I manage the research component of the Gardens responsible for conservation efforts. The main focus of this work is the ecology and demography of rare plant species, including collection and preservation of seeds from rare Colorado species. I am also interested in integrating studies of biodiversity, invasive species and phenology into the conservation program.
I have a broad background in plant ecology, evolution, and conservation. My research has focused on exploring the link between plant morphological and genetic variation, focusing on evolution in novel environments and the evolution of species interactions. My work has included polyploidy, reproductive systems, phenology, grassland restoration, invasive species, biodiversity, and plant-animal interactions. I am committed to linking basic evolutionary and ecological research to important issues of concern for species management and conservation.
Kao, RH, C Gibson, R Gallery, et al. 2012. NEON Terrestrial Field Observations: Designing Large-Scale, Standardized Sampling. Ecosphere 3(12):115. http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/ES12-00196.1.
Gibson CM, RH Kao, KK Blevins, PD Travers. 2012. Integrative taxonomy for continental-scale terrestrial insect observations. PLoS ONE. 7(5): e37528.
Kanarek, AR and RH Kao . 2011. The relationship among plant cover, density, seed rain and dispersal of Bromus tectorum in high elevation populations. Western North American Naturalist. 71(1): 131-136.
Schimel, D, M Keller, S Berukoff, B Kao, H Loescher, H Powell, T Kampe, D Moore, W Gram. 2011. 2011 Science Strategy: Enabling Continental-Scale Ecological Forecasting. http://www.neoninc.org/sites/default/files/NEON_Strategy_2011u2.pdf
Kao, RH and IM Parker. 2010. Coexisting Cytotypes of Arnica cordifolia: Morphological differentiation and local scale distribution. International Journal of Plant Sciences. 171(1): 81-89.
Kao, RH, C Brown, RA Hufbauer. 2008. High Phenotypic and Molecular Variation in Downy Brome (Bromus tectorum). Invasive Plant Science and Management. 1: 216-225.
Kao, RH. 2008. Implications of polyploidy in the host plant of a Dipteran seed parasite. Western North American Naturalist. 68(2): 225-230.
Kao, RH. 2008. Origins and widespread distribution of coexisting polyploids in Arnica cordifolia. Annals of Botany. 101:145-152. doi: 10.1093/aob/mcm271
Kao, RH. 2007. Asexuality and the coexistence of cytotypes. New Phytologist. 175(4): 764-772. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2007.02145.x..