Brent D. Mishler


Phone: (510) 642-6810
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Research Description

Mishler's research interests are in the systematics, evolution, and ecology of bryophytes, as well as in the phylogeny of green plants.  He is also interested in more general topics involving the theoretical basis of systematic and evolutionary biology, such as phylogenetic methods and the nature of species.  He has been heavily involved in developing electronic resources to present plant taxonomic and distributional information to the public, and applications of these data to conservation concerns through the development of new "spatial phylogenetic" tools for studying biodiversity and endemism using large-scale phylogenies and collection data in a geographic and statistical framework.  Currently funded projects include: (1) spatial phylogenetic studies of the floras of Australia, Chile, and California; and (2) integrated systematic, evolutionary, and ecological studies of the diverse dryland moss genus Syntrichia, specifically focused on desiccation tolerance and reproductive biology.

Selected Publications

See long CV for full list:
Google Scholar Citation Page, with indices:

B. Swartz and B.D. Mishler (eds.). 2022. Speciesism in Biology and Culture: How Human Exceptionalism is Pushing Planetary Boundaries.  Springer Nature.  [Open access book] 

J.A. Jáuregui-Lazo, J.C. Brinda, GoFlag Consortium, and B.D. Mishler. 2022. The phylogeny of Syntrichia Brid.: An ecologically diverse clade of mosses with an origin in South America.  American Journal of Botany e16103.

B.D. Mishler. 2022. Ecology, evolution, and systematics in a post-species world. In J. Wilkins, F.  Zachos, and I. Pavlinov (eds.) Species Problems and Beyond: Contemporary Issues in Philosophy and Practice.  pp. 177-190.  Taylor and Francis Group, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.

B.E. Carter, T.M. Misiewicz, and B.D. Mishler. 2022. Spatial phylogenetic patterns in the North American moss flora are shaped by history and climate.  Journal of Biogeography 49: 1327– 1338.

J. Nitta, B.D. Mishler, W. Iwasaki, and A. Ebihara. 2022. Spatial phylogenetics of Japanese ferns: Patterns, processes, and implications for conservation.  American Journal of Botany 109: 727–745. J.T.B. Ekwealor, S.D. Benjamin, J.Z. Jomsky, M.A. Bowker, L.R. Stark, D.N. McLetchie, B.D. Mishler, and K.M. Fisher. 2022. Genotypic confirmation of a biased phenotypic sex ratio in a dryland moss using restriction fragment length polymorphisms.  Applications in Plant Sciences  2022;10:e11467. 2022]

X. Zhang, J. Ye, S.W. Laffan, B.D. Mishler, A.H. Thornhill, L. Lu, L. Mao, B. Liu, Y. Chen, A. Lu, J.T. Miller, and Z. Chen. 2022. Spatial phylogenetics of the Chinese angiosperm flora provides insights into endemism and conservation.  Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 64: 105–117.

J.C. Brinda,  J.A. Jáuregui-Lazo, M.J. Oliver, and B.D. Mishler. 2021. Notes on the genus Syntrichia with a revised infrageneric classification and the recognition of a new genus Syntrichiadelphus (Bryophyta, Pottiaceae).  Phytologia 103(4): 90-103.

J.T.B. Ekwealor and B.D. Mishler. 2021. Transcriptomic effects of acute ultraviolet radiation exposure on two Syntrichia mosses. 2021. Frontiers in Plant Science  12: 752913.

M. Bowker, M.C. Rengifo-Faiffer, A. Antoninka, H. Grover, K. Coe, K. Fisher, B.D. Mishler, M.J. Oliver, and L.R. Stark. 2021. Community composition influences ecosystem resistance and production more than species richness or intraspecific diversity. Oikos 130: 1399-1410.

J.T.B. Ekwealor, T.A. Clark, O. Dautermann, A. Russell, S. Ebrahimi, L.R. Stark, K.K. Niyogi, and B.D. Mishler. 2021. Natural UV exposure alters photosynthetic biology and improves recovery from desiccation in a desert moss.  Journal of Experimental Botany 72: 4161–4179.

B.D. Mishler. 2021. What, if Anything, are Species?  Taylor and Francis Group, CRC Press. [Open access book]

C. Earl, M.W. Belitz, S.W. Laffan, V. Barve, N. Barve, D.E. Soltis, J.M. Allen, P.S. Soltis, B.D. Mishler, A.Y. Kawahara, and R. Guralnick. 2021. Spatial phylogenetics of butterflies in relation to environmental drivers and angiosperm diversity across North America.  iScience  24 (4): 102239.

A.T. Silva, B. Gao, K.M. Fisher, B.D. Mishler, J.T.B. Ekwealor, L.R. Stark, X. Li, D. Zhang, M.A. Bowker, J.C. Brinda, K.K. Coe, and M.J. Oliver. 2021. To dry perchance to live: insights from the genome of the desiccation-tolerant biocrust moss Syntrichia caninervis.  The Plant Journal.

W.M. Knapp, A. Frances, R. Noss, R.F.C. Naczi, A. Weakley, G.D. Gann, B.G. Baldwin, J. Miller, P. McIntyre, B.D. Mishler, G. Moore, R.G. Olmstead, A. Strong, K. Kennedy, B.L. Heidel, and D. Gluesenkamp. 2021. The extinct plants of North America north of Mexico: A baseline for the Anthropocene.  Conservation Biology. 

B.D. Mishler, R.Guralnick, P.S. Soltis, S.A. Smith, D.E. Soltis, N. Barve, J.M. Allen, and S.W. Laffan. 2020. Spatial phylogenetics of the North American flora.  Journal of Systematics and Evolution. 58: 393-405.

I.M. Mienna, J.D.M. Speed, M. Bendiksby, A.H. Thornhill, B.D. Mishler, and M.D. Martin.  Differential patterns of floristic phylogenetic diversity across a post-glacial landscape. 2019. Journal of Biogeography. 2020; 47: 915–926.

K.K. Coe, N.B. Howard, M.L. Slate, M.A. Bowker, B.D. Mishler, R. Butler, J. Greenwood, and L.R. Stark. 2019. Morphological and physiological traits in relation to carbon balance in a diverse clade of dryland mosses.  Plant, Cell & Environment 42: 3140–3151.   

New book: Swartz & Mishler (eds.), Speciesism in Biology and Culture: How Human Exceptionalism is Pushing Planetary Boundaries, available free in open access at: