Paul Mutuku Musili

Paul Mutuku Musili
National Museums of Kenya · Department of Botany

PhD in Plant systematics
Taxonomy, Biodiversity Conservation and Climate change related research.

About

47
Publications
23,532
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642
Citations
Citations since 2016
38 Research Items
640 Citations
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2016201720182019202020212022050100150200
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200

Publications

Publications (47)
Article
Full-text available
The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projects a global temperature rise of 4.3 ± 0.7 °C by 2100 and an extinction of 8.5% in one out of every six species. Australia’s aquatic ecosystem is no exception; habitat loss, fragmentation, and loss of biodiversity are being experienced. As the center for Nymphaea species distribution, it present...
Article
Full-text available
Commelina species are plant resources full of promise as future food and feed that thrive in diverse ecosystems. They are medicinal plants, leafy vegetables, forage for ruminants, feed for cricket insects, crop protection, and fuel. However, information regarding factors driving Commelina in agro-ecological zones in Western Kenya is lacking. Theref...
Article
COVER PHOTO: An African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana) and two Grévy's zebras (Equus grevyi) forage at Mpala Research Centre and Conservancy in Laikipia, Kenya during July 2019. These and other herbivores suppress plant biomass, and herbivore extinctions may trigger a cascade of broader changes throughout the ecological communities they once in...
Article
Full-text available
Do hotspots of plant biodiversity translate into hotspots in the abundance and diversity of large mammalian herbivores? A common expectation in community ecology is that the diversity of plants and animals should be positively correlated in space, as with the latitudinal diversity gradient and the geographic mosaic of biodiversity. Whether this pat...
Article
Full-text available
Diverse communities of large mammalian herbivores (LMH), once widespread, are now rare. LMH exert strong direct and indirect effects on community structure and ecosystem functions, and measuring these effects is important for testing ecological theory and for understanding past, current, and future environmental change. This in turn requires long-t...
Preprint
Full-text available
Herbarium collections shape our understanding of the world's flora and are crucial for addressing global change and biodiversity conservation. The formation of such natural history collections, however, are not free from sociopolitical issues of immediate relevance. Despite increasing efforts addressing issues of representation and colonialism in n...
Article
Full-text available
Key message The high mortality and low recruitment of the myrmecophytic Acacia drepanolobium are not consistent with the demographic rates of monodominant species. The positive conspecific density dependence observed from the spatial analysis is consistent with the defensive benefits conferred by symbiotic ants to trees when they grow close to each...
Article
Full-text available
Navua sedge (Cyperus aromaticus) is an aggressive perennial sedge in pastures and crops in the wet tropical regions of Australia and numerous Pacific Island countries and territories. A biological control program was started in Australia to look for biological control agents for C. aromaticus in its native range in equatorial Africa. Surveys in Ken...
Article
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With c. 2,000 species, Euphorbia is one of the largest angiosperm genera, yet a lack of chloroplast genome (plastome) resources impedes a better understanding of its evolution. In this study, we assembled and annotated 28 plastomes from Euphorbiaceae, of which 15 were newly sequenced. Phylogenomic and comparative analyses of 22 plastome sequences f...
Article
Full-text available
Premna mwadimei (Lamiaceae), a distinct new species from the coastal forests of Kenya, Cha Simba area in Kilifi County, is described here with photographs. It is closely similar to P. chrysoclada and P. tanganyikensis but mainly differs from both by its habit, nature of the older stems, indumentum, leaf shape and floral morphology.
Book
Full-text available
Mangroves are defined as assemblages of salt tolerant trees and shrubs that grow in the intertidal regions of the tropical and subtropical coastlines. The word mangrove comes from the Portuguese word mangue for “tree” and the English word grove for “a stand of trees,” referring to the dominant trees and to the entire plant community. They provide a...
Article
Mapping and modeling suitable habitat and distribution of aquatic species is important to help assess the impact of factors such as climate change in affecting the shift, decline, or expansion of species habitat ranges. In Africa, the distribution of water lily (Nymphaea) species is geographically varied and the habitats suitable for individual spe...
Technical Report
Full-text available
A report on floral biodiversity of Chyulu Hills and its surrounding landscape in Kenya
Article
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Cintractia(Anthracoideaceae, Ustilaginomycotina) is a widespread genus of smut fungi that parasitizes species of Cyperaceae. Specimens of Cintractia spp. on species ofCyperus s. lat. were examined to resolve their taxonomy, including a species on Cyperus aromaticus, which is an invasive weed in Australia. A phylogenetic species concept was used to...
Article
Full-text available
