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Andrea T. Kramer, Ph.D.

Conservation Scientist, Restoration Ecology
(847) 835-6971
Curriculum Vitae: 
Teaching and Research Affiliations: 

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Northwestern University (Joint Graduate Program in Plant Biology and Conservation)

Research Interests: 
  • Conduct restoration ecology research related to the identification, development, and use of genetically diverse and appropriate native plant materials for restoration
  • Understanding genetic and environmental controls on critical stages of plant recruitment success, with applications to restoration and conservation in a changing climate
  • Ex situ conservation of exceptional species, including Oaks
  • Foster collaborations with government agencies, universities, and other partners to implement research and communicate research findings to a wide audience nationally and internationally
  • Mentor students in the Garden’s science career continuum, including serving as co-PI on an REU Site program (see
  • Support the work of the Plant Conservation Alliance Non-Federal Cooperator Committee

My research (carried out in collaboration with numerous scientists at the Garden, including Drs. Jeremie Fant and Kayri Havens) uses the tools of ecological genetics to answer questions aimed at making ecological restoration practices as economically feasible and successful as possible. Most of my work takes place in the western United States, where there is a great need for restoration on a large-scale. Restoration efforts are often hampered by a lack of information about which species and seed sources should be used to achieve desired restoration outcomes. Even when this information is known, the availability of seeds often limits what can be done for the restoration. I use ecological genetics research to inform the selection of species and seed sources for restoration, and to support the development of native plant material that will allow species diversity and ecosystem function to be restored to degraded arid environments in the western U.S.

Selected Publications: 

White, A.*, J. B. Fant, M. Skinner, K. Havens, and A. T. Kramer. 2018. Restoring species diversity: Assessing capacity in the United States native plant industry Restoration Ecology 26:605-611.

Seglias, A.*, A. Bilge, E. Williams, and A. T. Kramer. 2018. Phylogeny and source climate impact seed dormancy and germination of restoration-relevant forb species. PLoS ONE online Feb 5, 2018.

Kramer, A. T., T. E. Wood, S. Frischie*, and K. Havens. 2018. Considering ploidy when producing and using mixed-source native plant materials for restoration Restoration Ecology 26:13-19.

Fant, J. B., K. Havens, A. T. Kramer, S. K. Walsh, T. Callicrate, R. C. Lacy, M. Maunder, A. H. Meyer, and P. P. Smith. 2016. What to do when we can’t bank on seeds: What botanic gardens can learn from the zoo community about conserving plants in living collections. American Journal of Botany 10.3732/ajb.1600247 DOI.

Larkin, D. J., S. K. Jacobi, A. L. Hipp, and A. T. Kramer. 2016. Keeping All the PIECES: Phylogenetically Informed Ex Situ Conservation of Endangered Species. PLoS ONE 11: e0156973.

Hintz, L.**, A. Foxx*, M. Eshleman*, T.E. Wood and A.T. Kramer. 2016. Population differentiation in early life history traits of Cleome lutea var. lutea in the Intermountain West. Western North American Naturalist. 76(1): 6-17.

Riebkes, J. L.**, R. S. Barak*, and A. T. Kramer. 2015. Evaluating seed viability in prairie forbs: a test of three methods Native Plants Journal 16(2):96-106.

Basey, A. C., J. B. Fant, and A. T. Kramer. 2015. Producing native plant materials for restoration: ten rules to collect and maintain genetic diversity. Native Plants Journal 16:37-53.

Kramer, A., D. Larkin, and J. B. Fant. 2015. Assessing potential seed transfer zones for five forb species in the Great Basin. Natural Areas Journal 35:174-189.

Barak, R. S., J. B. Fant, A. T. Kramer, and K. A. Skogen. 2015. Assessing the value of potential “native winners” for restoration of cheatgrass-invaded habitat. Western North American Naturalist.

