My research has included work on the phylogenetics, systematics, ethnobotany and conservation of several Pacific Island plant groups, including algae, mosses and angiosperms. I am particularly interested in the historical biogeography of plants that are distributed in the Pacific, and their modes of dispersal and speciation. My doctoral dissertation research focuses on the genus Santalum (Santalaceae), which includes the commercially valuable sandalwoods. This group of plants, which is distributed throughout India, Australia and the Pacific, offers the perfect opportunity to examine historical dispersal patterns across isolated islands, and to compare traditional plant uses across a wide variety of cultures. Because of sandalwood’s importance to humans (i.e. as a scent in perfume), many of the species are threatened with extinction, so I am interested in identifying lineages that are most critical to conserve. I am interested in using the phylogeny to ask questions regarding the biogeographical patterns of the genus and patterns of ethnobotanical uses. The phylogeny will be used to revise the current taxonomy, which will be published in a monograph, as well as online.
Danica Taylor Harbaugh
University and Jepson Herbaria
Department of Integrative Biology
University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720
Lab. (510) 642-2465
Fax. (510) 643-5390