Research & Conservation Staff

Get to know us.

Stacie Beute, B.S.

Conservation Alliance Coordinator

Email: sbeute[at] | 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; the commons.    

Steven A. Blackwell, B.S.

Conservation Collections Manager

Email: sblackwell[at] | 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: bbrand[at] | 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: sfehlberg[at] | Phone: 480 481.8143

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

Wendy C. Hodgson, M.S.

Curator of the Herbarium, Senior Research Botanist

Email: whodgson[at] | Phone: 480 481.8108

Floristics of Southwestern US, 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: khultine[at] | 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.    

Lucas C. Majure, Ph.D.

Biologist of New World Succulents

Email: lmajure[at] | 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 of Research

Email: jmcauliffe[at] | 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.

Assistant Director, Research, Conservation and Collections

Program Director, Conservation of Threatened Species and Habitats

Email: kmccue[at] | 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: rpuente[at] | Phone: 480 481.8110

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

Veronica Nixon, M.A.


Email: vnixon[at]  | 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: asalywon[at] | Phone: 480 481.8107

Botanical inventories, endemic and rare and endangered plants in 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: jward[at] | Phone: 480 481.2078

Data basing, inventorying, accessioning the Garden’s Living Collection Flora of Arizona and the Southwest.   

Dustin Wolkis, B.S.

Research Assistant

Email: dwolkis[at] | Phone: 480 481.8175

Use of native seeds in Sonoran Desert restoration and revegetation, Conservation of rare plants and plant communities, Plant ecology, Sonoran Desert ethnobotany, Acoustic ecology.