Abess Curator of Palms, Institute of Systematic Botany
Ph.D., City University of New York
New York, 1987
Arecaeae (Palm family)
Systematics of Palmae
South Asia, Central America, Caribbean, South America
My research takes place in two different hemispheres and employs two different methodologies. In New York I carry out detailed, multivariate statistical analysis of morphological and geographical data taken from herbarium specimens of neotropical Palmae, principally from Central America. Recent examples of this research are published in American Journal of Botany and Systematic Botany. In the Old World, I carry out field-oriented research in connection with the preparation of various field guides to palms. Recent research has been carried out in India, Sri Lanka, China, and Myanmar. Future plans include more fieldwork in Myanmar for preparation of a guide to the palms of that country, and a similar project in Vietnam. These guides are a basis for the conservation and sustainable use of palms, especially the economically important rattans.