Stephen Garrett


I am a botanical taxonomist and plant ecologist focusing on understanding the mechanics and drivers of plant evolution and biological diversity across the globe. My research interests include plant genetics, plant morphology, taxonomy, patterns of plant evolution, biogeography, data analysis and modelling techniques for pushing the frontiers of biodiversity description and conservation, and uncovering unknown plant stories. I’m originally from the south-west of Western Australia and have spent the last 4 years studying at the University of Edinburgh and Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh. In 2017 I completed my MSc in the Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants. As part of the Plant.ID Marie Curie network, I am based in Copenhagen at the Natural History Museum of Denmark and with the University of Copenhagen, and I will be tackling the species delimitation of hemi-parasitic Euphrasia plants. My main research focus is the application of molecular techniques to unravel the difficult taxonomy of the genus. Target capture of many unlinked genes from a unique sample set of more than 1000 collections from the Atlas Flora Danica of about 9 Danish taxa will be used to untangle patterns of hybridization from incomplete lineage sorting. Morphological traits enabling recognition of genetically supported clusters (potential species) will be identified using morphometry. A time series will be produced of selected red-listed Danish species from historical collections to monitor changes in occurrence data over the past 100 years. Finally, the target capture protocol will be used based on historical herbarium collections to build a genus level reference database and phylogenetic hypothesis of Euphrasia. My botanical training and international experience will allow me to collaborate with other ESRs to deliver some of the deliverables of the Plant.ID network.