Daniel Spalink is an Assistant Professor of Plant Systematics in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management at Texas A&M University and Director of the S.M. Tracy Herbarium (TAES). Daniel received his Ph.D. from the Department of Botany at the University of Wisconsin-Madison under Dr. Kenneth Sytsma, where he studied the ecological and biogeographical diversification of the sedge family, Cyperaceae. He then conducted a postdoc under Dr. Thomas Givnish at UW-Madison, where he studied the biogeography and diversification of the orchid family (Orchidaceae) and the spatial structure of phylogenetic diversity in the Wisconsin flora. Before joining the faculty at Texas A&M University, Daniel conducted a second postdoc under Dr. Lynn Bohs at the University of Utah, where he studied the genomic structure of phylogenetic discordance in the pepper tribe, Capsiceae.
Dale is a lifelong resident of Texas, whose early interest in botany originated on numerous trips to the family farm in Lavaca County (coastal plain of south-central Texas). It was there that he developed a deep love of the outdoors, and first took notice of the flora of Texas. Although his interests include the Cyperaceae and Juncaceae families; his true passion for botany is the lower plants. Dale’s M.S. thesis, Floristics and Biogeography of the Bryophyte Flora in the Big Thicket National Preserve, Southeast Texas, was the first comprehensive inventory of bryophytes in the Preserve since its founding in 1974.
In the broadest sense, his interests involve the systematics, ecology, and biogeography of the mosses, liverworts, hornworts, (bryophytes) and lichens. Although this research is largely in Texas and the southern United States, he has made substantial collections in the northeastern and northwestern United States. Additional opportunities to explore these groups have taken him on numerous trips abroad to Scotland, England, and Mexico.
Specific bryological and lichenological interests include: 1) spatial and temporal distributions at local, regional, and global scales, 2) successional patterns and processes, 3) vertical distributions in tree canopies, 4) the structure and composition of communities, and 5) the biotic and abiotic parameters regulating the formation and persistence of communities.
The link above will take you to a page for Research Associates of the S. M. Tracy Herbarium.