WCSU Covid-19 Information Fall 2021


Dr. C. Thomas Philbrick


I am an evolutionary biologist with a research focus on systematic biology (aka ‘systematics’). Systematics is the field of biology that focuses on discovering and describing of kinds of life (species).

Three basic questions serve as the conceptual framework for systematics:

1) How many kinds of life (species) are there?

2) How are the species related in the tree-of-life?

3) What classification best reflects the tree-of-life?

Systematics provides a foundation (a taxonomy) upon which essentially every other field of biology rests. Knowing what species is being studied is crucial.

About Me

My biological focus is flowering plants that grow in freshwater (freshwater aquatics), especially a group of weird plants called riverweeds (Podostemaceae).  One species occurs in North America and is fairly common in our region.  About 150 species occur in Central and South America.  My focus has been on South American plants for the last 20 years or so.