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Nina Rønsted

Nina Rønsted

– Director of Science and Conservation

As Director of Science and Conservation for the National Tropical Botanical Garden, Nina oversees the strategic development of science and conservation at the Juliet Rice Wichman Botanical Research Center (BRC) at NTBG’s headquarters on Kauaʻi. Nina came to NTBG in 2019 from a position as Professor and Curator of vascular plants and Director of Science at the Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, where she continues to be adjunct professor. Following her PhD from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, Nina held research fellowships at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew in the UK and the University of Minnesota. Nina’s research is interdisciplinary and centred on the evolution and conservation of plant diversity and the relationship between people and plants.

Contact: nronsted@ntbg.org
Google Scholar Profile
Twitter: @ninaronsted

David H. Lorence

David H. Lorence

– Senior Research Botanist

Dr. David Lorence occupies the B. Evans Chair of Botany and came to the National Tropical Botanical Garden in 1987. Research specialties are systematic studies of tropical plants, floristics, and invasive plant species. His systematic research focuses on Pacific and neotropical members of the large and diverse Rubiaceae family, which includes coffee, quinine, and gardenias. He also studies Pacific island pteridophytes and the Monimiaceae family of the Malagasy region. David leads NTBG’s publication of regional Pacific Floras, including publication of the Flora of Marquesas Islands in 2020, and he currently works on publishing Flora of Samoa.

Contact: dlorence@ntbg.org
Google Scholar Profile

Timothy W. Flynn

Timothy W. Flynn

– Herbarium Curator

Tim is Curator of the Herbarium (PTBG) at the National Tropical Botanical Garden. He has been working at NTBG since 1981. In addition to managing the herbarium he has also participated in fieldwork in Hawaiʻi, Samoa, Tonga, Niue, the Cook Islands, Kosrae, Pohnpei, Palau, Australia, New Caledonia, and Ecuador, and currently has a particular interest in contributing to understudied bryophytes.

Contact: tflynn@ntbg.org

Seana K. Walsh

Seana K. Walsh

– Conservation Biologist

As Conservation Biologist of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, Seana’s primary role is to lead in the development of the organization’s activities to implement the Hawaiʻi Strategy for Plant Conservation. She earned a Master’s degree in Botany from the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa and is currently pursuing a PhD degree from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, focused on science-based conservation management of threatened Hawaiian plants. Her applied research interests include plant breeding systems, pollination ecology, and population genetics.

Contact: swalsh@ntbg.org
Google Scholar Profile
Twitter: @Walsh_Seana

Kenneth R. Wood

Kenneth R. Wood

– Research Biologist

Ken’s research focuses on the study and conservation of Pacific Island floras. His essential responsibilities include organizing and conducting botanical field surveys with a specialty in accessing rough terrain habitats. Other aspects of his research include: mapping the distribution and abundance of rare Pacific island plants (phytogeography); collecting herbarium specimens for scientific study, collecting seeds, spores, and cuttings for conservation, and DNA material for genetic sequencing; publishing conservation status data and new species descriptions; and contributing to conservation biology research and educational outreach through national and international scientific collaboration.

Contact: kwood@ntbg.org
ResearchGate Profile

Dustin Wolkis

Dustin Wolkis

– Seed Bank & Laboratory Manager

As Seed Bank and Laboratory Manager at the National Tropical Botanical Garden, Dustin specialize in ex situ seed conservation biology with an emphasis on seed and pollen storage behavior, seed longevity and aging kinetics, seed borne pathogen abatement, and seed dormancy and dormancy alleviation of native Hawaiian plant species of conservation importance. His research aims to understand how seeds respond to desiccation and subfreezing temperatures, identifying regeneration intervals, and determining optimal seed propagation techniques. Dustin holds and MSc in Plant Biology and Conservation from Arizona State University and is currently pursuing a PhD degree at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, focused on changing the seed banking paradigm using Hawaiian lobeliads as a model system.

