Research Associates

Research Associates - Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden offers botanists and other professionals in the field appointments as Research Associates.  These individuals by virtue of their affiliation with RSABG are offered the use of the plant sciences facilities at the Garden.  Staff and plant scientists at RSABG form mutually beneficial collaborations on conservation and research projects with our Research Associates.  These are honorific 3-year appointments without remuneration.  Appointments may be renewed upon review.

Robert L. Allen, M.S.

Senior Biologist, Bon Terra Consulting Co., Costa Mesa, CA


Carol Annable, M.S.

Botanical consultant, Ojai, CA


Paul Beardsley, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, CEMaST Science, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, CA


David W. Becker, PhD

John P. & Magdalena R. Dexter Professor of Botany, Pomona College, Claremont, CA


Hester L. Bell, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Researcher; Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Claremont, CA


Edward G. Bobich, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, CA


Steve Boyd, M.S.

Curator Emeritus of the Herbarium (RSA/POM), Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Claremont, CA


David E. Bramlet

Independent consulting biologist. Santa Ana, CA


Fred Brooks, Ph.D.

Plant Pathologist


Clyde Calvin, Ph.D.

Professor of Biology Emeritus, Portland State University, OR


John R. Clark, Ph.D.

Executive Director, Center for Plant Conservation, St. Louis, MO


Allen Cooper, Ph.D.

Loma Linda University School of Medicine

Department of Basic Sciences/Division of Biochemistry

Loma Linda, CA


Sarah De Groot, Ph.D.

Seeds of Success Coordinator, Conservation Program, RSABG, Claremont, CA


Pam De Vries, M.S.

Botanist, Restoration Ecologist, Pine Mountain Club, CA


Joshua Der, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Science, Cal State Fullerton, Fullerton, CA


Barbara Eisenstein

Independent consultant, native plant and sustainable gardening outreach,

South Pasadena, CA


Thomas S. Elias, Ph.D.

Director (retired), U.S. National Arboretum, Washington, D.C. Claremont, CA


Norman C. Ellstrand, Ph.D.

Professor of Genetics, Department of Botany & Plant Sciences, University of California, Riverside, CA


Kristen Fisher, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, California State University, Los Angeles, CA


Lorrae Fuentes

Science educator; Instructor, Department of Biology, California State University,

San Bernardino, CA


C. Matt Guilliams, Ph.D.

Curator of the Clifton F. Smith Herbarium, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

Santa Barbara, CA


Dylan P. Hannon

Curator of The Rose Hills Foundation Conservatory for Botanical Science and Tropical Collections, Huntington Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA


James Henrickson, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus, California State University Los Angeles

Research Fellow, Plant Resources Center, The University of Texas at Austin, TX


Michael Honer, M.S.

Botanical consultant, Goleta, CA


Amanda Ingram, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biology, Wabash College, Crawfordsville, IN


Leigh A. Johnson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biology, and Herbarium Curator, Stanley L. Welsh Herbarium

at the M. L. Bean Museum, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT


Diana Jolles, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Plymouth State University, Plymouth, NH


Jon E. Keeley, Ph.D.

Research Ecologist, U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Western Ecological Research Center, Sequoia & Kings Canyon Field Station, Three Rivers, CA


Jason Koontz, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biology, Augustana College, Rock Island, IL


Tasha La Doux, Ph.D.

Assistant Director, University of California Natural Reserve System, Sweeney Granite Mountains Desert Research Center, near Kelso, CA


Amy Litt, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor & Assistant Biologist of Plant Evolution & Development

University of California, Riverside, CA


María Cristina Martínez-Habibe, Ph.D.

Research Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biology, Universidad del Norte, Atlántico, Colombia



Saeideh Mashayekhi, Ph.D.

Laboratory Instructor and Demonstrator

University of Sydney School of Biological Sciences, NSW Australia


John J. Macdonald, Jr.

Photographer, Seeds of California Native Plants

Phelan, CA


Christopher J. McDonald, Ph.D.

Desert Natural Resources Advisor, UC Cooperative Extension San Bernardino County, CA


Richard P. McNeill

Ecologist, Joshua Tree National Park, Twentynine Palms, CA


Evan Meyer

Assistant Director, Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA


Char Miller, Ph.D.

Director of Environmental Analysis Program, W.M. Keck Professor of Environmental Analysis, Pitzer College, Claremont, CA


Orlando Mistretta, M.S.

Botanical consultant, Upland, CA


Bart O’Brien

Director, Regional Parks Botanic Garden, Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley, CA


Jorge Ochoa

Instructor, Horticulture Department, Long Beach City College, Long Beach, CA


Jennifer Pilapil

Operations Manager, Center for Oral Health, Western University, Pomona, CA

(and, avid botanical field assistant)


Linda M. Prince MacKechnie, Ph.D.

