Brendan Scherer

I joined the Mast lab in the fall of 2015, a year and a half after graduating with a BS in botany from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In the years between undergrad and grad school I worked as a field technician on a hops farm and as a high school math and science tutor. 

Ph.D. Candidate
Education and Employment History: 

BS Botany University of Wisconsin-Madison. May 2013

Contact info:




King Life Science Building: Office 4084

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


My research has two primary directions. The first is aimed at investigating the degree to which endophytic bacteria are transmitted vertically or environmentally acquired in mangrove propagules. This is being done through two lenses. The first aims to investigate microbial community diversity across three origins of mangrove habit. Mangrove habit has arisen as many as twenty times within the angiosperms, and three "mangrove families" are common in the American tropics. This project will use 16s rRNA sequencing to describe the bacterial communities on and within the propagules of three mangroves species and at least one terrestrial relative per family to determine whether ecologically similar (mangroves) or phylogentically similar (within each family) species possess more similar endophytic bacterial communities.

The second lens looks across the Florida range of Rhizophora mangle to compare community structure and diversity across a geographic gradient. Again this work relies on 16s rRNA sequences to describe the bacterial diversity found on and within the propagules of this species.  

The secondary direction seeks to investigate the ongoing range expansion of Rhizophora mangle using genetic sequencing and phylogeographic analysis. This portion of my work aims to determine the relative importance of long and short-distance dispersal to the establishing populations of R. mangle in the Florida panhandle.


Pastore, A. I., and B. P. Scherer. 2016. Changes in community phylogenetic structure in a North American forest chronosequence. Ecosphere 7(12):e01592. 10.1002/ecs2.1592


Seminar: “Vertical Transmission of Plant Microbiomes; Implications for Ecology, Evolution and Agriculture.” Green Group, Plant Sciences Seminar. Florida State University. April 12th, 2018 


Poster: "Biogeography of the Macadamia nut family (Proteaceae)". Botany 2016, Savannah, GA. August 1st, 2016


Poster: "Variation in ethnobotanical knowledge based on age, sex, and distance from a tourist destination". UW - Madison Undergraduate Research Symposium. Madison, WI. April 18th, 2013. Botany 2013, New Orleans, LA. July 28, 2013.





Graduate Student Instructor: General Biology for Non-Majors (Plants and People Section) BSC 1005. Summer 2017, 2018.

TA: Field Botany (BSC 3143C) Fall 2015, 2016, 2018

TA: Plants and Society (BSC 4933) Spring 2016, 2018

TA: Plant Biology Laboratory (BOT 3015L) Summer 2016, Spring 2017.


Robert. K Godfrey Herbarium Graduate Student Curator: Fall 2017

FSU Plant Club: Vice President 2016- Present