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Assistant Director Research, Conservation and Collections



Kimberlie A. McCue, Ph.D.

Assistant Director, Research, Conservation and Collections

Program Director, Conservation of Threatened Species and Habitats

Ph.D. University of Missouri-Columbia—1997

  • Email: kmccue[at]dbg.org
  • Phone: 480 481.8137


Research and Conservation Interests

  • Population ecology and genetics of rare plants
  • in situ and ex situ seed bank dynamics
  • Invasive species
  • Conservation science outreach and education

Personal Statement

Conservation of the myriad forms of life on our planet and the habitats in which they dwell is a complex problem for which there is no single solution. Within the botanical garden community I enjoy the opportunity to approach plant conservation from many angles, including research, education, and outreach.
I am particularly interested in seed bank dynamics, both in situ  and ex situ. Soil seed banks are of particular importance in arid environments where suitable growing conditions can be sporadic. These natural seed banks can buffer rare species from the negative impacts of small population size (e.g. inbreeding depression and genetic drift). Ex situ seed banks are an important tool for plant conservation. However, not all taxa respond similarly to long term cold storage. I, along with other DBG staff and volunteers, seek to determine optimal storage strategies for the many desert species we maintain in our seed bank. For example, cactus seeds may be more amenable to storage in cool, rather than cold temperature. We will soon begin trials to test this hypothesis.

I am also committed to educating the next generation of conservation scientists. As I move forward in my position with Desert Botanical Garden, I hope to develop a strong internship program that will serve undergraduates interested in plants and conservation.

Selected Publications

Albrecht, M. and K.A. McCue. 2009. Changes in demographic processes over long time scales reveal the challenge of restoring an endangered plant. Restoration Ecology. Early View (online).

Rimer, R.L. and K.A. McCue. 2005. Restoration of Helenium virginicum Blake, a threatened plant of the Ozark Highlands.  Natural Areas Journal.  25:86-90.

McCue, K.A., E. Belt and M. Yurlina. 2001. Propagation protocol for Astragalus bibullatus. Native Plants Journal.  Fall:131-132.

McCue, K.A. and T.P. Holtsford. 1998.  Seed bank influences on genetic diversity in the rare annual Clarkia springvillensis (Onagraceae). American Journal of Botany.  85:30-36.

McCue, K.A., E.S. Buckler and T.P. Holtsford. 1996.  A hierarchical view of genetic structure in the rare annual plant Clarkia springvillensis. Conservation Biology.  10:1425-1434.



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