exist, prepare descriptions and keys for the genus. The student will also learn how to georeference African herbarium specimens and use them for GIS analyses, as well as to produce conservation assessments to be published in the IUCN Red List. It is expected that the student will coauthor a published paper on the group.

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