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William R. Buck

Curator Emeritus, Institute of Systematic Botany

Ph.D., University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, 1979


Pleurocarpus mosses


Pleurocarpous mosses

Research locations



My main research interests are associated with understanding the relationships of different groups of mosses, especially pleurocarps (with creeping, branched stems and laterally placed spore capsules). To see living mosses in the field, I have traveled throughout much of North and South America, as well as to parts of Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Melanesia. I have done floristic surveys in the West Indies and central French Guiana and am currently working on a bryophyte flora of Prov. Antartica Chilena, in southernmost Chile, with John Engel of the Field Museum (Chicago) who is working on the liverworts. These activities have given me wide experience with morphological variation in mosses. More recently I have undertaken molecular studies, in association with Jon Shaw of Duke University, in an attempt to use DNA sequence data to better understand pleurocarp relationships.
I am also heavily involved in scientific editing. I act as the scientific liason to the NYBG Press and am the Editor of the Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden. I am an editor for Tropical Bryology and Nova Hedwigia. I took over the editorship of The Bryologist in March 2005.

Although I do not do much formal, classroom teaching, I am active in a number of educational and conservation programs. I am the primary organizer for the Tuckerman Lichen Workshops which are a forum for amateur lichenologists to interact with professionals and advance their study of lichens. These have been meeting for about 12 years. A couple of years ago I agreed to begin a similar series on mosses. The second Howard Crum workshop was held in May 2005 in northern Vermont. I am active at the local level and am a town-appointed member of the Town of Kent (Putnam County, NY) Conservation Advisory Committee. I am also a trustee of the Putnam County Land Trust.

Selected Publications

Buck, W. R. 1980. A generic revision of the Entodontaceae. J. Hattori Bot. Lab. 48: 71-159.

Buck, W. R. & D. H. Vitt. 1986. Suggestions for a new familial classification of pleurocarpous mosses. Taxon 35: 21-60.

Buck, W. R. 1991. The basis for familial classification of pleurocarpous mosses. Advances Bryol. 4: 169-185.

Vitt, D. H. & W. R. Buck. 1992. Key to the moss genera of North America north of Mexico. Contr. Univ. Michigan Herb. 18: 43-71.

Buck, W. R. 1998. Pleurocarpous mosses of the West Indies. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 82: 1-400.

Buck, W. R. & B. Goffinet. 2000. Morphology and classification of mosses. Pp. 71-123. In: A. J. Shaw & B. Goffinet (eds.), Bryophyte Biology. Cambridge University Press.

Buck, W. R., D. H. Vitt & W. M. Malcolm. 2002. Key to the genera of Australian mosses. Flora of Australia Supplementary Series 14: i-vi, 1-120.

Buck, W. R. 2003. Guide to the plants of central French Guiana. Part 3. Mosses. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 76(3): i-vi, 1-167.

Buck, W. R., C. J. Cox, A. J. Shaw & B. Goffinet. 2005. Ordinal relationships of pleurocarpous mosses, with special emphasis on the Hookeriales. Systematics and Biodiversity 2: 121-145.