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William Wayt Thomas

Elizabeth G. Britton Curator of Botany, Institute of Systematic Botany

Ph.D., University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1982

Specialty

Cyperaceae (Sedge family), Simaroubaceae (Tree of Heaven family, and Picramniaceae (Bitter-bush Family)
Flora and conservation of the Atlantic forest of northeastern Brazil

Expertise

Systematics of Cyperaceae, Simaroubaceae, and Picramniaceae; flora of the Atlantic Coastal forests of Brazil

Research locations

Brazil (especially the Atlantic coastal forest), neotropics, worldwide

Profile

The focus of my research is plants of the American tropics, especially Brazil. I have three primary interests: the vegetation and conservation of the Atlantic coastal forests of northeastern Brazil; systematics of the Sedge family (Cyperaceae), especially the beaked-rushes (Rhynchospora); and the 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 northeastern Brazil is made available to local conservation organizations and has had a significant impact on conservation in the region.

Selected Publications

Thomas, W. W. 2002. Simaroubaceae. Pages . In: S. Mori, C. Gracie, J. Mitchell, J.-J. de Granville and G. Cremers (eds.), Guide to the Vascular Plants of Central French Guiana, Part 2. Dicotyledons. The New York Botanical Garden, New York.

Thomas, W. W. 1999. Conservation and monographic research on the flora of tropical America. Biodiversity and Conservation 8: 1007-1015.

Thomas, W. W. 1998. Rhynchospora (Cyperaceae). Pages 610-629, In: (J. A. Steyermark, P. E. Berry, and B. K. Holst, eds.) Flora of the Venezuelan Guayana, Volume 4, Caesalpiniaceae-Ericaceae. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis.

Thomas, W. W., A. M. de Carvalho, A. M. Amorim, J. Garrison and A. L. Arbel·ez. 1998. Plant endemism in two forests in southern Bahia, Brazil. Biodiversity and Conservation 7(3): 311-322.

Thomas, W. W. 1997. Cyperaceae. Pages 249-265. In: S. Mori, C. Gracie, J. Mitchell, J.-J. de Granville and G. Cremers (eds.), Guide to the Vascular Plants of Central French Guiana. Part 1. Pteridophytes, Gymnosperms, and Monocotyledons.

Thomas, W. W. 1994. Rhynchospora, Cyperaceae. Pp. 404-422, In: G. Davidse, M. Sousa S. and A. O. Chater (general eds.), Flora Mesoamericana, Volumen 6, Alismataceae to Cyperaceae. Inst. de BiologÌa, Univ. Nac. AutÛnoma de MÈxico, MÈxico.

Thomas, W. W. 1988. A conspectus of Mexican and Central American Picramnia (Simaroubaceae). Brittonia 40(1): 89-105.

Thomas, W. W. 1984. The systematics of Rhynchospora section Dichromena (Cyperaceae). Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 37: 1-116.

Simpson, D. A., A. M. Muasya, M. Alves, J. J. Bruhl, S. Dhooge, M. W. Chase, C. A. Furness, K. Ghamkhar, P. Goetghebeur, T. R. Hodkinson, A. D. Marchant, R. Nieuwborg, A. A. Reznicek, E. H. Roalson, E. Smets, J. R. Starr, W. W. Thomas, K. L. Wilson & X. Zhang. 2007 [2008]. Phylogeny of Cyperaceae based on DNA sequence data – a new rbcL analysis. In: J. T. Columbus, E.A. Friar, J.M. Porter, L.M. Prince, and M.G. Simpson (eds.), Monocots, Comparative Biology and Evolution (Poales). Aliso 23:72-83.

Thomas, W. W. (ed.). 2008. The Atlantic Coastal Forest of Northeastern Brazil. Memoirs New York Botanical Garden 100: 1-586.

Amorim, A. M., W. W. Thomas, A. M. de Carvalho and J. G. Jardim. 2008. Floristics of the Una Biological Reserve, Bahia, Brazil. In: W. Thomas (ed.), The Atlantic Coastal Forest of Northeastern Brazil. Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden 100: 67-146.

