Dr. Austin R. Mast —FSU Biological Science Faculty Member -->

Dr. Austin R. Mast

Office: 4065 King Life Sciences
Office: (850) 645-1500
Lab: King Life Sciences
Lab: (850) 645-1499
Fax: (850) 645-8447
Mail code: 4295
E-mail: amast@bio.fsu.edu

Departmental Faculty Page
Mast Lab Page

Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2000
Graduate Faculty Status

FSU's Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium


Notes from Nature


Research and Professional Interests:

My research program involves topics within the broadly defined area of biodiversity study. I am particularly interested in (1) the interplay of ecology and evolution that determines the form and function of plant life on Earth and (2) the use of biodiversity research specimens and digital information about them to bring that interplay into sharper focus. A few examples:

  • Macadamias and their relatives in the southern hemisphere plant family Proteaceae include 3 of the 10 largest flowering plant genera in Australia (Grevillea, Hakea, and Banksia). With colleagues in Australia, my lab is inferring a time-calibrated phylogeny for the group with which we are addressing hypotheses related to its biogeography and the evolution of ecologically relevant traits (e.g., those involved in pollination, dispersal, and phosphorus homeostasis).
  • Beaksedges (the genus Rhynchospora in the family Cyperaceae) have the greatest number of taxa (49 species and varieties) endemic to the southeastern North American Coastal Plain of any plant genus, and it reaches similar levels of richness within the other two American centers of subtropical/tropical grasslands and savanna (the Guiana Shield and the Brazilian Shield). With colleagues at FSU, the Smithsonian, and the New York Botanical Garden, my lab is developing new phylogenomic tools to infer the phylogeny of the genus to address hypotheses related to the historical relationships between the biotas of the three American centers of tropical/subtropical grassland/savanna. The anchored phylogenomics tools in development are useful for resolving relationships at both shallow and deep levels across the flowering plants.
  • iDigBio, NSF's National Resource for the Digitization of Biodiversity Research Collections, is a joint project between University of Florida and Florida State University. iDigBio is engaging the collections community in the digitization (e.g., databasing, imaging, georeferencing) of the roughly 1 billion specimens held in US biodiversity research collections and deployment of the data online. I sit on the iDigBio steering committee and chair the Public Participation in Digitization of Biodiversity Specimens Working Group. Broadening participation in digitization via meaningful opportunities (e.g., co-created citizen science projects) is an area of active research in my lab.

In addition to those activities, I serve as Director of FSU's Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium, an Associate Editor of the journals Systematic Biology and Systematic Botany, a Steering Committee Member of the citizen science website Notes from Nature, and State Representative for the Southeast Regional Network of Expertise and Collections.

I especially enjoy working with students and herbarium staff on projects focused on the biota of the Gulf of Mexico and the Florida Panhandle. Students in my lab have studied such things as pollination, changes in range extent with climate change, invasive species, and the evolution of floral development.

Selected Publications:

Uhen, M., A. Barnosky, B. Bills, J. Blois, M. Carrasco, M. Carrano, G. Erickson, J. Eronen, M. Fortelius, R. Graham, E. Grimm, M. O'Leary, A. Mast, W. Piel, D. Polly. 2013. From card catalogs to computers: Databases in vertebrate paleontology. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 33:13-28.

Nelson, G., D. Paul, G. Riccardi, and A. R. Mast. 2012. Five task clusters that enable efficient and effective digitizations of biological collections. ZooKeys 209: 19-45.

Mast, A. R., E. F. Milton, E. H. Jones, R. M. Barker, W. R. Barker and P. H. Weston. 2012. A time-calibrated phylogeny of the woody Australian genus Hakea (Proteaceae) supports multiple origins of insect-pollination among bird-pollinated ancestors. American Journal of Botany 99: 472-487.

Prasad, A. K. S. K., J. A. Nienow, R. J. Livingston, and A. R. Mast. 2010. Diatoms of the Gulf Coast of North Florida: Keys to the Families, Genera, and Species of Centric Diatoms. 853-page report (210 pages of figures) to the FL Department of Environmental Protection.

Sauquet, H., P. H. Weston, C. L. Anderson, N. P. Barker, D. J. Cantrill, A. R. Mast, and V. Savolainen. 2009. Contrasted patterns of hyperdiversification in Mediterranean hotspots. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106: 221-225.

Givnish, T. J., K. C. Millam, A. R. Mast, T. B. Patterson, T. J. Theim, A. L. Hipp, J. M. Henss, J. F. Smith, K. R. Wood, and K. J. Sytsma. 2009. Origin, adaptive radiation and diversification of the Hawaiian lobeliads. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 276: 407-416.

Mast, A. R., C. L. Willis, E. H. Jones, K. M. Downs, and P. H. Weston. (2008). A smaller Macadamia from a more vagile tribe: inference of phylogenetic relationships and divergence times in Macadamia and relatives (tribe Macadamieae; Proteaceae). American Journal of Botany 95: 843-870.

Postdoctoral Associates:

Ellwood, Elizabeth

Graduate Students:

Buddenhagen, Christopher

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