Andrew Wheeler

Originally from the East Coast, I came to RSABG to work with Carol Wilson on questions within the Iris Family. I worked with Dr. Wilson at Portland State University for a short time, prior to that I was a research assistant to Dr. Kathleen Donohue in the department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. In Dr. Donohue’s lab I worked on various projects involving seed dispersal and fruit morphology. My interests include investigating variation within and among populations of several North American native Iris species and I am currently working with Dr. Wilson to see how pollen morphology data informs her phylogenetic work in the Iris family.

Bob Lauri

My botanical interests include floristics, plant systematics, and phylogenetics. Plant groups of interest are Orchidaceae, and Arecaceae. My current dissertation study is the Systematic Study of Piperia Rydberg (Orchidaceae). The main reason for choosing this group is that there is a large amount of variation even within individual taxa that makes identification of individuals difficult. I am also interested in variation evident across biogeographical boundaries.. The focus of my study is to collect comparative data for the group Piperia that will (1) test the hypothesis that Piperia is a section within Platanthera, (2) characterize variation within the group and produce a comprehensive classification using molecular and morphological data, and (3) produce a revisionary monograph of the group. After all previous studies of Piperia, complete descriptions of all taxa within the group are not complete, and morphometric data are missing for a number of morphological variants such as P. cooperi, P. lancifolia, P. leptopetala, P. longispica, and P. maritima. It is clear that a more thorough sampling of wild populations and morphological variants is necessary. Recent collections of Piperia and Platanthera include populations in southern and northern California, Washington, and Idaho. Additional collections from Alaska, Baja California, Nevada, and Oregon will be accomplished in the future.

The genus Piperia has a confusing taxonomic and nomenclatural history. The group has at one time been placed within the wide-ranging genus Habenaria Willd. (Ames, 1910; Correll, 1950), and within another northern temperate genus Platanthera (Schlecter, 1927; Dressler, 1974). Nine species of Piperia were separated from Platanthera based on a few morphological traits (Rydberg, 1901). The nine species range from northern Baja California to the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, and the intermountain western states. There are a few populations that also exist in the upper peninsula of Michigan, Alberta, and Quebec. The main center of diversity of Piperia is in California with nine species and two subspecies currently recognized (Ackerman, 1977; Morgan and Ackerman, 1990; Morgan and Glicenstein, 1993; and Hickman, 1996). The traits of this group include rounded to oval tubers, short to inconspicuous caudicles, and basal leaves that wither at anthesis. These character traits differ from Platanthera which has elongate tubers, short to long conspicuous caudicles, and cauline or basal leaves that persist through anthesis. A biosystematic study of Piperia was performed by Ackerman (1977) that included morphological study, chromosome counts, chromatographs of leaf and flower material, and hybridization studies. Most recently, a treatment of the tribe Orchideae has placed Piperia as a subsection within the genus Platanthera (Bateman et al., 2003), using ITS markers.


Ackerman, J.D. 1977. Biosystematics of the genus Piperia Rydb. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 75: 245-270.
Ames, O. 1910. The Genus Habenaria in North America. Orchidaceae Fasc. 4. p. 288.
Bateman R.M., P.M. Hollingsworth, J. Preston., Y-b Luo, A.M. Pridgeon, M.W. Chase. 2003. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution of the Orchidinae and selected Habenariinae (Orchidaceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 142: 1-40.
Cameron K.M., M.W. Chase, W.M. Whitten, P.J. Kores, D.C. Jarrell, V.A. Albert, T. Yukawa, H.G. Hills, D.H., D.H. Goldman. 1999. A phylogenetic analysis of the Orchidaceae: evidence from rbcL nucleotide sequences. American Journal of Botany. 86: 208-244.
Correll, D.S. 1950. Native Orchids of North America, North of Mexico. Chronica Botanica Company, Waltham, Mass. P. 399.
Dressler, R.L. 1974. Classification of the orchid family. Proceedings of the Seventh World Orchid Conference. Medellin, Columbia. 259-278.
Hickman J.C. (editor). 1996. The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California. University of California Press, Berkeley, California. p. 1400.
Morgan, R and J.D. Ackerman. 1990. Two new Piperias (Orchidaceae) from western North America. Lindleyana 5(4): 205-211.
Morgan, R. and L. Glicenstein. 1993. Additional California taxa in Piperia (Orchidaceae). Lindleyana 8 (2): 89-95.
Schlecter, R. 1927. Die Orchideen. P. Parey, Berlin. P. 959.

Link to some orchid photographs.

Gilberto Ocampo

Advisor: Dr. J. Travis Columbus

My project involves systematics of Portulaca (Portulacaceae). The genus comprises 40 to 150 species distributed worldwide, mainly in tropics and temperate zones, with centers of diversity in South America and Africa. Although circumscription of Portulaca is well defined, the circumscriptions and number of species are less certain.

The goals of my research project are:

1.- Obtain estimates of the phylogeny of Portulaca. Using chloroplast and nuclear DNA markers, the monophyly of the genus will be tested, and its major lineages will be identified, comparing these results with Legrand’s (1958) infrageneric classification. The relationship between Portulaca and the other genera in the family will be investigated, as well as the relationship between Portulacaceae and Cactaceae. The results will be compared with existing classifications and, if warranted, a new classification will be proposed.

2.- Analyze character evolution (habit, hairs, capsule, seed coat micromorphology, among others), as well as biogeography of Portulaca, using the resulting phylogenies.

3.- Describe the leaf anatomy of Portulaca and representatives of other genera in the family. Results will be used to determine if a correlation exists between leaf anatomy and photosynthetic pathway. It will be established if these data will provide additional taxonomic and phylogenetic characters. In addition, the characters will be mapped onto the molecular phylogenies.

