Research

Research

Staff

Peter Fritsch, Ph.D.

Vice President of Research / Director of the Herbarium

Tiana Franklin Rehman

Herbarium Collections Manager

Barney L. Lipscomb

Director of BRIT Press and Library, Leonhardt Chair of Texas Botany

Brooke Byerley Best, Ph.D.

Editor, Botanist, Living Roof Coordinator, Research-Education Liaison

Morgan Gostel, Ph.D.

Research Botanist

Kim Norton Taylor

Conservation Research Botanist

Jason Best

Director of Biodiversity Informatics

Alyssa B. Young

Research Manager and Special Collections Librarian

Taylor Sultan Quedensley, Ph.D.

Research Botanist

Alejandra Vasco, Ph.D.

Research Botanist

The BRIT research staff strives to incorporate the "three Ds" into each of our projects: discovery, documentation, and dissemination. Our researchers generally focus their projects around the themes of biodiversity exploration, botany science core, and sustainability. By participating in a variety of projects around the world, from Peru and Jamaica to our home in Fort Worth, Texas, our researchers are always on the go...and always learning.

Recent Articles

Two Botanists and An Artist Walk Into the Desert...

The Amon Carter Museum of American Art (ACMAA) sponsored Barney Lipscomb and Tiana Rehman to serve as botanical guides to West Texas for artist Mark Dion. Commissioned by the ACMAA, Mark—a contemporary artist who is part explorer, part historian, part naturalist, and part collector—is making a series of exploratory journeys through Texas that are inspired by four early naturalists/artists in Texas: Sarah Ann Lillie Hardinge (1824–1913), John James Audubon (1785–1851), Frank Law Olmsted (1822–1903), and Charles Wright (1811–1885). In 2020, the ACMAA Special Exhibition Galleries will tell the story of these early Texas Artists and natural history travelers in Texas. Map of Wright's journey through West Texas (from Flowering Plants of Trans-Pecos Texas and Adjacent Areas ) BRIT’s West Texas t...
Read More >

Summer 2017 Research and Herbarium Interns

Education: Junior in Microbiology at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa Most Recent Project: Vanessa is currently collaborating with Dr. Harold W. Keller at BRIT on a paper about corticolous myxomycetes, a type of slime mold found on Texas American elm trees. Vanessa started this project during her 2017 summer internship and has continued the project in the year since. Favorite Memory of Summer 2017 BRIT internship: “Helping with the NLU collection acquisition in the herbarium, which led to lots of fun and laughter. The most memorable part of the whole experience for me was each intern getting a dinosaur-based nickname. Mine is Vanessasaurus Rex.” Education: Senior in Ecology at the University of Texas at Dallas Most Recent Project: Over the summer of 2018, Natch helped with BRIT summ...
Read More >

A Summer Deep in the Weeds: Surprises Found Along the Way

Article written by Kelly Carroll, 2018 BRIT Herbarium and Research Intern and student at Trinity University. The property doesn’t look like much, driving by – a sea of seemingly uniform brown grass studded with mesquite trees, bordered by development and what looks to be a small-scale hackberry forest with a dry creek-bed running through it. Of course, everything looks different when you get close enough to see detail. Still, I didn’t have very high expectations when I arrived with Dan Caudle , a BRIT Resident Research Associate and grass and prairie expert, in May of 2018 to do a survey of the vegetation cover and biodiversity on the property ahead of construction that would ravage a good-sized section. When the summer started, I had no real experience in identifying anything beyond being...
Read More >

A Day as a Botanical Illustrator

Article written by Isabella Wu, 2018 BRIT Herbarium and Research Intern and student at Emory University. Clear skies heralded a warm afternoon with no cover from the blazing sun. I was on my way to the LBJ Grasslands an hour away from the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (more commonly referred to as “BRIT”) where this whole herbarium adventure began. Kim Taylor, who is a rare plants expert at BRIT, had planned an outing to assess a new species first published two years ago in 2016. Memory’s Rose, latin name Rosa memoryae, sounded so good and beautiful. But there was a real possibility that it might not actually be a new species but rather a variation of the abundant Rosa foliolosa. We intended to find out. More specifically, we were going to collect the plant and record the number an...
Read More >

What Is This Thing? Bur oak acorn cap

"What is this thing???" We often hear this question from friends and family in relation to natural "treasures" found in the landscape. Sticks, leaves, flowers, fruit, fungi, lichens, moss. You name it, somebody has likely brought it to BRIT for identification at some point (or emailed us a photo). This time we feature the crazy, gargantuan, monster acorn caps from the bur oak tree ( Quercus macrocarpa ). RAWR! Monster caps! Bur oak distribution in Texas. Adapted from digital version of "Atlas of United States Trees" by Elbert L. Little, Jr. U.S. Geological Survey. Bur oak is native to the central and eastern US, including most of the middle swath of Texas, top to bottom. This fast-grower typically likes an open, limestone or chalky clay habitat and is adapted not only to fire and drought b...
Read More >

What Is This Thing? Oenothera triloba fruit

"What is this thing???" We often hear this question from friends and family in relation to natural "treasures" found in the landscape. Sticks, leaves, flowers, fruit, fungi, lichens, moss. You name it, somebody has likely brought it to BRIT for identification at some point (or emailed us a photo). The object below was brought in recently by a Fort Worth resident. Roughly the size and shape of a pine cone, this is actually an aggregation of many fruits (capsules) from a plant called stemless evening-primrose ( Oenothera triloba ). A winter annual, this native wildflower comes up in disturbed places (and often lawns) at the end of the year, overwinters as a rosette, then produces yellow flowers in the spring. Flowers arise from the base of the plant, meaning fruit eventually develop at the b...
Read More >

My Summer Education: The Microscopic World

This post was written by Vanessa Marshall, 2017 summer intern and student at The University of Alabama. BRIT has been amazing – a catalyst that has unlocked the doors to the natural world and shown me wonders that I had never fully appreciated. I have always loved hiking, climbing trees, being outside in general, but my connection to the surrounding plant-life was distant, similar to the relationship between a homeowner and the trees that form the hardwood floors. I appreciated plants’ beauty and enjoyed the shade, but now there is a definite connection between my (limited) scientific knowledge and the physical plants. It means so much more to know the scientific name of a tree you just ran past, or to recognize Vitis mustangensis and know that you can eat the wild grapes growing on the vi...
Read More >

Recycling Rocks!

Mixed-stream recycling is pretty amazing. We get to throw all of our recyclables into one bin, and then — POOF! — they magically get taken away and sorted elsewhere. No more icky sorting of paper from soda cans, milk jugs from mason jars! But have you ever wondered how the sorting ACTUALLY HAPPENS and WHO DOES IT?
Read More >