Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist and Director of Science, Center for Plant Conservation

Dr. Joyce Maschinski serves San Diego Zoo Global as a Senior Scientist in Plant Conservation, as well as fulfilling a dual role as Director of Science for the Center for Plant Conservation. In these capacities, she develops, oversees, and synthesizes plant conservation research related to seed banking, habitat restoration, and preventing the extinction of rare plant species.

For over 20 years, Joyce’s research interests have centered on understanding factors that limit reproduction, growth, and expansion of rare plant populations. She has examined the impact of human activities on rare plants and provided management solutions for the conservation of rare species. Hybridization, herbivory, habitat destruction, timber harvest, trampling, climate change, and fire threats to rare plants are among the factors she has studied. With colleagues at The Arboretum at Flagstaff and Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Joyce has conducted over 87 reintroductions of 26 endangered plant species in desert and tropical ecosystems. Working with collaborators at the Center for Plant Conservation, she created guidelines for best practices for rare plant reintroduction.

Joyce earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Arizona, and her doctorate in Plant Ecology from Northern Arizona University. She then worked for two Center for Plant Conservation participating institutions: The Arboretum at Flagstaff, where she held positions as Curator of Plants, Interim Director, and Director of Research, and Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, where she led the South Florida conservation program as a Conservation Ecologist conducting applied and theoretical research on rare plants of South Florida and Puerto Rico. In recognition of her work, Joyce received the Center for Plant Conservation Star Award in 2009, and with her team at Fairchild received the 2012 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Recovery Champions award and the 2014 Deering Estate Foundation Conservation Partners award.