Havens, K., A. Kramer, E. Guerrant. 2013. Getting Plant Conservation Right (Or Not): The Case of the United States. International Journal of Plant Sciences. 175: 3-10.

Kramer, A., and V. Pence. 2012. The challenges of ex situ conservation for threatened oaks. International Oaks (Journal of the International Oak Society). 23: 91-108.

Kramer, A.T., J. Fant, and M.V. Ashley. 2011. Influences of landscape and pollinators on population genetic structure: examples from three Penstemon (Plantaginaceae) species in the Great Basin. American Journal of Botany. 98: 109-121.

Kramer, A.T. and K. Havens. 2009. Plant conservation genetics in a changing world. Trends in Plant Science 14(11):599-607.

Kramer, A.T., J.L. Ison, M.V. Ashley, and H.F. Howe. 2008. The paradox of forest fragmentation genetics. Conservation Biology 22(4):878-885.

Graduate Students: 
Alicia Foxx
Adrienne Ernst
Taran Lichtenberger
Katie Kucera
Matt Evans
Sam Kilgore

Kramer Lab Find out more about collaborators, staff, students, and research underway in the Kramer lab here.

Plant Conservation Alliance Non-Federal Cooperator Committee The Plant Conservation Alliance (PCA) is a public-private partnership of organizations that share the same goal: to protect native plants by ensuring that native plant populations and their communities are maintained, enhanced, and restored. PCA Non-Federal Cooperators include state agencies and private organizations interested in native plant conservation in the United States. The PCA Non-Federal Cooperator Committee (NFCC) partners with the PCA Federal Committee and others to advance plant conservation, promote native plant community restoration, and conduct plant conservation research. It represents the interests and ideas of Cooperator organizations and agencies, including botanic gardens, universities, educational groups, state agencies, businesses, professional societies, trade associations, native plant societies, and garden clubs. This Committee is chaired by the Chicago Botanic Garden. The NFCC works to advance plant conservation, native plant community restoration, and plant conservation research and advocacy at local, state, and national levels.

Botanic Gardens Conservation International Botanic Gardens Conservation International maintains information on plant conservation and education around the world, highlighting the important work of botanic gardens and partners in achieving the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation. From 2008 - 2013 I was Executive Director of BGCI in the United States and helped develop numerous projects in support of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, including ex situ conservation of exceptional species, botanical capacity in the United States, a North American assessment of ex situ collections, and developing conservation interpretation materials for public gardens.

Seeds of Success The national Seeds of Success program, established in 2001 by the Bureau of Land Management and the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew Millennium Seed Bank, is working to collect, conserve, and develop native plant materials for stabilizing, rehabilitating and restoring lands in the United States. Many botanic gardens, including the Chicago Botanic Garden, are partners on this nationwide project. I learned a lot about the power of partnership from this program, and am proud that my research helps inform its work.

Center for Plant Conservation's National Collection of Endangered Plants
As an endangered plant specialist, I managed a two-year, collaborative project (funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, or IMLS) to create CPC's National Collection of Endangered Plants website. This site outlines what the network of CPC-member botanic gardens are doing to help conserve more than 575 threatened and endangered plants in the United States, and details each species' current status, as well as management and research needs. This project was completed in December 2002, and the site is now hosted and continually updated on the Center for Plant Conservation's website. This project allowed me to interact with the wonderful network of researchers at botanic gardens around the country who are working to conserve the nation's imperiled plants, and also showed me the significant need for more research to help guide management decisions for these rarest of plants. This experience strongly influenced my decision to pursue my Ph.D. and conduct research with real on-the-ground applications.

Plants of Concern As a Garden intern, I worked with Garden scientists on research aimed at understanding the population biology of threatened/endangered plant species in the Midwest (including Viola conspersa, Platanthera leucophaea, and Lespedeza leptostachya). This research helped form the basis for long-term monitoring protocols on rare species in the Chicago region, in what is now the Garden's Plants of Concern program.