Mattos Silva, L. A., J. G. Jardim, W. W. Thomas, and T. S. dos Santos. 2008. Common Names of Vascular Plants of the Atlantic Coastal Forest Region of Southern Bahia, Brazil. In: W. Thomas (ed.), The Atlantic Coastal Forest of Northeastern Brazil. Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden 100: 245-318.

Thomas, W. W. and M. R. V. Barbosa. 2008. Natural Vegetation Types in the Brazilian Atlantic Coastal Forest North of the Rio Doce. In: W. Thomas (ed.), The Atlantic Coastal Forest of Northeastern Brazil. Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden 100: 6-20.

Thomas, W. W., A. M. de Carvalho, A. M. A. Amorim, J. Garrison, T. S. dos Santos. 2008. Diversity of Woody Plants in the Atlantic Coastal Forest of Southern Bahia, Brazil. In: W. Thomas (ed.), The Atlantic Coastal Forest of Northeastern Brazil. Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden 100: 21-66.

Thomas, W. W., Araújo, A. C., and M. Alves. 2009 (2008 online). A Preliminary Molecular Phylogeny of the Rhynchosporeae (Cyperaceae). In: W. W. Thomas, D. A. Simpson, A. A. Reznicek and J. R. Starr (eds.), Cyperaceae – Special Issue. Botanical Review 75: 22-29 (DOI 10.1007/s12229-008-9023-7).

Thomas, W. W., J. G. Jardim, P. Fiaschi, M. Mariano-Neto and A. M. Amorim. 2009. Composição Florística e Estrutura do Componente Arbóreo de uma Área Transicional de Floresta Atlântica no Sul da Bahia, Brasil. Revista Brasileira de Botânica 32 (1): 41-54.

Piotto, D., F. Montagnini, W. Thomas, M. Ashton and C. Oliver. 2009. Forest recovery after swidden cultivation across a 40-year chronosequence in the Atlantic forest of southern Bahia, Brazil. Plant Ecology 205: 261-272. DOI 10.1007/s11258-009-9615-2.

Alves, M., A. C. Araújo, A. P. Prata, F. Vitta, S. Hefler, R. Trevisan, A. S. Bragança Gil, S. Martins & W. Thomas. 2009 (2010). Diversity of Cyperaceae in Brazil. Rodriguésia 60(4): 771-782 and Appendix pp. 1-60, online.

Thomas, W. W. 2011. Nothotalisia, a new genus of Picramniaceae from tropical America. Brittonia 63: 51-61. DOI: 10.1007/s12228-010-9130-8.

Araújo, A. C., H. M. Longhi-Wagner and W. W. Thomas. 2012. A Synopsis of Rhynchospora sect. Pluriflorae (Cyperaceae). Brittonia 64: 381-393.

Ganzhorn, S.M., B. Perez-Sweeney, W.W. Thomas, F.A. Gaiotto, and J.D. Lewis. 2015. The effects of fragmentation on density and population genetics of a threatened tree species in a biodiversity hotspot. Endangered Species Research 01/2015; 26:189-199. DOI: 10.3354/esr00645.

Waterway, M., et al. (Global Carex Group). 2015. Making Carex monophyletic: a new broader circumscription. Botanical Journal of the Linnaean Society. DOI: 10.1111/boj.12298

Saiter, F. Z., P. V. Eisenlohr, M. R. V. Barbosa, W. W. Thomas, and A. T. Oliveira-Filho. 2015. From evergreen to deciduous tropical forests: how energy-water balance, temperature, and space influence the tree composition in a high diversity region. Plant Ecology and Biodiversity. DOI:10.1080/17550874.2015.1075623

Nusbaumer, L., M. R. V. Barbosa, W. W. Thomas, M. V. Alves, P.-A. Loizeau & R. Spichiger. 2015. Flora e vegetação da Reserva Biológica de Pedra Talhada. In: Studer, A., L. Nusbaumer & R. Spichiger (Eds.). Biodiversidade da Reserva Biológica de Pedra Talhada (Alagoas, Pernambuco – Brasil). Boissiera 68: 59-121.