Nancy Garwood | Plant Biology | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Science

Nancy Garwood

Research Professor and Curator of the Herbarium. Tropical botany, ecology, systematics, conservation

Nancy Garwood

Phone: 618.453.3236
Office: Life Science II, Room 454

I am a tropical botanist in the broadest sense, with active research projects in ecology, systematics and conservation. Linking these apparently disparate areas is a long-term focus on the seed and seedling stages of the life cycle. My first projects 25 years ago in Panama were community level studies of the earliest stages of forest regeneration after earthquake-caused landslides and the phenology of seed dispersal and germination. I've recently returned to the latter topic by initiating a comparative phenological study in the Ecuador. Crucial to the success of my early projects was learning to identify seedlings, which are very different from adults. Building on this early expertise, I've championed the need to produce seedling identification guides for ecological and conservation work and to incorporate seedling characters into systematic studies and endeavored to fill this need. An interest in soil seed banks has also lead me into systematic work on pioneer species, which make up the bulk of species found in tropical soil. It is difficult to work in tropical forests without contributing toward their conservation, so I've lead conservation projects in both Ecuador and Belize. Most of my recent projects are in collaboration with colleagues in Latin America, Europe, and the United States, are funded by grants that I have written, and have provided research opportunities for students in the UK and Ecuador.


Ph.D. 1979, University of Chicago

Selected Publications

  1. Garwood, N. C., with M. Tebbs (illustrator). 2009. Seedlings of Barro Colorado Island and the Neotropics. Cornell University Press, Ithaca. (645 pages, including 255 plates).
  2. Cibrián-Jaramillo, A., C. D. Bacon, N. C. Garwood, R. M. Bateman, M. M. Thomas, S. Russell, D. C. Bailey, W. J. Hahn, S. G. M. Bridgewater, & R. DeSalle. 2009. Population genetics of the understory fishtail palm Chamaedorea ernesti-augusti in Belize: high genetic connectivity with local differentiation. BMC Genetics 10, Article 65 (18 pages)
  3. Queenborough, S., D.R.R.P. Burslem, N. C. Garwood and R. Valencia. 2009. Taxonomic scale-dependence of habitat niche partitioning and biotic neighbourhood on survival of tropical tree seedlings Proceedings of the Royal Society, B 276: 4197-4205.
  4. Queenborough, S., S. Mazer, S. M. Vamosi, N. C. Garwood, R.Valencia., and R. B. Freckleton. 2009. Seed mass, abundance, and breeding system among tropical forest species: do dioecious species exhibit compensatory reproduction or abundances? Journal of Ecology 97: 555-566.
  5. Penn, M. G., C. B. Moncrief, S. G. M. Bridgewater, N. C. Garwood, R. M. Bateman, I. Chan and P. Cho. 2009. Using GIS techniques to model the distribution of the economically inportant xate palm, Chamaedorea ernesti-augusti within the Greater Maya Mountains, Belize. Systematics and Biodiversity 7: 63-72.
  6. Norden, N., M. I. Daws, C. Antoine, M. A. Gonzalez, N. C. Garwood and J. Chave. 2009. The relationship between seed mass and germination delay for 1,043 tree species across five tropical forests. Functional Ecology 23:203-210.
  7. Queenborough, S. A., D.R.R.P. Burslem, N. C. Garwood and R. Valencia. 2007. Neighborhood and community interactions determine the spatial pattern of tropical tree seedling survival. Ecology 88: 2248-2258.
  8. Queenborough, S. A., D.R.R.P. Burslem, N. C. Garwood and R. Valencia. 2007. Determinants of biased sex ratios and inter-sex costs of reproduction in dioecious tropical forest trees. American Journal of Botany 94: 67-78.
  9. Daws, M. I., S. Bolton, D. F.R.P. Burslem, N. C. Garwood and C. E. Mullins. 2007. Loss of desiccation tolerance during germination in neo-tropical pioneer seeds: implications for seed mortality and germination characteristics. Seed Science Research 17: 273-281.
  10. Bridgewater, S., P. Pickles, N. Garwood, M. Penn, R. Bateman, H. Porter Morgan, N. Wicks, and N. Bol. 2006. Chamaedorea (xaté) in the Chiquibul Forest, Belize: An economic assessment of a Non-Timber Forest Product. Economic Botany 60: 265-283.
  11. Thomas, M. M., N. C. Garwood, W. J. Baker, S. Henderson, S. J. Russell, D. R. Hodel, and R. M. Bateman. 2006. Molecular phylogeny of the palm genus Chamaedorea, based on the low-copy nuclear genes PRK and RPB2. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 38: 398-415.
  12. Daws, M.I., N. C. Garwood, &. H. W. Pritchard. 2005. Traits of recalcitrant seeds in a semi-deciduous tropical forest in Panama: some ecological implications. Functional Ecology 19: 874-885.