Morgan Gostel, Ph.D.

Research Botanist


Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University, 2015

M.S. in Biology, Virginia Commonwealth University, 2010

B.S. in Biology, Virginia Commonwealth University, 2008

Dr. Morgan Gostel joined BRIT in July 2018 as a Research Botanist. He comes to BRIT from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History where he was a postdoctoral fellow. At BRIT, Dr. Gostel will focus on his research interests in plant systematics and evolution and also continue international botanical outreach efforts as Director of the Global Genome Initiative for Gardens (GGI-Gardens).

Morgan’s research combines traditional taxonomy with phylogenomic tools to document and describe plant diversity and to pursue questions of broad significance regarding biogeography and plant evolution. His work focuses mostly on plants in the angiosperm families Asteraceae (i.e., daisies and sunflowers) and Burseraceae (i.e., the myrrh genus, Commiphora). Toward these interests, Morgan has been involved in the development of new approaches for common techniques using technology that makes phylogenomic research more cost-efficient and accessible to a broader community of researchers. He is especially interested in the evolution of species diversity in dry tropical forests and the plants that inhabit them. He has performed fieldwork throughout Madagascar and Brazil, where related plants occupy similar habitats despite vast distances, halfway across the globe. Some of the questions Morgan’s work hopes to answer include: how did these plants arrive here and what about their evolutionary history makes them specially adapted to thrive in these areas?

As Director of GGI-Gardens, Morgan has worked to develop an international network of botanical gardens in an effort to preserve plant genomic diversity in biorepositories (facilities that store organismal tissues specifically for genetic research. Working with teams of interns and with garden partners, Morgan organizes collecting efforts aimed at preserving plant diversity that is currently not represented in biorepositories, to safeguard genetic resources of plant species on Earth.

Selected Publications:

Kimball, R. T., Gostel, M. R., Funk, V. A., Lowrey, T. K., & Crawford, D. J. (2023). Out of Africa to madagascar – then back? molecular phylogenetics and biogeography of tribe Tarchonantheae (asteraceae: Tarchonanthoideae). International Journal of Plant Sciences.

Gostel, M. R., Sancho, G., Roque, N., Donato, M., & Funk, V. A. (2022). Phylogenomic loci define the generic boundaries of Gochnatieae and improve resolution at the species level in Moquiniastrum (Compositae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 175, 107558.

Gostel, M. R., & Kress, W. J. (2022). The expanding role of DNA barcodes: Indispensable tools for ecology, evolution, and conservation. Diversity, 14(3), 213.

Kress, W. J., Soltis, D. E., Kersey, P. J., Wegrzyn, J. L., Leebens-Mack, J. H., Gostel, M. R., Liu, X., & Soltis, P. S. (2022). Green plant genomes: What we know in an era of rapidly expanding opportunities. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 119(4).

Gostel, M. R., Zúñiga, J. D., Kress, W. J., Funk, V. A., & Puente-Lelievre, C. (2020). Microfluidic Enrichment Barcoding (mebarcoding): A new method for high throughput plant DNA barcoding. Scientific Reports, 10(1).



Lab Members

Morgan Gostel


Fort Worth Botanic Garden

Graduate Students

Claudenice Dalastra

Ph.D. Student

Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul
Graduating Spring 2024

Vinícius Bueno

Ph.D. Student

Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul
Graduating Spring 2023


Elizabeth Thomas

Program Coordinator for the Global Genome Initiative for Gardens



Adam Black

GGI-Gardens Program Coordinator


Jean Linsky

GGI-Gardens Program Coordinator


Seth Hamby

GGI-Gardens Summer Fellow


Farahnoz Khojayori

GGI-Gardens Summer Fellow


Jacob Suissa

GGI-Gardens Summer Intern


Kadiera Ingram

GGI-Gardens Summer Intern


Kathryn Faulconer

GGI-Gardens Summer Intern


Maryam Sedaghatpour

GGI-Gardens Summer Intern


Monica Marcelli

GGI-Gardens Summer Intern


Samantha Vo

GGI-Gardens Summer Intern


Kiera Coy

Undergraduate Research Assistant



Contact Details

Phone: (817) 332-4441 x253


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