ForestGEO is a network of scientists and long-term forest dynamics plots (FDPs) spanning the Earth's major forest types. ForestGEO's mission is to advance understanding of the diversity and dynamics of forests and to strengthen global capacity for forest science research. ForestGEO is unique among forest plot networks in its large-scale plot dimens...
Article
Effects of large mammalian herbivores on woody vegetation tend to be heterogeneous in space and time, but the factors that drive such heterogeneity are poorly understood. We examined the influence of fine‐scale habitat heterogeneity on the distribution and browsing effects of two of the largest African terrestrial mammals, the elephant and giraffe....
Article
Full-text available
The genus Chlorophytum includes many economically important species well-known for medicinal, ornamental, and horticultural values. However, to date, few molecular genomic resources have been reported for this genus. Therefore, there is limited knowledge of phylogenetic studies, and the available chloroplast (cp) genome of Chlorophytum (C. rhizopen...
Article
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Mutomo hill plant sanctuary is a ten-hectare piece of land in Kenya listed as a botanical garden under the Botanical Gardens Conservation International, originally established in 1964 with the aim of conserving indigenous flora from destructive anthropogenic activities. This paper presents ethnobotanical documentation of medicinal plants of Mutomo...
Article
The new combination Phyllopentas schimperi (Hochstetter) Y.D. Zhou & Q.F. Wang is here proposed to replace the two illegitimate combinations Phyllopentas schimperiana (Vatke) Kårehed & B. Bremer and Phyllopentas schimperiana (A. Richard) Kårehed & B. Bremer of this species, which is found in Tropical Africa, and was formerly positioned in Pentas.
Article
Full-text available
Medicinal plants are vital sources of easily accessible remedy used in the countryside healthcare system. This study aimed to find and make record of plants that are used for medicinal therapy by three communities living in Cherangani Hills. So far no single study has documented medicinal plants as a whole in the area. Ethnobotanical data were obta...
Article
Full-text available
A major challenge in biology is to understand how phylogeny, diet, and environment shape the mammalian gut microbiome. Yet most studies of nonhuman microbiomes have relied on relatively coarse dietary categorizations and have focused either on individual wild populations or on captive animals that are sheltered from environmental pressures, which m...
Article
Inventory incompleteness has seriously affected the accuracy of the spatial distribution pattern of biodiversity, but the causes of incompleteness and the priority investigation with quantitative methods have received far less attention. In this study, we constructed a plant database of tropical East Africa, evaluated and explained the inventory in...
Article
Full-text available
Distribution patterns of biodiversity and the factors influencing them are important in conservation and management strategies of natural resources. With impending threats from increased human population and global climatic changes, there is an urgent need for a comprehensive understanding of these patterns, more so in species-rich tropical montane...
Article
Full-text available
Distribution patterns of biodiversity and the factors influencing them are important in conservation and management strategies of natural resources. With impending threats from increased human population and global climatic changes, there is an urgent need for a comprehensive understanding of these patterns, more so in species-rich tropical montane...
Article
Full-text available
The association between the African ant plant, Vachellia drepanolobium, and the ants that inhabit it has provided insight into the boundaries between mutualism and parasitism, the response of symbioses to environmental perturbations, and the ecology of species coexistence. We use a landscape genomics approach at sites sampled throughout the range o...
Article
Full-text available
Cherangani hills, located in Western Kenya, comprises of 12 forest blocks, maintaining great plant diversity. However, little attention to plant diversity studies has been paid to it in the past years. Here, we present a checklist of the vascular plants of this region obtained through intensive field investigations and matching of herbarium specime...
Article
Stand structure and tree species diversity patterns were examined plot-wide and among four topographically defined habitats (plateau, cliff, low plain and depressions) in a 120-ha permanent plot in an Acacia -dominated savanna in Mpala Ranch, central Kenya. The four habitats were defined by clustering the 3000 quadrats of 20 × 20 m in the plot base...
Article
Full-text available
Applications of DNA barcoding include identifying species, inferring ecological and evolutionary relationships between species, and DNA metabarcoding. These applications require reference libraries that are not yet available for many taxa and geographic regions. We collected, identified, and vouchered plant specimens from Mpala Research Center in L...
Article
Full-text available
Distribution patterns of biodiversity and the factors influencing them are important in conservation and management strategies of natural resources. With impending threats from increased human population and global climatic changes, there is an urgent need for a comprehensive understanding of these patterns, more so in species-rich tropical montane...
Preprint
The association between the African ant plant, Vachellia drepanolobium, and the ants that inhabit it has provided insight into the boundaries between mutualism and parasitism, the response of symbioses to environmental perturbations, and the ecology of species coexistence. We use a landscape genomics approach at sites sampled throughout the range o...
