Photo by Sergio Sant'Ana
Ph.D.: University of Michigan, 1982
The focus of my research is plants of the American tropics, especially Brazil. I have three primary interests: the vegetation of Atlantic coastal Brazil, especially the coastal forests of the state of Bahia; systematics of the Sedge family (Cyperaceae), especially the beaked-rushes (Rhynchospora); and systematics of the Tree-of-Heaven family (Simaroubaceae and its segregate families, Picramniaceae and Surianaceae). I believe that systematic research provides a much-needed foundation for conservation of biodiversity. To that end, my work in Bahia is made available to local conservation organizations and has had a significant impact on conservation in the region. I am also Executive Director of the Organization for Flora Neotropica, an international organization that promotes the preparation of systematic monographs of plants and fungi in the American tropics.
Michael Rothman's painting combines two of my interests: Brazilian vegetation and sedges. It is a scene depicting the open campo rupestre (rocky meadow) vegetation characteristic of higher elevations in the Brazilian Planalto. The scene depicts some of the species found in campos rupestres, especially the rich Cyperaceae flora. Species illustrated in the painting are: Rhynchospora albiceps, Cyperus schomburgkianus, Vellozia furcata, Bulbostylis paradoxa, Lagenocarpus rigidus, Lagenocarpus albo-niger, and crested caracara (Polyborus plancus). All are Cyperaceae except the Vellozia and the caracara.