graduate students

Keir Morse

Doctoral Candidate


I have over 20 years of experience as a professional field botanist working for the U.S. government, nonprofits, and environmental consulting firms. My primary interests include floristics, taxonomy, conservation, citizen science, and photography.


Malacothamnus (bush-mallows) are fire-following shrubs in the mallow family (Malvaceae) with controversial taxonomy due to highly variable and overlapping morphology with possible complications due to hybridization. Three conflicting treatments are currently in use recognizing between 11 and 28 taxa. Of these, sixteen taxa are currently included in the California Rare Plant Ranking System, with two presumed extinct.  Ten of these rare taxa are not recognized under the Flora of North America treatment and six are not recognized under the most recent Jepson Manual treatment.

I am using a combination of morphometric analyses, Restriction site Associated DNA Sequencing (RAD-Seq), comparative phenology, and extensive field evaluations to resolve the taxonomy of the genus Malacothamnus and evaluate the conservation status of each taxon.

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