Seed biologist, Ball Horticultural Company, Chicago, IL


Nancy F. Refulio-Rodriguez, Ph.D.

Visiting Scientist, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Schwetzingen, Germany


Richard E. Riefner

Independent consultant and research biologist / botanist, wetlands and habitat restoration specialist, Rancho Santa Marguerita, CA


Fred M. Roberts, Jr.

Independent botanical survey consultant, Oceanside, CA


Andrew C. Sanders, M.S.

Curator / Senior Museum Scientist of the Herbarium (UCR), Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, University of California, Riverside, CA


Rudolf Schmid, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus, Department of Integrative Biology, University of California,

Berkeley, CA


Michael G. Simpson, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Biology, San Diego State University, CA


Victor Steinmann, Ph.D.


Erin Tripp, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology; Curator of Botany, COLO Herbarium, University of Colorado at Boulder, CO


Sula Vanderplank, M.S.

Biodiversity explorer, Botanical Research Institute of Texas [BRIT], Fort Worth, TX


Michael Wall

Curator and Seed Conservation Program Manager (retired), RSABG, Hemet, CA


Gary D. Wallace, Ph.D.

Botanist (retired), US Dept. of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Carlsbad, CA



Dwight L. Whitaker, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Pomona College, CA


Scott D. White, M.S.

Senior Biologist, Aspen Consulting Group, Inland Empire Office, Ontario, CA


Kimberlyn Williams, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Biology, California State University, San Bernardino, CA


Justin Wood, M.S.

Biologist, Aspen Consulting Group, Inland Empire Office, Ontario, CA


Felipe Zapata, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, UCLA, Los Angeles CA


(June 2017)



Botany Seminar Series

The Research Department hosts a seminar series that brings speakers on a wide range of topics in evolutionary biology and ecology to Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden throughout the academic year.

Seminars are open to all and held Fridays at 4 p.m., unless otherwise noted. Please check in at the Kiosk and tell admissions staff that you are here for the seminar. You will be admitted at no charge. Out of respect for seminar speakers and to limit disruptions, guests of the Botany Seminar Series will not be admitted to the Garden after 4:10 p.m.


Fall 2017:


September 22

Jeremy Yoder

Cal State Northridge


September 29

Dwight Whittaker

Pomona College


October 6

Jochen Schenk

Cal State Fullerton


November 3

John Nason

Iowa State University


November 10

Madelaine Bartlett

UMass Amherst


November 17

Tom Givnish

University of Wisconsin, Madison


December 1

Tasha La Doux

Granite Mountains Desert Research Center


December 8

Rick McNeill

Joshua Tree National Park


Research and Conservation

RSABG researchers and graduate students are working in the critical fields of plant systematics and evolution. Scientists and students interface extensively with other programs at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, notably the Seed Conservation Program (with research scientists making regular contributions to the seed bank) and Living Collection. These last units are administered by the Horticulture Department. 

Beyond the Garden confines, RSABG research scientists interact with a number of colleagues in plant science at the other institutions in the Claremont University Consortium.

20140616 102314

Manuel Lujan, PhD candidate, collecting a specimen of Clusia brachystyla in the Cuao river, a tributary of the Orinoco river in Venezuelan Amazonas.


Research is a critical aspect of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden's mission. Staff, students, resident scientists and postdoctoral fellows contribute directly to the overall research program at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. Below are just a couple samples of the groundbreaking work in botany research RSABG research scientists are undertaking. Please see individual faculty web pages or postdoctoral fellow listings for current research areas.

Flora of Tejon Ranch - Nick Jensen

Loeselia Clade Research - J. Mark Porter

The RSABG Research Department encompasses the following:

Postdoctoral Fellows

Resident scientists at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden include postdoctoral fellows who are supported on external grants and resident scholars who call the Garden their research home. Please also visit individual faculty web pages for information regarding other scientists at RSABG.


Postdoctoral Fellows

Hester Bell, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Bell earned her doctoral degree from Claremont Graduate University (Class of 2007).  Her research focuses on the systematics of chloridoid grasses, in particular, the genus Distichlis.

Contact Hester Bell This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Carrie Kiel, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow
Dr. Kiel earned her doctoral degree from Claremont Graduate University (Class of 2016). Her dissertation was titled: "Unraveling relationships among the morphologically diverse and taxonomically complex ‘justicioid’ lineage (Acanthaceae) and the evolution of androecial form in New World Justicia".

          Contact Carrie Kiel This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.