Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

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W. John Kress

W. John Kress

Research Botanist & Curator

Phone: 202-633-0920, 202-633-0939
Fax: 202-786-2563
E-mail Address:

Postal Address
(Mail and Packages):

Smithsonian Institution
PO Box 37012
Washington, DC 20013-7012

Courier Address:
National Museum of Natural History
West Loading Dock
10th and Constitution Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20560-0166

     Graduate School: Ph.D. (Botany) 1981, Department of Botany, Duke University, Durham, NC. (Advisor: D.E. Stone),
     College: B.A. (Biology) 1975, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. (Advisor: P.B. Tomlinson).

Research Interests
     Systematic Biology: systematics of Heliconia and other Zingiberales, especially with regards to reproductive biology, allozyme and molecular variation, and cladistic relationships; generic concepts in the Zingiberales; phylogeny and evolution of the monocotyledons.`Evolutionary Biology: plant reproductive biology; the evolution of breeding and pollination systems; genetic diversity and speciation in tropical angiosperms.`Conservation Biology: forest fragmentation, gene flow, and genetic variation in tropical and temperate plant species.

Recent Publications - (All Publications)

Baker, Timothy R., Pennington, R. Toby, Dexter, Kyle G., Fine, Paul V. A., Fortune-Hopkins, Helen, Honorio, Euridice N., Huamantupa-Chuquimaco, Isau, Klitgard, Bente B., Lewis, Gwilym P., de Lima, Haroldo C., Ashton, Peter, Baraloto, Christopher, Davies, Stuart, Donoghue, Michael J., Kaye, Maria, Kress, W. J., Lehmann, Caroline E. R., Monteagudo, Abel, Phillips, Oliver L. and Vasquez, Rodolfo 2017. Maximising Synergy among Tropical Plant Systematists, Ecologists, and Evolutionary Biologists. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 32(4): 258-267. doi:10.1016/j.tree.2017.01.007

Gevú, Kathlyn Vasconcelos, Lima, Helena Regina Pinto, Kress, W. John and Da Cunha, Maura 2017. Morphological analysis of vessel elements for systematic study of three Zingiberaceae tribes. Journal of Plant Research, 130(3): 527-538. doi:10.1007/s10265-017-0911-y

Kress, W. J. 2017. Plant DNA barcodes: Applications today and in the future. Journal of Systematics and Evolution, doi:10.1111/jse.12254

Pei, Nancai, Chen, Bufeng and Kress, W. John 2017. Advances of Community-Level Plant DNA Barcoding in China. Frontiers in Plant Science, 8 doi:10.3389/fpls.2017.00225

Costion, Craig M., Kress, W. John and Crayn, Darren M. 2016. DNA Barcodes Confirm the Taxonomic and Conservation Status of a Species of Tree on the Brink of Extinction in the Pacific. PloS One, 11(6) doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0155118

García-Robledo, Carlos, Kuprewicz, Erin K., Staines, Charles L., Erwin, Terry L. and Kress, W. John 2016. Limited tolerance by insects to high temperatures across tropical elevational gradients and the implications of global warming for extinction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(3): 680-685. doi:10.1073/pnas.1507681113

Howard, Marion G., McDonald, William J. F., Forster, Paul I., Kress, W. John, Erickson, David, Faith, Daniel P. and Shapcott, Alison 2016. Patterns of Phylogenetic Diversity of Subtropical Rainforest of the Great Sandy Region, Australia Indicate Long Term Climatic Refugia. PloS One, 11(4) doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0153565

McManus, Kelly M., Asner, Gregory P., Martin, Roberta E., Dexter, Kyle G., Kress, W. John and Field, Christopher B. 2016. Phylogenetic Structure of Foliar Spectral Traits in Tropical Forest Canopies. Remote Sensing, 8(3): 196 doi:10.3390/rs8030196

Muscarella, Robert, Uriarte, Maria, Aide, T. Mitchell, Erickson, David L., Forero-Montana, Jimena, Kress, W. John, Swenson, Nathan G. and Zimmerman, Jess K. 2016. Functional convergence and phylogenetic divergence during secondary succession of subtropical wet forests in Puerto Rico. Journal of Vegetation Science, 27(2): 283-294. doi:10.1111/jvs.12354

