Peter H. Raven's research while affiliated with Missouri Botanical Garden and other places

Publications (325)

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In their comment on our paper “Underestimating the challenges of avoiding a ghastly future” (Bradshaw et al., 2021), Bluwstein et al. (2021) attempt to contravene our exposé of the enormous challenges facing the entire human population from a rapidly degrading global environment. While we broadly agree with the need for multi-disciplinary solutions...
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As humanity’s demand on natural resources is increasingly exceeding Earth’s biological rate of regeneration, environmental deterioration such as greenhouse gas accumulation in the atmosphere, ocean acidification and groundwater depletion is accelerating. As a result, the capacity of ecosystems to renew biomass, herein referred to as ‘biocapacity’,...
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Major declines in insect biomass and diversity, reviewed here, have become obvious and well documented since the end of World War II. Here, we conclude that the spread and intensification of agriculture during the past half century is directly related to these losses. In addition, many areas, including tropical mountains, are suffering serious loss...
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We depend on plants individually and collectively for our survival. This special issue—A world of plants—brings together a set of articles that outline the importance of plants and why we must find ways to preserve them from extinction. Plants determine the characteristics of the atmosphere, control the flow of water and regional climates, supply a...
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While it is urgent that we protect as much biodiversity as we can in place in the natural world, it is also urgent that we pay attention to the preservation and accessibility of the biological specimens in the world’s collections. This is especially timely because of the financial stress on many collections-holding organizations during pandemic shu...
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We compare the numbers of vascular plant species in the three major tropical areas. The Afrotropical Region (Africa south of the Sahara Desert plus Madagascar), roughly equal in size to the Latin American Region (Mexico southward), has only 56,451 recorded species (about 170 being added annually), as compared with 118,308 recorded species (about 75...
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Human beings are not only a part of our planet’s ecosystems, but also, they are massively overusing them. This makes ecosystem protection, including biodiversity preservation, vital for humanity’s future. The speed and scale of the threat are unprecedented in human history. The long arch of evolution has been confronted with such a high level of hu...
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The ongoing sixth mass species extinction is the result of the destruction of component populations leading to eventual extirpation of entire species. Populations and species extinctions have severe implications for society through the degradation of ecosystem services. Here we assess the extinction crisis from a different perspective. We examine 2...
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To evaluate phylogenetic patterns of the distribution and evolution of plant secondary metabolites (PSMs), we selected 8 classes of PSMs and mapped them onto an updated phylogenetic tree including 437 families of seed plants. Significant phylogenetic signal was detected in 17 of the 18 tested seed plant clades for at least one of the 8 PSM classes...
Article
To evaluate phylogenetic patterns of the distribution and evolution of plant secondary metabolites (PSMs), we selected 8 classes of PSMs and mapped them onto an updated phylogenetic tree including 437 families of seed plants. Significant phylogenetic signal was detected in 17 of the 18 tested seed plant clades for at least one of the 8 PSM classes...
Chapter
What are the current dimensions of biological diversity? Taxonomists have described approximately two million species of eukaryotic organisms. Many more remain unknown, and the global total may approximate 12 million species or more. Generally, for the past 65 million years, the rate of extinction of these species appears to have been ~0.1 extincti...
Chapter
Perhaps 12 million species of eukaryotic organisms share this planet with us, together with many more kinds of bacteria and their relatives. Most of these remain unknown to us. We depend completely on other organisms for the conditions that make possible our life on Earth and supply so many of our needs. However, our rapidly growing numbers and con...
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Conservationist who changed how we think about threats to biodiversity.
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Mainstream competitiveness and international development analyses pay little attention to the significance of a country’s resource security for its economic performance. This paper challenges this neglect, examining the economic implications of countries resource dynamics, particularly for low-income countries. It explores typologies of resource pa...
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Humans, as a species, are very new on Earth, but we have had a profound effect on the Planet. The global ecosystem is necessary for every aspect of our lives; yet, we are not safeguarding it nor protecting the biodiversity of the other organisms we share the planet with. As a species, we depend on plants and agriculture for our very existence and t...
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All Onagraceae for which data are available have vestured pits on vessel-to-vessel pit pairs. Vestures may also be present in some species on the vessel side of vessel-to-ray pit pairs. Herbaceous Onagraceae do not have fewer vestures, although woods with lower density (Circaea L. and Oenothera L.) have fewer vestures. Some Onagraceae from drier ar...
