UWA professor co-authors research publication

Published 8:17 am Friday, December 2, 2011

LIVINGSTON – University of West Alabama Associate Professor of Biology Brian Keener is a contributing researcher in the recently-published “Annotated Checklist of the Vascular Plants of Alabama,” a comprehensive statewide checklist of vascular plants of Alabama.

This annotated checklist of vascular plants includes notes on rarity, nativity, and selected synonyms. The combined total of 3,743 species and 1,120 genera in 204 families indicates considerable floristic richness and elevates Alabama high among states with great overall plant diversity.

“The checklist is a great advancement in our collective knowledge of the Alabama Flora because it’s the first comprehensive list of the entire vascular flora published since 1901,” said Keener, who is also the director and curator of UWA’s Herbarium. “This brings Alabama botany into the modern age where all of the species come together on one list.”

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The checklist committee met over the course of 10 years at different locations throughout Alabama.

“The committee started reviewing family by family, deciding what species we actually had present in Alabama, while trying to clear-up a lot of inaccuracies from the literature,” Keener continued. “It is totally specimen-based, and anyone can reference this checklist as a resource for what species occur in Alabama.”

Keener added that the book would benefit biologists as well as wildflower enthusiasts who might use it as a reference guide for the presence or absence of species in our flora.

“The first step in biological conservation is inventory,” said Keener. “You can’t conserve what you don’t know you have. After 110 years, it was time for a new inventory.”

Keener, along with Robert Kral, Alvin R. Diamond, Jr., Steven L. Ginzbarg, Curtis J. Hansen, Robert R. Haynes, Michel G. Lelong, Daniel D. Spaulding, and Michael Woods, coauthored the Annotated Checklist of the Vascular Plants of Alabama.