Brent Mishler is director of the University and Jepson Herbaria at UC Berkeley as well as professor in the Department of Integrative Biology. His general research interests can be grouped into two main areas: (1) empirical studies of ecology, phylogeny, systematics, and development of mosses and (2) the theoretical basis of systematic and evolutionary biology. His data science interests fall into two main areas also: (1) phyloinformatics, including comparative genomics; database mining for phylogenetic analysis; and the visualization of phylogenetic trees and (2) biodiversity informatics, especially the digitization and databasing of biological collections; integration of collection data with phylogenetic, taxonomic, and ecological data; and the production of electronic floras.
For example, he was one of the co-PIs of the Moorea Biocode Project, a massive inventory of multicellular life on the island of Moorea in the Society Islands of the South Pacific, a project that involved integrating collection data with DNA sequence data. He is also involved in developing electronic resources for taxonomic and distributional information for California plants—in particular the Consortium of California Herbaria, which integrates specimen data from 31 institutions and allows many options for mapping plant distributions in relation to other geographical data. The Jepson Herbarium also maintains the standard flora for the state—the Jepson eFlora—which treats all native and naturalized plants in the state, more than 7,500 terminal taxa (i.e., species, subspecies, and varieties) with contributions of more than 300 authors. His current research interests include developing methods for studying biodiversity and endemism using large-scale phylogenies and collection data.