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The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) commits its 196 nation parties to conserve biological diversity, use its components sustainably, and share fairly and equitably the benefits from the utilization of genetic resources. The last of these objectives was further codified in the Convention's Nagoya Protocol (NP), which came into effect in 201...
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The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) commits nation parties to conserve biodiversity, use its components sustainably, and share the benefits equitably and fairly. The last of these aims was further elaborated in the Nagoya Protocol (NP). The CBD and NP have overlooked the fact that biological resources are truly renewable and that there exi...
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PREMISE OF THE STUDY: Interpreting relationships within groups containing polyploids, which are frequent in angiosperms, can be greatly assisted by genomic techniques. In this study, we used a genome-skimming approach to investigate the evolutionary relationships and origins of polyploids in the monophyletic group, Ludwigia section Macrocarpon (Ona...
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The cataloging of the vascular plants of the Americas has a centuries-long history, but it is only in recent decades that an overview of the entire flora has become possible. We present an integrated assessment of all known native species of vascular plants in the Americas. Twelve regional and national checklists, prepared over the past 25 years an...
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Ludwigia (Onagraceae) is a worldwide wetland genus with 83 species currently classified as members of 23 sections. Past studies have documented the morphological diversity and complex evolutionary history. Here we provide the first comprehensive molecular phylogeny of Ludwigia, using our new data to examine the existing evolutionary hypotheses. We...
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Actions and priorities to connect the global community of plant scientists with the world's changing societies are today more imperative than ever. Environmental degradation, unsustainable resource use, and biodiversity loss all require integrated, collaborative solutions.
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A recent report assessing the world's plant species finds continuing progress in completing the taxonomic catalog. However, many undescribed species remain. The report concludes that, presently, 21% of known species risk extinction. We show this statement applies to the short-term and ignores the as-yet undescribed species, which are also likely at...
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Here, we present the first plastome of Ludwigia octovalvis (Onagraceae, Myrtales) as well as the first plastome in the subfamily Ludwigioideae. This genome is notable for its contracted inverted repeat regions and an expanded small single-copy region compared to other species in the orders Myrtales and Geraniales.
Poster
While polyploidization is considered to be a major evolutionary force in angiosperms and may confer a competitive advantage in invasive plants, the origins, patterns, and impacts of polyploidization are still not fully understood. The aim of this study is to increase understanding of polyploid evolution using section Macrocarpon (Ludwigia L., Onagr...
Poster
http://botanyconference.org/engine/search/index.php?func=detail&aid=281 While polyploidization is considered a major evolutionary force in angiosperms, the origins, patterns, and impacts of polyploidization are still not fully understood. The primary goal of our study is to increase understanding of polyploid evolution and the role of polyploidy in...
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In 1953, Hara provided new combinations for many sectional and species names when he combined Jussiaea L. with Ludwigia L., and at the time, Ludwigia sect. Oligospermum (Micheli) H.Hara was the correct name for one well-defined section. However, subsequent changes to/clarifications of the botanical code have necessitated a change for that name in t...
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We applaud Mackey et al.'s (2014) recent piece in Conservation Letters (Policy Options for the World's Primary Forests in Multilateral Environmental Agreements) that highlights the lack of international recognition of the critical importance of the world's primary forests. These last, remaining forests that are free of large-scale industrial develo...
Poster
http://2014.botanyconference.org/engine/search/index.php?func=detail&aid=1266 Polyploidy, a major evolutionary force in angiosperms, has been important throughout the history of the group and may contribute to the competitive success of invasive plants. It is estimated that the majority of angiosperms have experienced polyploid speciation at some p...
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Abstract— Oenothera, the evening primrose genus, is a model system for studying the evolution of flowering plant reproductive biology. Members of this group vary in the species of pollinator that visit their flowers and in breeding systems, including both self-compatible (SC) and self-incompatible (SI) species. Here, we examine the evolutionary rel...
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Recent studies clarify where the most vulnerable species live, where and how humanity changes the planet, and how this drives extinctions. We assess key statistics about species, their distribution, and their status. Most are undescribed. Those we know best have large geographical ranges and are often common within them. Most known species have sma...
