Bruce G. Baldwin

Research Expertise and Interest

biology, systematics and evolution of vascular plants, floristics, conservation biology, evolutionary processes, historical biogeography, evolutionary ecology

Research Description

Bruce Baldwin's research program encompasses vascular-plant systematics, floristics, and conservation biology, with an emphasis on biosystematic and phylogenetic studies. He is particularly interested in systematic questions that address evolutionary processes, historical biogeography and ecology, and relationships of California plants and their descendant lineages elsewhere (e.g., Hawaii). His research on the California tarweeds and the Hawaiian silversword alliance (Compositae: Madiinae) has involved testing of hypotheses concerning diversification processes and rates, chromosomal and morphological evolution, ecological shifts, dispersal events, and the evolutionary importance of hybridization. He is also involved in collaborative investigations focused on evolution of breeding and pollination systems in flowering plants.

Laboratory techniques used in his research include DNA sequencing, restriction site mapping, and cytogenetic and morphological analyses. Recent theoretical and technological advances in systematics offer exciting opportunities for studies of California plant evolution and relationships. The rich diversity of the California flora and the extensive literature from evolutionary research on California plants pose well-defined and important systematics research problems for graduate study.

In the News

With Rapidly Increasing Heat and Drought, Can Plants Adapt?

Researcher Isaac Lichter-Marck is the first to provide evidence to resolve a long-standing evolutionary debate: Did iconic desert plants adapt to arid conditions only after they invaded deserts? Or did they come preadapted to the stresses of desert living?

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.

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.

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