Darwin Today @ NMNH
Meet Dr. John Kress
W. John Kress, PhD, is a research botanist and curator in the Department of Botany. He studies reproduction, evolution, and conservation of tropical and temperate plants, including heliconia.
What I observed among the plants and the hummingbirds that pollinate them in the Caribbean closely paralleled Darwin’s insights from his visit to the Galápagos Islands.
I first read On the Origin of Species during one of my earliest trips to South America. I was overwhelmed by the insights Darwin provided about evolution, which was at work in the rainforests I was exploring. His Tree of Life drawing impressed me most. The branching diagram opened my eyes to the evolutionary origin of Earth’s spectacular biodiversity.
When I began my research in the islands of the eastern Caribbean, I realized how important these natural laboratories were for studying and understanding the processes of evolution.
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