My research interests are in plant systematics, including floristics, molecular phylogenetics, phytogeography, and bioinformatics. My work has mainly focused on the Neotropics, particularly the Guayana Shield, the Andes, and Brazil, as well as the upper midwestern United States. Plant groups of special interest are Euphorbiaceae (Euphorbia and Croton), Fuchsia (Onagraceae), and Rapateaceae. I am particularly interested in the study of "giant genera," those that are considered to contain over 500 species and have often been avoided because of their complex taxonomy, geography, and large numbers.
My newest research project stems from my interest in Euphorbiaceae, giant genera, and international collaborations. I am the principal investigator on a new National Science Foundation award in the "PBI" program (Planetary Biodiversity Inventories). The project is called "EuphORBia: a global inventory of the spurges," and it aims to produce a worldwide virtual monograph of the genus by 2012, using modern bioinformatic tools, traditional field work and taxonomy, molecular phylogenetics, and floral developmental studies. Euphorbia contains over 2000 species and is distributed worldwide, but is most prominent in Africa, where many cactus-like succulents have evolved. We wish to make this a highly collaborative project, with training of students, postdocs, and participation of colleagues on all the vegetated continents.
U.S.-based or international students interested in joining the lab for Ph.D. studies on different aspects of the systematics of Euphorbia are encouraged to contact Professor Berry and apply to the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology graduate program at the University of Michigan.
I teach Systematic Botany (EEB 459) in the fall term.