Peter H. Raven

Missouri Botanical Garden

Election Year: 1977
Primary Section: 63, Environmental Sciences and Ecology
Secondary Section: 27, Evolutionary Biology
Membership Type: Member

Research Interests

My primary research interests are the systematics, evolution and biogeography of the plant family Onagraceae, which is one of the most thoroughly studied plant families of its size (16 genera, about 653 species). We have been able to develop Onagraceae as a powerful model for understanding patterns and processes of plant evolution in general, a truly exciting prospect that has already paid rich dividends. Monographic and comparative studies of the anatomy, embryology, cytology and chemosystematics of Onagraceae have resulted in a nearly comprehensive revision of all species. We also have begun collaborative studies on variation at the molecular level to complement our morphological studies. Another particular interest of mine is plant biogeography -- the evolutionary history of entire biota and the individual taxa found in certain regions -- and the ways in which these organisms have been influenced by continental movements. The major emphasis of the research program at the Missouri Botanical Garden is in the tropics, where much of the biotic diversity of the earth is concentrated but scarcely known and is severely threatened by human activities.

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