Austin Mast, Ph.D.

My research and creative activities expand our understanding in two complementary areas of biodiversity research: (1) the interplay of ecology and evolution that determines form, function, and distribution of plant life on Earth and (2) the generation and use of biodiversity research specimens and digital information about them to bring that interplay into sharper focus.  My teaching, mentoring, and service activities complement these research interests.  In Fall semesters, I typically teach Field Botany.  In Spring 2015, Libby and I organized a graduate course on Citizen Science, and, in Spring 2016, I taught a new undergraduate course on Plants and Society.  I am actively seeking graduate and undergraduate students for the lab who share my research interests.  Tallahassee is situated on the eastern edge of one of North America's biotic hotspots—a great place to be a biologist!  For more information on the environs, visit the department's Ecology and Evolution Section website.  My primary service within FSU is as Director of the Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium, Associate Director of the Institute for Digital Information and Scientific Communication, and Member of the Council on Research and Creativity.  My primary service within the research community is as President of the Society of Herbarium Curators, Treasurer of American Society of Plant Taxonomists, and Steering Committee Member of Notes from Nature and SERNEC.  I was very pleased with the inaugural 2015 Worldwide Engagement for Digitizing Biocollections (WeDigBio) Event and thank everyone who made it such a success.  I am looking forward to the 2016 WeDigBio event (October 20–23).  If you would are a biocollections curator who would like to post your specimens on Notes from Nature for WeDigBio 2016, I encourage you to consider using Biospex to do so.  I gave a recent webinar on the topic that was recorded and is available here.  And please take a moment to check out the Libraries of Life augmented reality cards and Apple iOS and Android App that I co-developed with Anne Basham—it's a lot of fun!  Besides spending time outside in local forests, savannas, springs, and beaches, I enjoy being a soccer dad and cross country coach.

Education and Employment History: 

I received my Ph.D. in 2000 from the Department of Botany at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  I was a postdoc at the Institute of Systematic Biology at the University of Zurich from 2000–2003.  Since 2003, I have had a faculty position in the Department of Biological Science at Florida State University, where I am now at the rank of Professor.

Contact info: 

Department of Biological Science
319 Stadium Drive
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306-4295

Office is King Life Science Building, room 4065
Lab is King Life Science Building, rooms 4068 and 4084
Herbarium is Biological Science Unit One, room 100

Voice: 1 (850) 645-1500
Fax:  1 (850) 645-8447

Selected Publications

Ellwood, E., G. Nelson, H. L. Bart, Jr., M. H. Doosey, D. Jue, J. Mann, N. Rios, and A. R. Mast. 2016.

Mapping life—quality assessment of novice vs. expert georeferencers.

Citizen Science: Theory and Practice 1 1-12
Buddenhagen, C. E., W. W. Thomas, and A. R. Mast. 2015.

Diversification of Beaksedges (tribe Rhynchosporeae; Cyperaceae) in habitat, pollination, and photosynthetic features.

Botanical Review In Press.
Deans, A. R., and 71 co-authors. 2015.

Finding our way through phenotypes.

Ellwood, E.R., B. Dunckel, P. Flemons, R. Guralnick, G. Nelson, G. Newman, S. Newman, D. Paul, G. Riccardi, N. Rios, K. C. Seltmann and A. R. Mast. 2015.

Accelerating digitization of biodiversity research specimens through online public participation.

BioScience, 65
Mast, A., P. M. Olde, R. O. Makinson, E. Jones, A. Kubes, E. Miller, & P. H. Weston. 2015.

Paraphyly changes understanding of timing and tempo of diversification in subtribe Hakeinae (Proteaceae), a giant Australian plant radiation.

American Journal of Botany In Press.
Matsunaga, A., A. Mast and J. A. B. Fortes. 2015.

Workforce-efficient consensus in crowdsourced transcription of biocollections information.

Future Generation Computer Systems In Press.
Nelson, G., Sweeney, P., Wallace, L. E., Rabeler, R. K., Allard, D., Brown, H., Carter, R. J., Denslow, M. W., Ellwood, E. R., Germain-Aubrey, C. C., Gilbert, E., Gillespie, E., Goertzen, L. R., Legler, B., Marchant, D. B., Marisco, T. D., Morris, A. B., 2015.

Digitization workflows for flat sheets and packets of plants, algae, and fungi.

Applications in Plant Sciences In Press.
Thiele, K., P. Weston, and A. R. Mast. 2015.

Paraphyly, modern systematics, and the transfer of Dryandra into Banksia (Proteaceae): A response to George. 

Australian Systematic Botany In Press.
Matsunaga, A., A. Mast and J. A. B. Fortes. 2014.

Reaching Consensus in Crowdsourced Transcription of Biocollections Information.

Proceedings of the 2014 IEEE 10th International Conference on e-Science 57–64
Uhen, M., A. Barnosky, B. Bills, J. Blois, M. Carrasco, M. Carrano, G. Erickson, J. Eronen, M. Fortelius, R. Graham, E. Grimm, M. O'Leary, A. Mast, W. Piel and D. Polly. 2013.

