Kayri Havens, PhD


Medard and Elizabeth Welch Director, Plant Science and Conservation, Chicago Botanic Garden Senior Scientist, Chicago Botanic Garden


Plant Science Center 1000 Lake Cook Rd Glencoe, IL 60022 United States


(847) 835-8378






Director, Plant Science and Conservation, and Senior Scientist, Chicago Botanic Garden Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biology, University of Illinois at Chicago; Chicago, IL Adjunct Associate Professor of Biology, Northwestern University; Evanston, IL Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biology, Loyola University Chicago; Chicago, IL Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden Research Associate; Miami, FL

Selected Professional Associations:

American Public Gardens Association Botanic Gardens Conservation International, U.S. board member and treasurer Center for Plant Conservation Midwest Invasive Plant Network Plant Conservation Alliance Project BudBurst, co-developer and senior scientist

Research Interests:

Invasion Biology Rare Species Biology Ex Situ Plant Conservation Responses to Climate Change

Brief Biography:

[Under construction, please check back later.]

Other Information:

My research interests generally fall under the umbrella of reproductive ecology and conservation of plant species. I have worked on nonrandom reproductive success in a rare evening primrose (Oenothera organensis), and outbreeding depression in Lobelia cardinalis (cardinal flower) and Lobelia siphilitica (great blue lobelia). I am currently working with a number of colleagues on genetic and demographic studies on a threatened thistle (Cirsium pitcheri) that is being impacted by a biocontrol weevil and on the responses of native species to changed climates, particularly in relation to germination tolerances.

I am also interested in developing measures of success and best practices for ex situ plant conservation programs, from collecting genetically diverse seed accessions to minimizing genetic change during storage and increasing likelihood of success of restorations. A more recent area of focus involves examining the pros and cons of assisted migration for plants.

A final area of research focuses on invasive plant species. I am interested in improving predictive risk assessments and evaluation procedures for deliberately introduced plants, and worked with a team that developed the Chicago Botanic Garden's Invasive Plant Policy. Most of these projects are carried out in collaboration with graduate students. I have worked with students from programs at Northwestern University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign. A National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship Program (IGERT) grant, LEAP (Landscape, Ecological and Anthropogenic Processes), is funding students to work on conservation and restoration projects at the University of Illinois at Chicago in partnership with the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Selected Publications:

Fant, J.B., A.T. Kramer, E. Sirkin, and K. Havens. 2013. "Genetic changes in reintroduced populations of the narrowly endemic thistle, Cirsium pitcheri (Asteraceae)." Botany 91: 301-308.

Havens, K. and S. Henderson. 2013. "Citizen science takes root." American Scientist 101: 378-385. Schwarz-Ballard, J. and K. Havens. 2012. "The Elephant in the Room: Recognizing and Addressing Climate Change at Public Gardens." Public Garden 27:26-28.

Havens, K., C.L. Jolls, J.E. Marik, P. Vitt, and A.K. McEachern. 2012. "Effects of a Non-native Biocontrol Weevil, Larinus planus, and Other Emerging Threats on Populations of the Federally Threatened Pitcher's thistle (Cirsium pitcheri)." Biological Conservation 155: 202-211.

Madeja, G., L. Umek, and K. Havens. 2012. "Differences in Seed Set and Viability of Miscanthus Cultivars Grown in Zone 5 and Their Potential for Invasiveness." Journal of Environmental Horticulture 30: 42-50.

Henderson, S., D.L. Ward, K.K. Meymaris, P. Alaback, and K. Havens. 2012. "Project BudBurst: Citizen Science for All Seasons." Citizen Science: Public Collaboration In Environmental Research, J.L. Dickinson and R. Bonney (eds.). Cornell University Press. Pp 50-57.

