Research & Conservation Staff

Get to know us

Kara Barron, B.S. (M.S. in progress)

Research Assistant 

Email: | Phone: 480 481.8175

Seed collection and conservation, floristics and fire ecology of the Sonoran Desert.

Stacie Beute, B.S.

Conservation Alliance Coordinator

Email: | Phone: 480 481.8187

Socio-ecological systems; collaborative, community-based conservation; public participation in scientific research (PPSR) initiatives; models of PPSR and associated socio-ecological outcomes; building capacity for conservation; drivers of conservation; trade-offs in decision-making.

Steven A. Blackwell, B.S.

Conservation Collections Manager

Email: | Phone: 480 481.8175

Developing propagation techniques and protocols for rare plants, seed germination and viability studies of rare plants, habitat restoration and species reintroduction.    

Beth Brand

Librarian, Schilling Library

Email: | Phone: 480 481.8133

Collections care and conservation, archiving and preservation of the Garden’s history.    

Shannon D. Fehlberg, Ph.D.

Dorrance Family Foundation Conservation Biologist

Email: | Phone: 480 481.8143

Evolution, distribution and population genetics of rare plants; determinants of genetic and species diversity; biogeography; polyploidy. 

Carolyn Flower, B.A.

Conservation Alliance Outreach Coordinator

Email: | Phone: 480 481.8175 

Community-based conservation; public participation in scientific research; building regional capacity; floristics of Sonoran Desert plants; environmental policy; invasive plant species management and native plant restoration.

Wendy C. Hodgson, M.S.

Curator of the Herbarium, Senior Research Botanist

Email: | Phone: 480 481.8108

Floristics of Southwestern United States, particularly Grand Canyon region, Cactaceae and Agavaceae systematics, ethnobotany of Sonoran Desert, invasive species, systematics of rare Southwestern plants.   

Kevin R. Hultine, Ph.D.

Plant Physiologist/Ecophysiologist

Email: | Phone: 480 481.8195

Plant water and nutrient relations of arid and semi-arid regions; desert riparian plant ecology and conservation; population dynamics of desert shrubs, trees and cactus species. 

Sarah Hunkins, B.S.

Herbarium Collections Manager

Email: | Phone: 480 418.8152

Curation, conservation and processing of the collections.

Kristen Kindl


Email: | Phone: 480 481.2078

Databasing and accessioning the Garden’s Living Collections; production and placement of plant identification labels.

Dan F. Koepke, M.S.


Email: | Phone: 480 941.1225 ext. 8239

Plant water relations, plant hydraulic systems, morphological and physiological investigation, histology, riparian restoration

Lucas C. Majure, Ph.D.

Biologist of New World Succulents

Email: | Phone: 480 481.8129

Phylogenetics, biogeography, morphological evolution, reticulate evolution, and polyploidy; plant systematics and speciation, especially of Opuntieae (Cactaceae); floristics. 

Joe McAuliffe, Ph.D.

Director Emeritus & Senior Research Scientist

Email: | Phone: 480 481.8105

Soil-vegetation relationships in arid and semi-arid environments, ecology and conservation of semi-arid grasslands, development of long-lived clonal shrubs.

Kimberlie McCue, Ph.D.

Director Research, Conservation and Collections

Email: | Phone: 480 481.8137

Population ecology and genetics of rare plants, in situ and ex situ seed bank dynamics, invasive species, conservation science outreach and education. 

Raul Puente-Martinez, M.S.

Curator of Living Collections, Research Botanist

Email: | Phone: 480 481.8110

Systematics of Opuntieae (Cactaceae), hybridization of prickly pears, floristics, use of native and low water use plants in landscaping.   

Veronica Nixon, M.A.


Email:  | Phone: 480 423.7010

Collection, organization, and dissemination of spatial data; maintenance of the Garden’s GIS.   

Andrew Salywon, Ph.D.

Assistant Herbarium Curator and Research Botanist

Email: | Phone: 480 481.8107

Botanical inventories, endemic and rare and endangered plants of Arizona and the Sonoran Desert, molecular ecology, new crop development for arid-lands, and plant systematics using both traditional and molecular data.    

Joni Ward, M.S.

Plant Registrar

Email: | Phone: 480 481.2078

Databasing and accessioning the Garden’s Living Collection, Flora of Arizona and the Southwest.