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Today, over 7.1 billion people rely on the earth's resources for sustenance, and nearly a billion people are malnourished, their minds and bodies unable to develop properly. Globally, population is expected to rise to more than 9 billion by 2050. Given the combined pressures of human population growth, the rapidly growing desire for increased level...
Technical Report
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The International Boreal Conservation Science Panel (IBCSP) is an interdisciplinary team of scientists from the United States and Canada. Its members have a wide range of expertise and experience gained from years of research, conservation, and writing about science issues related to North America and many other parts of the world. The panel is joi...
Chapter
This introductory chapter of Conservation Biology: Voices from the Tropics provides an overview of the contents discussed in different chapters of the book. The book deals with an apparent paradox: the apparently lush ecosystems of the world's tropics, teeming with life, are exceedingly vulnerable to disturbance and disintegration. The book present...
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This chapter provides a conclusion for Conservation Biology: Voices from the Tropics by discussing the lessons that can be learnt from the stories of the tropics. For more than 20 countries from throughout the tropics, the stories describe conservation in a variety of situations, from some of the richest countries in the world to some of the poores...
Poster
http://2013.botanyconference.org/engine/search/index.php?func=detail&aid=148 Polyploidy has long been recognized as a crucial force in plant evolution and has also been suggested as a contributing factor in invasiveness. While the understanding of polyploid evolution of a few model organisms is being improved, the role of polyploidy in the evolutio...
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In 1974, Cartmill introduced the theory that the earliest primate adaptations were related to their being visually oriented predators active on slender branches. Given more recent data on primate-like marsupials, nocturnal prosimians, and early fossil primates, and the context in which these primates first appeared, this theory has been modified. W...
Poster
http://www.umsl.edu/~mwbpv5/News_and_interesting_stuff/Entries/2012/9/29_St_Louis_Ecology_Evolution_and_Conservation_Retreat.html
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Living systems are central to the functioning of all the systems on which human society depends, but they have received relatively scant attention in international science and policy negotiations in the past two decades, as the climate scenarios of the IPCC have been widely debated and developed. Understanding the rami...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The International Boreal Conservation Science Panel is an interdisciplinary team of scientists from the U.S. and Canada. Its members have a wide range of expertise and experience gained from years of research, conservation, and writing about science issues related to North America and many other parts of the world. The panel is jointly concerned wi...
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It has been suggested that Botanic Gardens had in the past, and continue to have today, an important role in plant invasions across the globe. Although mistakes were made in the past, it is contended that such historical actions need to be viewed in the context of the time, and the situation is different today. Although most plant introductions hav...
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Conservation initiatives that have worked well in temperate and developed regions have often been applied in the tropics but with only limited success. Part of this failure is due to top-down conservation planning that has been conducted without taking local socio-economic considerations into adequate account. Here, we argue that conservation appro...
Article
Conservation initiatives that have worked well in temperate and developed regions have often been applied in the tropics but with only limited success. Part of this failure is due to top-down conservation planning that has been conducted without taking local socio-economic considerations into adequate account. Here, we argue that conservation appro...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The International Boreal Conservation Science Panel is an interdisciplinary team of scientists from the U.S. and Canada. Its members have a wide range of expertise and experience gained from years of research, conservation, and writing about science issues related to North America and many other parts of the world. The panel is jointly concerned wi...
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The study of biodiversity is fundamental to our understanding of life on Earth and to confronting some of the problems caused by our own species. Further, we increasingly count on biodiversity for a wide variety of ecosystem functions and services amid a gauntlet of anthropogenic changes, including exploding human population levels; global climate...
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The conservation of Acacia with an Australian type has been perhaps the most controversial issue to have been dealt with under the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature in many years. Before, during and since the vote on the matter at the Seventeenth International Botanical Congress in Vienna, strong opinions have been expressed in print, on...
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The protection of biodiversity and of ecosystem services ought to be a top priority, taken into consideration in the course of all human activities, because we depend on it fully now and for the future. In this context, we note that the ecological problems related to the cultivation of GE crops fail to differ in any fundamental way from the ecologi...
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At the request of Congress, the National Academy of Sciences convened a series of coordinated activities to provide advice on actions and strategies that the nation can take to respond to climate change. As part of this suite of activities, this study examines information needs and recommends ways the federal government can better inform responses...
