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Witsell Promoted to ANHC Chief of Research and Inventory

Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission - Thursday, February 28, 2019

Theo Witsell, formerly the ANHC’s senior botanist/ecologist, has been named as ANHC’s new chief of research and inventory. The chief of research and inventory position was vacated when Bill Holimon was promoted to ANHC director.

Witsell has been employed by the ANHC since 2000, first as a botanist and then later as senior botanist/ecologist. Prior to that, he was an intern at the ANHC in 1995 and 1996, working under former ANHC ecologist and chief of research, Tom Foti. While a student at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), Witsell worked part-time for the ANHC as a contractor on projects supervised by Foti.

In 2003, Witsell founded the ANHC Herbarium and serves as curator of that collection. Influenced by the vital education and experience that he received as an intern, Witsell has recruited and supervised interns from several area colleges. For the past several years, he has greatly increased the amount of work happening in the field and in the herbarium, as well as exposing the interns to field-based experiences that aren’t part of their school curriculum.

Witsell is a native Arkansan and holds a master’s degree in botany from UALR. He has authored or co-authored more than 30 scientific publications and book chapters, and serves as a regional reviewer for the Flora of North America Project. He is co-editor of the Atlas of the Vascular Plants of Arkansas and co-author of an upcoming book on trees, shrubs, and woody vines of Arkansas. His current research focuses on the flora and natural communities of Arkansas and the region, particularly remnant grasslands and other habitats of conservation concern.

Photos: Top right -- Theo Witsell at an oak savanna.

Bottom left -- A younger Witsell with his mentor, Tom Foti, ANHC ecologist emeritus, at White Cliffs Natural Area. 






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