Muscarella, Robert, Uriarte, María, Erickson, David L., Swenson, Nathan G., Kress, W. John and Zimmerman, Jess K. 2016. Variation of tropical forest assembly processes across regional environmental gradients. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, 23: 52-62. doi:10.1016/j.ppees.2016.09.007

Temeles, Ethan J., Newman, Julia T., Newman, Jennifer H., Cho, Se Yeon, Mazzotta, Alexandra R. and Kress, W. John 2016. Pollinator Competition as a Driver of Floral Divergence: An Experimental Test. PloS One, 11(1) doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0146431

Zhao, Jian-Li, Xia, Yong-Mei, Cannon, Charles H., Kress, W. John and Li, Qing-Jun 2016. Evolutionary diversification of alpine ginger reflects the early uplift of the Himalayan–Tibetan Plateau and rapid extrusion of Indochina. Gondwana Research, 32: 232-241. doi:10.1016/

Betts, Matthew G., Hadley, Adam S. and Kress, W. John 2015. Pollinator recognition by a keystone tropical plant. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(11): 3433-3438. doi:10.1073/pnas.1419522112

Chen, Juan, Zhao, Jietang, Erickson, David L., Xia, Nianhe and Kress, W. John 2015. Testing DNA barcodes in closely related species of Curcuma (Zingiberaceae) from Myanmar and China. Molecular Ecology Resources, 15(2): 337-348. doi:10.1111/1755-0998.12319

Costion, Craig M., Simpson, Lalita, Pert, Petina L., Carlsen, Monica M., Kress, W. John and Crayn, Darren 2015. Will tropical mountaintop plant species survive climate change? Identifying key knowledge gaps using species distribution modelling in Australia. Biological Conservation, 191: 322-330. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2015.07.022

Fan, Yong-Li, Kress, W. John and Li, Qing-Jun 2015. A New Secondary Pollen Presentation Mechanism from a Wild Ginger (Zingiber densissimum) and Its Functional Roles in Pollination Process. PloS One, 10(12) doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0143812

Fér, Tomáš, Schmickl, Roswitha E., Záveská, Eliška, Pospíšilová, Monika, Leong-Škornicková, Jana, Otakar, Ší, Poulsen, Axel D., Newman, Mark F., Kress, W. John and Marhold, Karol. 2015. Reconstruction of the Phylogeny of the family Zingiberaceae using HYB-SEQ approach. Kerala, India: Calicut University.

García-Robledo, Carlos, Staines, Charles L. and Kress, W. John 2015. A new species of bromeliad-feeding Cephaloleia Chevrolat (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae, Cassidinae) from Costa Rica: evidence from DNA barcodes, larval and adult morphology and insect diets. ZooKeys, 477: 143-155. doi:10.3897/zookeys.477.8220

Kartzinel, Tyler R., Chen, Patricia A., Coverdale, Tyler C., Erickson, David L., Kress, W. John, Kuzmina, Maria L., Rubenstein, Daniel I., Wang, Wei and Pringle, Robert M. 2015. DNA metabarcoding illuminates dietary niche partitioning by African large herbivores. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(26): 8019-8024. doi:10.1073/pnas.1503283112

Kress, W. John, García-Robledo, Carlos, Uriarte, Maria and Erickson, David L. 2015. DNA barcodes for ecology, evolution, and conservation. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 30(1): 25-35. doi:10.1016/j.tree.2014.10.008

Lemoine, Nathan P., Shue, Jessica, Verrico, Brittany, Erickson, David L., Kress, W. John and Parker, John D. 2015. Phylogenetic relatedness and leaf functional traits, not introduced status, influence community assembly. Ecology, 96(10): 2605-2612. doi:10.1890/14-1883.1

Pei, Nan-Cai, Kress, W. John, Chen, Bu-Feng, Erickson, David L., Wong, Khoon Meng, Zhang, Jin-Long, Ye, Wan-Hui, Huang, Zhong-Liang and Zhang, Dian-Xiang 2015. Phylogenetic and climatic constraints drive flowering phenological patterns in a subtropical nature reserve. Journal of Plant Ecology, 8(2): 187-196. doi:10.1093/jpe/rtv009