From card catalogs to computers: Databases in vertebrate paleontology.

Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 33: 13–28.
Mast, A. R., E. F. Milton, E. H. Jones, R. M. Barker, W. R. Barker and P. H. Weston. 2012.

A time-calibrated phylogeny of the woody Australian genus Hakea (Proteaceae) supports multiple origins of insect-pollination among bird-pollinated ancestors.

American Journal of Botany 99: 472–487.
Nelson, G., D. Paul, G. Riccardi and A. R. Mast. 2012

Five task clusters that enable efficient and effective digitizations of biological collections.

ZooKeys 209: 19–45.
Prasad, A. K. S. K., Nienow, J. A., Livingston, R. J. and Mast, A. R. 2010.


Diatoms of the Gulf Coast of North Florida: Keys to the families, genera, and species of centric diatoms. 

Tallahassee, Florida: Florida Department of Environmental Protection. 853 pages.
Sauquet, H., P. H. Weston, C. L. Anderson, N. P. Barker, D. J. Cantrill, A. R. Mast and V. Savolainen. 2009.

Contrasted patterns of hyperdiversification in Mediterranean hotspots.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106: 221–225.
Givnish, T. J., K. C. Millam, A. R. Mast, T. B. Patterson, T. J. Theim, A. L. Hipp, J. M. Henss, J. F. Smith, K. R. Wood and K. J. Sytsma. 2009

Origin, adaptive radiation and diversification of the Hawaiian lobeliads

Proceedings of the Royal Society B 276: 407-416.
Mast, A. R., C. L. Willis, E. H. Jones, K. M. Downs and P. H. Weston. 2008.

A smaller Macadamia from a more vagile tribe: Inference of phylogenetic relationships and divergence times in Macadamia and relatives (tribe Macadamieae; Proteaceae).

American Journal of Botany 95: 843–870.
Mast, A. R. and K. Thiele. 2007.

Transfer of Dryandra to Banksia.

Australian Systematic Botany 20: 63–71.
Mast, A. R. and Reveal, J. L. 2007.


Transfer of Dodecatheon L. to Primula L. (Primulaceae)

Brittonia 59: 79–82
Gaitros, D., Zhang, W., Mast, A. and Riccardi, G. 2006.


A bioinformatics semantic association annotation tool.

In Arabnia, H. R. (Ed.), Proceedings of the International Conference on Internet Computing, Las Vegas, Nevada, June 26-29, 2006. Irvine, California: CSREA Press.
Mast, A. R. and Conti, E. 2006.


The primrose path to heterostyly.

New Phytologist 171: 439–442.
Mast, A. R., Kelso, S. and Conti, E. 2006.


Are any primroses (Primula) primitively monomorphic?

New Phytologist 171: 605–616.
Mast, A. R., Jones, E. H. and Havery, S. P. 2005.


An assessment of old and new DNA sequence evidence for the paraphyly of Banksia with respect to Dryandra (Proteaceae).

Australian Systematic Botany 18: 1–15.
Berry, P. E., Hahn, W. J., Sytsma, K. J., Hall, J. C. and Mast, A. R. 2004.


Phylogenetic relationships and biogeography of Fuchsia (Onagraceae) based on non-coding nuclear and chloroplast DNA data.

American Journal of Botany 91: 601–614.
Mast, A. R., Feller, D. M. S., Kelso, S. and Conti, E. 2004.

Buzz-pollinated Dodecatheon originated from within the heterostylous Primula subgenus Auriculastrum (Primulaceae): a 7-region cpDNA phylogeny and its implications for floral evolution.

American Journal of Botany 91: 926–942.
Mast, A. R. and Nyffeler, R. 2003.


Using a null model to recognize significant co-occurrence prior to identifying candidate areas of endemism.

Systematic Biology 52: 271–280.
Mast, A. R. and Givnish, T. J. 2002.

Historical biogeography and the origin of stomatal distributions in Banksia and Dryandra (Proteaceae) based on their cpDNA phylogeny.

American Journal of Botany 89: 1311–1323.
Feuillet, C., Penger, A., Gellner, K., Mast, A. and Keller, B. 2001.


Molecular evolution of receptor-like kinase genes in hexaploid wheat: independent evolution of orthologs after polyploidisation and mechanisms of local rearrangements at paralogous loci.

Plant Physiology 125: 1304–1313.
Mast, A. R., Kelso, S., Richards, A. J., Lang, D. J., Feller, D. M. S. and Conti, E. 2001.


Phylogenetic relationships in Primula L. and related genera (Primulaceae) based on noncoding chloroplast DNA.

International Journal of Plant Sciences 162: 1381–1400.
Mast, A. R. 1998.


Molecular systematics of subtribe Banksiinae (Banksia and Dryandra; Proteaceae) based on nrDNA and cpDNA sequence data: implications for taxonomy and biogeography.

Australian Systematic Botany 11: 321–342.
Bratton, S. P., Hapeman, J. R. and Mast, A. R. 1994.


The lower Susquehanna River gorge and floodplain (U.S.A.) as a riparian refugium for vernal, forest-floor herbs.

Conservation Biology. 8: 1069–1077.