Contact: dwolkis@ntbg.org
Google Scholar Profile

Ben Nyberg

Ben Nyberg

– GIS and Drone Program Coordinator

Ben has an MSc degree in GIS (Global Information System mapping) from Penn State University from 2017. At NTBG he is responsible for management of organization-wide phytogeography data and GIS modeling, contributing data to NTBGs research and conservation work, as well as to over 250 NTBG led IUCN Red List assessments. Ben has also implemented an innovative drone program helping NTBG survey hard to access terrain. His research work with using drones in biodiversity exploration is internationally recognized and he has been locating several threatened plant species of conservation importance.

Contact: bnyberg@ntbg.org
Twitter: @BenBotanical

Uma Nagendra

Uma Nagendra

– Conservation Operations Manager and Ecologist Limahuli Garden

Dr. Uma Nagendra is the Conservation Operations Manager and Ecologist, at NTBG’s Limahuli Garden and Preserve on Kaua’i, where she is responsible for leading biocultural conservation projects within the 1,000-acre Limahuli Preserve. Uma has a PhD in disturbance ecology from the University of Georgia from 2017. Uma’s research interests span many aspects of applied ecological conservation. Overall, work at Limahuli aims to find appropriate management strategies for ecological and cultural resilience while connecting modern science to traditional ecological practice and knowledge.

Contact: unagendra@ntbg.org

Elliot Gardner

Elliot Gardner

– Postdoctoral Researcher in Tropical Plant Biology

Based at the International Center for Tropical Botany at the Kampong (ICTB), a collaboration between the Institute of Environment at Florida International University and the National Tropical Botanical Garden, Elliot conducts synergistic research to support the conservation and sustainable use of tropical flora and ecosystems. Elliot holds a PhD focused on the systematics and pollination biology of Artocarpus from Northwestern University and the Chicago Botanic Garden from 2017. Before joining the ICTB and NTBG in October 2019, he has worked as a tropical plant systematist, primarily in Southeast Asia, and he is equally at home in the field as with phylogenomic analyses.

Google Scholar Profile

Research Associates

NTBG’s research programs are enhanced by dedicated partnerships with research associates who regularly utilize or curate NTBG’s living and herbarium collections, engage in collaborative research projects with staff, and contribute with complementary expertise.

Dr. Ruth Aguraiuja – Native Hawaiian Ferns, Tallinn Botanic Garden

Dr. Bruce Baldwin – Vascular Plant Systematics, University of California Berkeley

Dr. Michael J. Balick – Economic Botany, Ethnobotany, New York Botanical Garden

Dr. Christopher Baraloto – Tropical Biology, International Center for Tropical Botany at the Kampong (ICTB), Florida International University

Ms. Kelsey Brock – Invasive Plant Species, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa & Bishop Museum

Dr. David Burney – Paleoecology, Makauwahi Cave Reserve 

Dr. Sherwin Carlquist – Plant Anatomy, Homepage

Dr. Susan Murch – Plant Biotechnology & Natural Products Chemistry, University of British Columbia

Dr. Thomas Croat – Systematics of Araceae, Missouri Botanical Garden

Dr. John Game – Hawaiian Pteridophytes, University of California Berkeley

Dr. Michael Kiehn – Cytotaxonomy, Vascular Plant Systematics, University of Vienna

Dr. Jean-Yves Meyer – Pacific Biodiversity Conservation, Government of French Polynesia, Tahiti

Mr. Steven P. Perlman, Pacific Botany, Homepage

Mr. James Shevock – Hawaiian Bryophytes, California Academy of Sciences

 

Dr. Charlotte Taylor – Rubiaceae Systematics and Floristics, Missouri Botanical Garden

Dr. Warren L. Wagner – Hawaiian and Pacific Island Floristics, Smithsonian Institution

Dr. Kenta Watanabe – Breeding Systems of Psychotria, Okinawa College, Japan

Dr. Stephen G. Weller – Breeding Systems, Restoration Ecology, University of California

Dr. Kawika Winter – Biocultural Conservation, Heʻeia National Estuarine Research Reserve, & Hawai`i Institute of Marine Biology

Dr. Nyree Zerega – Breadfruit Systematics, Northwestern University & Chicago Botanical Garden 

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