Article
The Irvingiaceae, one of 40 families of the Malpighiales, comprise a small woody family of 10 species in three genera distributed in Old World tropics. Its relationships with other families are unclear, although recent molecular analyses suggest affinities with Linaceae, Caryocaraceae, Erythroxylaceae, and Rhizophoraceae. To gain insight into famil...
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Specimens of Villarsia cambodiana (Menyanthaceae), the only tropical Villarsia species, were collected from Vietnam, where the species had not been recorded. Molecular data were used to evaluate the phylogenetic position of V. cambodiana relative to 31 other Menyanthaceae taxa representing 11 species of Nymphoides and every species of Liparophyllum...
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After three decades of exceptional economic growth, China has become a global economic powerhouse. As the economy has grown, though, so have China's environmental challenges, causing enormous socioeconomic consequences for China and the rest of the world. The global financial crisis has prompted China to create more domestic demand for consumption...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Pollinators are considered the major selective force in shaping the diversification of angiosperms. The convergent evolution of a defined suite of floral traits to a specific pollinator or pollinator group is known as a “pollination syndrome”. The concept of pollination syndromes has a played a key role in shaping pollin...
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Cooperation between China and India can curtail biodiversity loss, mitigate climate change, and reduce deforestation.
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Reducing carbon emissions through slowing deforestation can benefit biodiversity best if countries implement sensible policies.
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Guidelines for submitting commentsPolicy: Comments that contribute to the discussion of the article will be posted within approximately three business days. We do not accept anonymous comments. Please include your email address; the address will not be displayed in the posted comment. Cell Press Editors will screen the comments to ensure that they...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Although generalists and specialists are often discussed as alternative states, the biological reality may better be viewed as a continuum of specialization to generalization.Since not all plant visitors are pollinators, calculating the degree of pollination specialization based solely on visitation can also be misleadin...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Oenothera filiformis is a little-studied member of the plant family Onagraceae, a family whose reproduction systems are generally well-known. Flowers of O. filiformis appear to be night-adapted: they open at dusk, are white and scented. However, it is frequently visited by both a variety of moths at night, and honeybees...
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The biocultural conservation and research initiative of Omora Ethnobotanical Park and the UNESCO Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve was born in a remote part of South America and has rapidly expanded to attain regional, national, and international relevance. The park and the biosphere reserve, led by Ricardo Rozzi and his team, have made significant progr...
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Koeberlinia, comprising a single xerophytic species K. spinosa, had previously been placed in various families, mainly Capparaceae. Current molecular evidence now places it in its own family Koeberliniaceae, thought to be related to the Bataceae/Salvadoraceae among the 17 other families of the Brassicales. We investigated 55 embryological character...
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We present the first extensive study of embryology of Akania, the only genus of Akaniaceae (one of the 15 glucosinolate-producing families). Akania has a distinctive combination of embryological features, which includes bitegmic and crassinucellate ovules; thick, multiplicative and vascularized outer integument; a Polygonum-type embryo sac; albumin...
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TOBE, H. & RAVEN, P. H., 1993. Embryology of Acanthothamnus, Brexia and Canotia (Celastrales): a comparison.Acanthothamnus, Brexia and Canotia, which have been variously discussed with respect to their mutual relationships, are studied embryologically in an effort to clarify their proper systematic positions. Comparisons in embryological characters...
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The environment in most countries is being degraded, poverty worldwide is increasing, and the gaps between rich and poor individuals and nations are widening. One half of the world's human population still survives on less than $2 per day. These people face the prospect of environmental degradation of their ecosystems that is likely to be exacerbat...
Article
Australia's insect fauna comprises a very large component of its biodiversity, and one that remains a largely unknown and untapped resource. Estimates of global and Australian insect species richness are reviewed, and Australia's insect biodiversity is placed in its biogeographical context of Mesozoic, Gondwanan connectivity and Tertiary isolation....
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A sensible strategy to minimize the damages from anthropogenic climate change has two objectives: mitigate the pace and ultimate magnitude of the changes that occur and adapt to the changes that cannot be avoided. To underline this two-pronged approach, the recent report Confronting Climate Change , prepared for the United Nations (UN) by an intern...
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For policymakers, biodiversity can present more complex challenges than climate change, argue Michel Loreau, Alfred Oteng-Yeboah and their co-authors. So why isn't there an international panel of experts for biodiversity?