Robert Paratley
Curator, University Herbarium

Professional Profile

Teaches NRE/BIO 420G, Taxonomy of Vascular Plants, FOR 325, Economic Botany, and FOR 219 Dendrology. Provides research support in taxonomic botany and ecology.

I have been teaching in the UK Forestry Department for nearly 20 years, where my training in plant ecology, wetlands, and plant systematics prepared me to teach Taxonomy of Vascular Plants, Dendrology, Economic Botany, and Winter Tree ID, as well as frequent graduate seminars. Since 2013, I have co-led an Education Abroad program in Costa Rica for the NRES students, where we focus on tropical ecology, land use, and related environmental issues.

I am the curator of the University Herbarium, a collection of dried, pressed plant specimens numbering about 60,000. The focus of the collection is Kentucky plants, although we house plants from all over the world. The collection is used by researchers and land managers throughout Kentucky and beyond. One interesting and rewarding part of curatorship is my active collecting program. From spring to fall I make a number of field collecting trips to natural areas in the state, adding several hundred new collections to the Herbarium each year. In addition to helping graduate students and professional researchers with my plant identification and field skills, I also run a plant identification program through the Cooperative Extension service, wherein clients send me specimens or photos of unidentified plants. The Herbarium collection is very important in teaching botany courses


BA (1969), State University of New York, Binghamton, Geography, Phi Beta Kappa 
MS (1986), Cornell University, Plant Ecology, Sage Scholarship