Brent D. Mishler

Brent D. Mishler

Professor of Integrative Biology
Dept of Integrative Biology
(510) 642-6810
(510) 643-6264
Research Expertise and Interest
evolutionary biology, development, ecology, systematics, phylogeny, comparative genomics, green plants, bryophytes, mosses, reproductive biology, phylogenetics, chloroplast DNA, classification, species concepts, biodiversity, Darwin
Research Description

My research interests can be grouped into two main areas: empirical studies of ecology, phylogeny, systematics, and development of mosses, and the theoretical basis of systematic and evolutionary biology.

Empirical studies include: 

  • The phylogenetic relationships of the major groups of bryophytes and other green plants, using morphological, developmental, and ultrastructural characters as well as chloroplast DNA sequence data.
  • The development of moss peristomes in relation to evolution of the group.
  • Biosystematic studies of the haplolepideous mosses, including the tropical family Calymperaceae and the diverse temperate genus Tortula (Syntrichia), which involve remote-sensing, transplant, and ecological studies in the field, DNA sequencing, comparative physiological measurements, and culture experiments in the lab, and morphological studies in the herbarium.
  • The reproductive biology of bryophytes, especially dryland mosses.
  • The bryophyte flora of California and of Moorea (in the Society Islands of the South Pacific), and Australia.

Theoretical studies include:

  • Investigations of the nature of species, rank-free classification, methods for phylogenetic reconstruction (with an emphasis on cladistic analysis of molecular and genomic data).
  • The relationship between development and evolution, phyloinformatics (comparative genomics, databasing, and visualization of phylogenetic trees).
  • Biodiversity informatics (digitization and databasing of biological collections, and integration with taxonomic, ecological, geographic, and phylogenetic data).

In the News

December 4, 2017

California’s dry regions are hotspots of plant diversity

The first “big data” analysis of California’s native plants, using digitized information from more than 22 herbaria and botanical gardens around the state, provides some surprises about one of the most thoroughly studied and unique areas in the country.
July 18, 2014

Scientists enlist big data to guide conservation efforts

Despite a deluge of new information about the diversity and distribution of plants and animals around the globe, “big data” has yet to make a mark on conservation efforts to preserve the planet’s biodiversity. But that may soon change.

January 7, 2014

Workshop series sows the seeds for conservation

The Jepson Herbarium at UC Berkeley has a big mission: understanding and protecting California’s flora. Given that the state is home to thousands of native plants, nearly 1,500 of which can be found only here, that’s a lot of work for a lot of people with a lot of specialized knowledge. So the Jepson Herbarium has done what comes naturally in order to ensure it will always have the well-trained plant-lovers it needs.

December 13, 2013

Big turnout for launch of big-data center

A throng turned out for Thursday’s high-spirited launch of the Berkeley Institute for Data Science. Designed to help researchers across the disciplines harness data in order to spur discoveries and create knowledge, the center for data-related teaching and collaboration will be housed in Doe Library.