Erin A. Tripp
Assistant Professor; Curator of Botany, COLO Herbarium

Ph.D., Duke University, 2008

Ramaley Hall, C105 (lab)
303.492.1862 (EBIO)

Lab website

Erin A. Tripp
Research Interests

Plant Systematics, Tropical Botany, Lichenology, Biodiversity Inventory, Molecular Genetics and Evolution, Taxonomy, Nomenclature, Pollination Biology.

As a biologist, I am broadly interested in the ecology and evolution of all life on Earth, particularly how natural selection has shaped the evolution of millions of “endless forms most beautiful”. As a natural historian, I am broadly interested in patterns and trends that characterize the history of such remarkable life on Earth, particularly patterns that we know to be repeated or unique, and historical transitions that we know to be reversible or irreversible. Knowledge of evolutionary history is extremely empowering, has important real-world applications, and has predictive potential.

In attempt to understand the evolution of biodiversity and the millions of ecological functions that biodiversity sustains, I have most often assumed a macroevolutionary perspective, i.e., at or above the species level (although microevolutionary studies or studies that combine macro- and microevolutionary investigation are equally valuable!). I have to date spent most of my career trying to understand biodiversity through research on flowering plants, particularly the species-rich (>4,000 spp.) and morphologically diverse tropical plant family Acanthaceae. More recently, I have developed research interests in lichenology, particularly here in the United States where amazingly, some 230 years after the Bartram’s first traversed the Southeast, we still know so incredibly little about these organisms that a new species may be lurking under the rock nearest to you (see Tripp & Lendemer 2012)! In addition to research on Acanths and lichens, I have maintained long-term interest in the flora of the tepui highlands in Western Guyana, where I have participated in or co-led numerous collecting expeditions to remote locations in effort to provide baseline plant biodiversity information for these highly endemic ecosystems

Selected Publications

Tripp, E.A. and K.E. Hoagland. 2013 [in press]. Typifying an era in biology through the synthesis of biodiversity information. Taxon.

Lendemer, J.C., R.C. Harris, and E.A. Tripp. 2013. Lichens and lichenicolous fungi of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden, 260 p.

Tripp, E.A., S. Fatimah, I. Darbyshire, and L. A. McDade. 2013. Origin of African Physacanthus (Acanthaceae) Via Wide Hybridization. PLoS ONE 8: e55677.

Tripp, E.A., T.F. Daniel, S. Fatimah, and L.A. McDade. 2013. Phylogenetic relationships within Ruellieae (Acanthaceae), and a revised classification. International Journal of Plant Sciences 174: 97-137.

Tripp, E.A. and S. Fatimah. 2012. Comparative anatomy, morphology, and molecular phylogenetics of the African genus Satanocrater (Acanthaceae) American Journal of Botany 99: 967-982.

Tripp, E.A. and K.G. Dexter. 2012. Taxonomic novelties in Namibian Ruellia (Acanthaceae). Systematic Botany 37: 1023-1030.

Tripp, E.A. and J.C. Lendemer. 2012. Not too late for American biodiversity? BioScience 62: 218-219.

Tripp, E.A. 2010. Taxonomic revision of Ruellia sect. Chiropterophila (Acanthaceae): a lineage of rare and endemic species from Mexico. Systematic Botany 35: 629-661.

Tripp, E.A. and P.S. Manos. 2008. Is floral specialization an evolutionary dead-end? Pollination system evolution in Ruellia (Acanthaceae). Evolution 62: 1712-1737.