Curriculum vitae


Bachelor in Biology, Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro. Querétaro, Mexico. January, 1997.

Professional Experience

Instituto de Ecología, A.C. (México). Collaborator as author for the project of Flora del Bajío y de regiones adyacentes and curator of the IEB herbarium’s database. 1998-2004.

Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro (México). Flora database coordinator for the diagnostic study of the “Sierra Gorda” Biosphere Reserve. 1996.


Ocampo, G. 2004. Fascicle 39. Buddlejaceae. Flora del Valle de Tehuacán-Cuicatlán. Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

Ocampo, G. & A. Medellín. 2004. Catálogo de ejemplares tipo del herbario IEB (México) (Type specimen catalog of the IEB herbarium (Mexico)). Acta Bot. Mex. 67: 1-41.

Ocampo, G. 2003. Portulaca matthewsii (Portulacaceae), a new species from the “Sierra Gorda” Biosphere Reserve, Querétaro, Mexico. Sida 20: 1357-1361.

Ocampo, G. 2003. Fascicle 120. Plantaginaceae. Flora del Bajío y de regiones adyacentes. Pp. 1-19.

Ocampo, G. 2003. Fascicle 115. Buddlejaceae. Flora del Bajío y de regiones adyacentes. Pp. 1-31.

Ocampo, G. 2003. Nota sobre la presencia de Portulaca rubricaulis H.B.K. (Portulacaceae) en la Península de Yucatán (Note on the presence of Portulaca rubricaulis H.B.K. (Portulacaceae) in the Peninsula of Yucatán). Acta Bot. Mex. 63: 59-66.

Ocampo, G. 2003. Una combinación nueva en Phemeranthus (Portulacaceae) (A new combination in Phemeranthus (Portulacaceae)). Acta Bot. Mex. 63: 55-57.

Ocampo, G. 2002. Una especie nueva de Portulaca (Portulacaceae) del norte de Michoacán (México) (A new species of Portulaca (Portulacaceae) from north Michoacán (Mexico)). Sida 20: 487-493.

Ocampo, G. 2002. Fascicle 102. Aizoaceae. Flora del Bajío y de regiones adyacentes. Pp. 1-11.

Ocampo, G. 2002. Una especie nueva de Portulaca (Portulacaceae) del estado de Guanajuato (México) (A new species of Portulaca (Portulacaceae) of the state of Guanajuato (Mexico)). Acta Bot. Mex. 58: 1-6.

Ocampo, G. 2002. Fascicle 101. Molluginaceae. Flora del Bajío y de regiones adyacentes. Pp. 1-7.

Ocampo, G. 2002. Transferencia de tres especies mexicanas de Talinum Adans. a Phemeranthus Raf. (Portulacaceae) (Transfer of three Mexican species of Talinum Adans. to Phemeranthus Raf. (Portulacaceae)). Acta Bot. Mex. 59: 75-80.

Ocampo, G., J. Quesada and R. Aguirre. 2002. Árboles y arbustos de la cuidad de Querétaro (Trees and bushes of the city of Querétaro, México). Rapid Color Guide #138, version 1.3. The Field Museum, Chicago. U.S.A.

Ocampo, G. 2000. Fascicle 89. Primulaceae. Flora del Bajío y de regiones adyacentes. Pp. 1-21.

Elizabeth Kempton

I am interested in examination of genetic variation at many levels (from population genetics to phylogenetics), examination of the distribution of plant life throughout the landscape (phylogeography and biogeography), and evolutionary theories associated with differentiation of character structure and form amongst lineages due to ecological interactions. I am also interested in the applications of GIS (Geographic Information Systems) to phylogenetic issues, as well learning about its use in conservation and management of rare plants and unique habitats.

Currently I am just getting my thesis project started concerning the systematics of Polygoncaeae subfamily Erigonoideae (wild buckwheat). As Eriogonoideae contains many closely related taxa, and many rare species, proper classification of varieties, subspecies, and genera within this group are important in terms of conservation. My aim is to assess the taxonomic classification and organization of this subfamily. The basis for taxonomic boundaries within Eriogonoideae will be investigated in a phylogenetic (evolutionary) framework by the use comparative data (morphological, anatomical and molecular) to support or redefine the units of diversity within the subfamily.

Subfamily Eriogonoideae is currently organized into 20 genera based on morphological evidence. Most of the species are grouped in Eriogonum (250 species) and Chorizanthe (50), others are segregated into much smaller groups: Pterostegia (1), Hollisteria (1) Lastarriaea (3), Aristocapsa (1), Mucronea (2), Systenotheca (1), Centrostegia (1), Dodecahema (1), Dedeckera (1), Stenogonum (2), Nemacaulis (1), Gilmania (1) Johanneshowellia (2), Goodmania (1), Sidotheca (3), Oxytheca (3), Acanthoscyphus (1), and Hardfordia (1). For more information regarding the taxonomic organization of subfamily Eriogonoideae please see the current treatment at: (by J.L. Reveal).

This field season I plan to collect several taxa in the southern California area representative of currently recognized genera and morphological groups. For the next phase of this project I will attempt to obtain a more geographically representative sample of the morphological groups within Eriogonoideae throughout its distribution. The goal of this project will be to: (1) discover or identify additional characters within the subfamily to use for phylogenetic analysis, (2) utilize molecular methods to estimate the genetic relationships amongst members of Eriogonoideae, and (3) identify any additional taxonomic groups that can be segregated (or combined with existing segregates) and supported with molecular, morphological and anatomical evidence.