San Diego State University
Department of Biology

                                                               Curator, SDSU Herbarium

 MICHAEL G. SIMPSON, Emeritus Professor

Email msimpson "at"






Mailing Address

Dr. Michael G. Simpson
Department of Biology
San Diego State University
San Diego, CA 92182-4614

B.S. : University of Florida
M.S. : University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Ph.D. : Duke University

General Research Interests: 
Plant systematics, plant taxonomy, floristics.

Publications Here

9 February 2017
   Ron Kelley and I just published a new (replacement) name for a Cryptantha, calling it Cryptantha juniperensis. (pdf)

21 January-6 May 2017
     Co-teaching our Saturday Field Botany of San Diego County with some great botanists:
     Scott McMillan, Margie Mulligan, Tom Oberbauer, Jon Rebman, and Sula Vanderplank

9 January 2017: Talk at Anza Borrego Desert State Park Botany Society
   Assessing Biodiversity: Collections and DNA

9 January 2017: Layla Aerne-Hains and I published a paper on the anatomy of the Haemodoraceae!
   Aerne-Hains, L. and M. G. Simpson. 2017. Vegetative anatomy of the Haemodoraceae and its phylogenetic significance. International Journal of Plant Sciences 178: 117–156.
   Layla put a lot of hard work into this. Congratulations, Layla!

14-27 December 2016: Articles on naming of Dudleya hendrixii
   L. A. Times
San Diego State University

   San Diego Union Tribune

16 December 2016
Publication of: Dudleya hendrixii, A new, rare species from Colonet Mesa, Baja California
   Named after guitarist Jim Hendrix!
   McCabe, Dodero, and Simpson 2016,
Madroño 63: 359-365.

19-21 December 2016
Plant Diversity at the Huntington Botanical Gardens: Part Trois! (Biology 330)-Cactaceae
Huntington Botanic Garden, Pasadena, California
Instructors: Dr. Matt Ritter, Dr. Jenn Yost (Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo)
   Speakers: Dr. Michael Simpon - Phylogenetic relationships in the Cactaceae; Dr. Jim Mauseth - Cactus diversity, morphology, and taxonomy;   
   Dr. Jon Rebman - The Opuntioideae, cactus discovery and collection; Ernesto Sandoval - Cacti in horticulture

7 October 2016
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden: Seminars in Systematic & Evolutionary Biology, Claremont, California
   Simpson, M. G. Phylogeny, Biogeography, and Character Evolution of the Popcorn Flowers: A Model System of American Amphitropical Disjunct Plants

1-2 September 2016
III International Boraginales Meeting, Nees Institute for Plant Biodiversity, Bonn, Germany
   Simpson, M. G. The status of Cryptantha: Taxonomy, phylogeny, and biogeography

2 August 2016
Botany 2016, Savannah, Georgia. Colloquium: Patterns and Processes of American Amphitropic Disjunct Plants: New Insights
      Simpson, M. G., and M. C. Guilliams. What are American amphitropical disjunctions and why are they interesting
Guilliams, C. M., Mabry, M., Hasenstab-Lehman, K., Baldwin, B. G., Simpson, M. G. Exploring patterns and mechanisms of American amphitropical disjunction in the Amsinckiinae (Boraginaceae).

28 June 2016
   Talk to the Mensa Foundation, colloquium on "Flora, Fauna, and the Future":
   "Phylogeny, Biogeography, and Character Evolution of the Popcorn Flowers, a Model System of American Amphitropic Disjunct Plants."
   Town and Country Resort and Convention Center, San Diego, California.

May 2016
Check out the video clip on SDSU Botany! and the SDSU Herbarium

Specific Research Interests
My research in plant systematics lab focuses on the systematics and evolution of land plants with three general objectives:
   1) to infer the phylogenetic relationships of plant groups and to use that pattern of evolutionary history to assess aspects of character evolution, biogeography, ecology, and evolutionary process;
   2) to investigate the delimitation of plant species and infraspecies, especially in evaluating rare/endangered taxa;
   3) to discover the plant species and community structure of regions in floristic studies.

Current Projects
My field work in Chile and Argentina was supported in part by the National Geographic Society. I and my colleagues are working on the phylogenetic relationships of the Amsinckiinae (Boraginaceae), which occur in both North America and South America (a few in Australia), and not in the intervening tropics, and are termed American Amphitropic Disjunct plants. See my web page on Some Plants of Chile/Algunas Plantas de Chile.

Plant Systematics Resources
SDSU Herbarium

Courses Taught at SDSU in the past
Principles of Organismal Biology (Biology 204)
Economic Botany (Biology 460)
Plant Systematics (Biology 530)
Taxonomy of California Plants (Biology 531)