Shapcott, Alison, Forster, Paul I., Guymer, Gordon P., McDonald, William J. F., Faith, Daniel P., Erickson, David L. and Kress, W. John 2015. Mapping Biodiversity and Setting Conservation Priorities for SE Queensland's Rainforests Using DNA Barcoding. PloS One, 10(3) doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0122164

Erickson, David L., Jones, Frank A., Swenson, Nathan G., Pei, Nancai, Bourg, Norman, Chen, Wenna, Davies, Stuart James, Ge, Xue-jun, Hao, Zhanqing, Howe, Robert W., Huang, Chun Lin, Larson, Andrew J., Lum, Shawn K., Lutz, James, Ma, Keping, Meegaskumbura, Madhava, Mi, Xiangcheng, Parker, John D., Sun, I. Fang, Wright, S. Joseph, Wolf, Amy T., Xing, Dinglian, Zimmerman, Jess K. and Kress, W. John 2014. Comparative evolutionary diversity and phylogenetic structure across multiple forest dynamics plots: a mega-phylogeny approach. Frontiers in Genetics, 5: 358 doi:10.3389/fgene.2014.00358

Lasky, Jesse R., Uriarte, María, Boukili, Vanessa K., Erickson, David L., Kress, W. John and Chazdon, Robin L. 2014. The relationship between tree biodiversity and biomass dynamics changes with tropical forest succession. Ecology Letters, 17(9): 1158-1167. doi:10.1111/ele.12322

Lasky, Jesse R., Uriarte, María, Boukili, Vanessa K., Erickson, David L., Kress, W. John and Chazdon, Robin L. 2014. Corrigendum to "The relationship between tree biodiversity and biomass dynamics changes with tropical forest succession". Ecology Letters, 17(11): 1478 doi:10.1111/ele.12370

Martin, Adam R., Erickson, David L., Kress, W. John and Thomas, Sean C. 2014. Wood nitrogen concentrations in tropical trees: phylogenetic patterns and ecological correlates. New Phytologist, 204(3): 484-495. doi:10.1111/nph.12943

Muscarella, Robert, Uriarte, María, Erickson, David L., Swenson, Nathan G., Zimmerman, Jess K. and Kress, W. John 2014. A well-resolved phylogeny of the trees of puerto rico based on DNA barcode sequence data. PloS One, 9(11): 1-11. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0112843

Côrtes, Marina C., Uriarte, María, Lemes, Maristerra R., Gribel, Rogério, Kress, W. John, Smouse, Peter E. and Bruna, Emilio M. 2013. Low plant density enhances gene dispersal in the Amazonian understory herb Heliconia acuminata. Molecular Ecology, 22(22): 5716-5729. doi:10.1111/mec.12495

García-Robledo, Carlos, Erickson, David L., Staines, Charles L., Erwin, Terry L. and Kress, W. John 2013. Tropical Plant–Herbivore Networks: Reconstructing Species Interactions Using DNA Barcodes. PLoS ONE, 8(1): e52967 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052967

García-Robledo, Carlos, Kuprewicz, Erin K., Staines, Charles L., Kress, W. John and Erwin, Terry L. 2013. Using a comprehensive DNA barcode library to detect novel egg and larval host plant associations in a Cephaloleia rolled-leaf beetle (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 110(1): 189-198. doi:10.1111/bij.12115

Gowda, Vinita and Kress, W. John 2013. A Geographic Mosaic of Plant–Pollinator Interactions in the Eastern Caribbean Islands. Biotropica, 45(2): 224-235. doi:10.1111/j.1744-7429.2012.00915.x

Singer, Jonathan, Kress, W. John and Hachadourian, Marc 2013. Botanica magnifica: portraits of the world's most extraordinary flowers & plants New York: Abbeville Press Publishers. 358 pages.

Swenson, Nathan G., Mi, Xiangcheng, Kress, W. John, Thompson, Jill, Uriarte, María and Zimmerman, Jess K. 2013. Species-time-area and phylogenetic-time-area relationships in tropical tree communities. Ecology and Evolution, 3(5): 1173-1183. doi:10.1002/ece3.526

Temeles, Ethan J., Rah, Y. J., Andicoechea, J., Byanova, K. L., Giller, G. S. J., Stolk, S. B. and Kress, W. John 2013. Pollinator-mediated selection in a specialized hummingbird-Heliconia system in the Eastern Caribbean. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 26(2): 347-356. doi:10.1111/jeb.12053

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