Havens, K., P. Vitt and S. Masi. 2012. "Citizen Science on a Local Scale: The 'Plants of Concern' Program Undertakes Rare Plant Monitoring." Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 10: 321-323. Sundberg, M., P. DeAngelis, K. Havens, K. Holsinger, K. Kennedy, A.T. Kramer, R. Muir, P. Olwell, K. Schierenbeck, L. Stritch, and B. Zorn-Arnold. 2011. "Perceptions of strengths and deficiencies; disconnects between university science students and potential employers." BioScience 61: 133-138. Havens, K. 2011. "Research at Public Gardens." Public Garden Management: A Complete Guide to the Planning and Administration of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta, D. Rakow and S. Lee (eds.). John Wiley & Sons Inc., New Jersey. Pp. 272-283. Kramer, A.T. and K. Havens. 2011. "Assessing botanical capacity in the United States: gaps identified and strategic recommendations made to maximize conservation success." Australasian Plant Conservation 19: 21-22. Havens, K. 2011. "Dynamic Floras and the Need for Consistent Terminology." Natural Areas Journal 31: 115-116. Knight, T.M., K. Havens and P. Vitt. 2011. "Will the use of less fecund cultivars reduce the invasiveness of perennial plants?" BioScience 61: 816-822. Tienes, M., K. Skogen, P. Vitt and K. Havens. 2010. "Optimal Monitoring of Rare Plant Populations: Report for the USDA Forest Service." 57 pages. Available at http://strategicplan.chicagobotanic.org/supporting_document/optimal-moni.... Fant, J., A. Banai, K. Havens and P. Vitt. 2010. "Hybridization between the threatened plant, Lespedeza leptostachya Englem. and its co-occurring congener Lespedeza capitata Michx.: morphological and molecular evidence." Conservation Genetics 11: 2195-2205. Pennacchio, M., L. Jefferson, and K. Havens. 2010. Uses and Abuses of Plant-Derived Smoke: Its Ethnobotany as Hallucinogen, Perfume, Incense, and Medicine. Oxford University Press, 247 pp. Kramer, A., K. Havens, and B. Zorn-Arnold. 2010. "Assessing Botanical Capacity to Address Grand Challenges in the United States." 64 pp. plus appendices. Available at www.bgci.org/usa/bcap/fullreport.pdf. Vitt, P., K. Havens, A.T. Kramer, D. Sollenberger, and E. Yates. 2010. "Assisted migration of plants: changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes." Biological Conservation 143:18-27. Vitt, P., K. Havens, and O. Hoegh-Guldberg. 2009. Assisted migration: part of an integrated conservation strategy. Letter in response to Ricciardi and Simberloff. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 24:473-474. Kramer, A., and K. Havens. "Plant conservation genetics in a changing world." 2009. Trends in Plant Science 14:599-607. Vitt, P., K. Havens, B. Kendall, and T.M. Knight. 2009. "Community-level management increases the viability of Tomanthera auriculata, a rare prairie annual." Biological Conservation 142:798-805. Hawkins, Belinda, Suzanne Sharrock, and K. Havens. 2008. Plants and Climate Change: Which Future? Botanic Garden Conservation International report, 96 pp. Havens, K., P. Vitt, and J. Schwarz. 2008. "Your garden, our climate." Chicagoland Gardening 2:20-21. Schwarz, J., K. Havens, and P. Vitt. 2008. "Understanding climate change through citizen science." Roots 5:22-24. Jefferson, L.V., M. Pennacchio, K. Havens, B. Forsberg, D. Sollenberger, and J. Ault. 2008. "Ex situ germination responses of midwestern USA prairie species to plant-derived smoke." American Midland Naturalist 159:251-256. Pennacchio, M., L.V. Jefferson, and K. Havens. 2007. "The inhibitory effects of plant-derived aerosol smoke on seed germination of Arabidopsis thaliana." Research Letters in Ecology, Vol. 2007:ID65083, 4 pp. Online. Pennacchio, M., L.V. Jefferson, and K. Havens. 