Research

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, Evolution, and Conservation, incorporating and contributing to our world class Collections. Participating in a variety of projects at the state, national, and international level, our researchers are always on the go…and always learning.

The Herbarium

The Herbarium

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The BRIT Press

The BRIT Press

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Sumner Laboratory

Sumner Laboratory

The Sumner Molecular and Structural Laboratory is a plant research and teaching center...
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Get Involved

Get Involved

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The Library & Special Collections

Library & Special Collections

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Digital Resources

Digital Resources

Herbarium Collections TORCH portal - this site includes all the digitized plant specimens from BRIT (BRIT, SMU, VDB, NLU) along with the specimens of...
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Research Publications

Research Publications

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Research Programs

Urban Ecology Program

The BRIT campus was designed not only to inspire but also to serve as a living research lab for biodiversity science as it relates to sustainable landscape design. Ongoing projects involve a diverse team spanning across Research, Education, and Operations departments.

The Urban Ecology program is led by Dr. Brooke Best.

Ericales Program

Studying the Systematics, Evolution, and Biodiversity of a Megadiverse Clade of Flowering Plants

The Ericales Program is led by Dr. Peter Fritsch.

Philippines Program

Documenting plants and lichens in a biodiversity hotspot.

The Philippines Program is led by Dr. Peter Fritsch.

Compositae Systematics

Taxonomy and Evolution of Ferns and Lycophytes Program

The Taxonomy and Evolution of Ferns and Lycophytes Program at BRIT is led by Research Botanist Dr. Alejandra Vasco.

The Program focuses broadly on taxonomy, systematics, and evolution of these two plant lineages. We ask questions about species diversity, evolutionary relationships among taxa, trait evolution using comparative methods, and the role that genes play in plant morphological diversity. Our work, whether on ferns or lycophytes, integrates techniques from several disciplines, including traditional specimen-based research in herbaria, fieldwork, anatomy, phylogenetic systematics, and evolutionary genomics. We are a diverse team with many ongoing projects.

Lichen Evolution and Diversity Program

Dr. Manuela Dal Forno's research program addresses many questions involving evolution, ecology, and genetics utilizing lichen symbioses as models. Her interests can be categorized into three main areas: lichen systematics, microbiome evolution, and genomics.

Herbarium Curation Projects

The herbarium collections are the core of BRIT and support ongoing research projects. Here you can read about our projects related to our collections.

Herbarium Curatorial Projects are led by Tiana F. Rehman.

Biodiversity and Floristics

The researchers and Resident Research Associates of BRIT conduct botanical research around the world, documenting the diversity of plant life from Texas to the Philippines. Their research is reported in academic journals and other publications such as monographs and regional floras and field guides.

Texas Plant Conservation Program

Plant diversity is being lost at an alarming rate. It is this same diversity that supports human livelihoods and many of our most precious natural resources. One of BRIT’s major goals is to raise awareness of the value plants bring to life, and the threats they face worldwide. BRIT is committed to working toward conserving plant diversity at home in Texas, and around the world.

The Texas Plant Conservation Program is led by Conservation Research Botanist Kim Norton Taylor.

Biodiversity Informatics Program

The Biodiversity Informatics Program is led by Jason Best.

Library Exhibitions

BRIT Library has ongoing exhibitions on view in the Upper Atrium Collections Gallery and the Library, which highlight the Library's Arader Natural History Collection of Art and rare materials from the Library's Special Collections and Rare Book Room. The Library also oversees installations on current BRIT Research Programs in the Upper Atrium Research Gallery.

Library exhibitions are overseen by BRIT Librarian, Brandy Watts.

Recent Articles

Pondering Poaceae Across Texas

Dan Caudle discusses his interest in grasses and grasslands, giving particular attention to his work with Meredith Ellis, a young rancher and committed conservationist in Cooke County, Texas.

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Searching for Mertensia through the Mountains of China

From the mountains of China, comes a botany story in search of Mertensia (Bluebells), of the Boraginaceae family. Through the summer of 2010, botanist Mare Nazaire Ph.D. of California Botanic Garden (RSA) conducted numerous field collecting trips throughout the alpine regions of China.

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Brooke Byerley Best, Ph.D.

Director of Research Programs

Jason Best

Director of Biodiversity Informatics

Barney L. Lipscomb

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

Tiana Franklin Rehman

Herbarium Collections Manager

Diego Barroso

TORCH TCN Project Manager

Ashley Bordelon

Digitization Coordinator

Rachel Carmickle

Herbarium Technician

Kelly Carroll

Herbarium Digitization Technician

Manuela Dal Forno, Ph.D.

Research Botanist

Erin Flinchbaugh

Conservation Program Assistant

Morgan Gostel, Ph.D.

Research Botanist

Jessica Lane

Herbarium Assistant

Joe Lippert

Digitization Coordinator

Bob O’Kennon

Research Scientist

Natch Rodriguez

Herbarium Digitization Technician

Kimberly Shay

Press Coordinator and Assistant Editor

Kim Norton Taylor

Conservation Research Botanist

Alejandra Vasco, Ph.D.

Research Botanist

Brandy Watts

BRIT Librarian

MS in Library & Information Science, specializing in Archives. University...

Peter Fritsch, Ph.D.

Vice President of Research / Director of the Herbarium

Tessa Boucher

Herbarium Digitization Technician

Megan O’Connell, Ph.D.

Conservation Botanist

Sydney Jackson

Conservation Technician