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Photo by Carol Gracie

Ph.D.: University of Michigan, 1979
Title: Senior Curator
Research: monographic studies of mosses, mosses of the West Indies

Although mosses are often overlooked, or if seen, assumed to have little diversity, they are in fact a large and fascinating group of plants. I am primarily interested in the phylogeny, systematics and floristics of pleurocarpous mosses, those that are mat-forming and produce their capsules laterally along the stems. Although I am most interested in familial and ordinal relationships and inclusions, it is impossible to understand higher categories without first knowing species. To gain this basic knowledge I am involved in floristic studies of the West Indies and Paraguay. In order to see living mosses in the field, and therefore better understand their relationships, I have travelled extensively in the neotropics, from Cuba and Puerto Rico through Ecuador and Venezuela south to Paraguay and southernmost Brazil. For similar purposes I have collected in southern Africa, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji. I have completed a moss flora of the West Indies which not only reflects the species composition of the area but also provides a new approach to systematic and geographical relationships of West Indian mosses..

My curator painting shows mosses growing in the crown of Gustavia hexapetala, a tree of the Brazil nut family, in central French Guiana. The small beetle on the middle branch is a longicorn beetle, the larva of which feed on the wood of this tree. I have recently published the Guide to the Mosses of Central French Guiana.

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