2007. "Where there's smoke, there's germination." Illinois Steward Fall:24-28. Havens, K., P. Vitt, J. Schwarz, B. Orr, and T. Crimmins. 2007. "Chicago Botanic Garden's conservation and outreach efforts on climate change." BGjournal 4:13-16. Pennacchio, M., L. V. Jefferson, K. Havens, and P. Olwell. 2007. "International conservation and land management exchange program."" Public Garden 22:29. Havens, K., P. Vitt, M. Maunder, E. O. Guerrant Jr., and K. Dixon. 2006. Ex situ plant conservation and beyond." BioScience 56:525-531. Havens, K. 2006. "Developing an invasive plant policy at a botanic garden: lessons learned." BGjournal 3:22-24. Farnsworth, E.J., S. Klionsky, W.E. Brumback, and K. Havens. 2006. "A set of simple decision matrices for prioritizing collection of rare plant species for ex situ conservation." Biological Conservation 128:1-12. Pennacchio, M., L.V. Jefferson, and K. Havens. 2005. "Smoke: Promoting germination of tallgrass prairie species." Chicago Wilderness Journal: Best Practices in Conservation and Restoration 3:14-19. Pennacchio, M., L.V. Jefferson, and K. Havens. 2005. "Arabidopsis thaliana: a useful test species for phytotoxic bioassays." Journal of Chemical Ecology 31:1877-1885. Maunder, M., K. Havens and E.O. Guerrant. 2004. "Ex situ plant conservation: out of the garden and into the world." Public Garden 19:8-12. Havens, K., M. Maunder, E.O. Guerrant, and P. Vitt. 2004. "Conservation research at botanic gardens and arboreta." Public Garden 19:8-12. Jefferson, L., K. Havens, and J. Ault. 2004. "Implementing invasive screening procedures: The Chicago Botanic Garden model." Weed Technology 18:1434-1440. Havens, K., L. Jefferson, and P. Vitt. 2004. "Chicago Botanic Garden reaches beyond its borders." Public Garden 18:35-36. Havens, K., E.O. Guerrant, M. Maunder, and P. Vitt. 2004. "Guidelines for ex situ conservation collection management: Minimizing risks." In Ex Situ Plant Conservation: Supporting Species Survival in the Wild, ed. E.O. Guerrant, K. Havens, and M. Maunder, pp. 454-473. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. Guerrant, E.O., P. Fiedler, K. Havens, and M. Maunder. 2004. "Revised genetic sampling guidelines for conservation collections of rare and endangered plants." In Ex Situ Plant Conservation: Supporting Species Survival in the Wild, ed. E.O. Guerrant, K. Havens, and M. Maunder, pp. 419-441. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. Maunder, M., E.O. Guerrant, K. Havens, and K. Dixon. 2004. "Realizing the full potential of ex situ contributions to global plant conservation." In Ex Situ Plant Conservation: Supporting Species Survival in the Wild, ed. E.O. Guerrant, K. Havens, and M. Maunder, pp. 389-418. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. Vitt, P. and K. Havens. 2004. "Integrating quantitative genetics into ex situ conservation and restoration practices." In Ex Situ Plant Conservation: Supporting Species Survival in the Wild, ed. E.O. Guerrant, K. Havens, and M. Maunder, pp. 286-304. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. Maunder, M., K. Havens, E.O. Guerrant, and D. Falk. 2004. "Ex situ methods: A vital but underused set of conservation resources." In Ex Situ Plant Conservation: Supporting Species Survival in the Wild, eds. E.O. Guerrant, K. Havens, and M. Maunder, pp. 3-20. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. Guerrant, E.O., K. Havens, and M. Maunder, eds. 2004. Ex Situ Plant Conservation: Supporting Species Survival in the Wild, 504 pp. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. Havens, K. 2002. "Developing an Invasive Plant Policy: The Chicago Botanic Garden's Experience." Public Garden 17(4):16-17. Bell, T.J., M. Bowles, K. Havens, P. Vitt, and K. McEachern. 2002. "Reintroducing Pitcher's Thistle." Endangered Species Bulletin 27(3):14-15.