Article
Aim To examine the contribution of large‐diameter trees to biomass, stand structure, and species richness across forest biomes. Location Global. Time period Early 21st century. Major taxa studied Woody plants. Methods We examined the contribution of large trees to forest density, richness and biomass using a global network of 48 large (from 2 t...
Article
Widespread, common species are of limited value for regional biogeographic studies and of least concern for conservation and land management. In contrast, narrow endemics may be informative for such studies and are usually of high conservation priority. A new species is separated from the widespread species Schoenus melanostachys on the basis of ph...
Article
Full-text available
The Acacia drepanolobium (also known as Vachellia drepanolobium) ant-plant symbiosis is considered a classic case of species coexistence, in which four species of tree-defending ants compete for nesting space in a single host tree species. Coexistence in this system has been explained by trade-offs in the ability of the ant associates to compete wi...
Article
We used nuclear rDNA-sequence data from the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region to test the monophyly of Schoenus by using maximum parsimony and Bayesian inference. Schoenus is not monophyletic, with strong bootstrap support for most branches and congruence across analyses. nrITS does not resolve terminal taxa fully and, therefore, needs to be...
Technical Report
The proceedings of the 4th Biennial Science Conference of the National Museums of Kenya have been published. The main conference theme “Museum Research and Climate” was anchored in four key sub-themes namely: - a) climate change, vulnerability assessment on species and associated resources; b) collections and information management as a basis for u...
Technical Report
Botanical survey was carried out in Mount Kenya Game Ranch (during the dry season). The study focused on six main blocks. Vegetation types, composition and distribution, conservation statuses of important species according IUCN criteria, disturbances and threats to plant biodiversity in the ranch, and invasive species (alien or native) were determi...
Thesis
Infra- and suprageneric classification of Schoenus is uncertain. Like other Cyperaceae, Schoenus L. and allied genera have reduced vegetative and reproductive structures which have resulted in uncertain homologies and hence differences in opinion about its phylogenetic relationships. This study addresses the issues of phylogeny, species limits and...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Dense sampling for assessment of monophyly in Schoeneae, a morphologically diverse tribe of Cyperaceae Gibbs, AK 1 , Wilson, KL 2 , Barrett, RL 3 , Muasya, AM4 , Verboom, GA 4 , Musili, PM1 , Bruhl, JJ 1 1 University of New England, Armidale, Australia; 2 National Herbarium of NSW, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, Australia; 3 Botanic Gardens...
Article
Full-text available
Kyllinga mbitheana, a new species, is described from eastern Kenya and its conservation status assessed. The species is a tufted perennial to 200 mm tall, with white inflorescences and glumes to 2.5 mm long. Kyllinga mbitheana is most similar to K. microbulbosa and K. brunneoalba, but is unique in Kyllinga, being the only species with a spikelet be...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Schoenus, as currently circumscribed, is native to most continents, but it is a predominantly Australian genus which has remained a largely understudied Cinderella of Cyperaceae. Classification of Schoenus based on morphology by Kükenthal, modified by Wilson has recognises two subgenera and 11 sections. Previously presented preliminary estimates of...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
With over 120 species, the largely endemic Schoenus is a common, often important and probably as frequently overlooked component of many Australian ecosystems. We are revising the genus to serve the needs of ‘Flora of Australia’ and broader goals of phylogeny reconstruction, and understanding character evolution and biogeographic patterns. To meet...
Article
Cyperus rotundus L. represents a complex of taxa whose relationships are not fully determined. The aim of the research was to revise the taxonomy of this complex, based on the overall similarity and avoiding intuitive use of one or few characters. Variation within and between the taxa of the complex represented in East Africa was investigated using...

Questions

Question (1)
Question
Herbarium collections are increasingly becoming enormous resource for DNA studies; but for many species in certain families, there is difficulty in obtaining amplifiable DNA. I would like to know, so far, which is the best commercially available DNA extraction protocol and its performance in terms of DNA purity and yield, and PCR amplification successes.

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Projects

Projects (14)
Project
Over all aim: Contribute to climate change mitigation efforts by: i) reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by slowing, halting and reversing forest loss and degradation; and ii) increasing removal of GHGs from the earth’s atmosphere. The Chyulu Hills REDD+ Project aims to protect the Chyulu Hills (Kenya) landscape, its forests, woodlands, savannahs, wetlands and springs, and its wild populations of Africa's best known animals – lions, cheetahs, wild dogs, rhinos, elephants, and various antelopese through the conservation, management and expansion of forests.