Research Areas

The foundation of any terrestrial ecosystem is the plants and soil that other organisms depend upon for food, shelter, and air to breathe. The biological world is currently confronted with rapid changes due to global climate change, increases in invasive species and diseases, and habitat fragmentation and these will all have significant impacts on the health, survival, diversity, and distribution of the biota as we know it. Research areas at the Chicago Botanic Garden and Northwestern University in the Plant Biology and Conservation Program address these important issues. Explore our faculty and student webpages to learn more about specific research

Documenting and Understanding Biodiversity

  • Carbon and nutrient cycling
  • Community ecology
  • Paleobotany
  • Phylogenomics
  • Plant demography
  • Plant and fungal species and genetic diversity
  • Plant, fungal, animal interactions
  • Pollination ecology
  • Systematics and evolution

Understanding Threats to Native Habitats

  • Climate change effects on plant diversity and interactions
  • Education and citizen science
  • Habitat fragmentation
  • Invasion biology

Mitigating Threats

  • Conservation and restoration genetics
  • Ex situ conservation, including seed banking
  • Natural areas management
  • Rare species monitoring and conservation
  • Restoration ecology
  • Urban ecology

Plants and People

  • Crop evolution and diversity
  • Ornamental plant evaluation
  • Ecosystem services