Vicki Funk

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Vicki Funk
Vicki Funk - Flickr - treegrow.jpg
Vicki Ann Funk

(1947-11-26) November 26, 1947 (age 71)
Alma materB. S., Murray State University, Biology and History, 1969, M.S., Murray State University, Biology, 1975; PhD, Ohio State University, 1980
Known forBotanist and curator
Awards2001   Queensland Fellowship, awarded by the Government of Queensland, Australia

2002  President’s Award for Service, Society of Systematic Biologists

2006  National Museum of Natural History, Science Achievement Award
Scientific career
InstitutionsNew York Botanical Garden,
Smithsonian Institution,
George Mason University,
Duke University
  • A Floristic and Geologic Survey of Selected Seeps of Calloway County, KY.
  • The Systematics of Montanoa Cerv. (Asteraceae)
Author abbrev. (botany)V.A.Funk

Vicki Ann Funk (born 1947) is a Senior Research Botanist and Curator at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. She is known for her work on members of the composite family (Asteraceae) including collecting plants in many parts of the world, as well as her synthetic work on phylogenetics and biogeography.[1][2][3]


Funk was born on November 26, 1947 in Owensboro, Kentucky to Edwin Joseph Funk and Betty Ann Massenburg Funk. She has two brothers: Edwin Jr and Jared Kirk Funk. She grew up in Owensboro, and a few Air Force bases before she was in elementary school. Funk studied Biology and History at Murray State University in Kentucky and received her B.S. in 1969. She had wanted to attend medical school, but decided against it after volunteering at a hospital one summer. After graduating, she lived and worked part-time in Germany for two years and returned to the United States to teach high school for one year. She then spent a summer at the Hancock Biological Station on Kentucky Lake. There she discovered her passion for field work and research.[4]

In 1975 she received an M.S. in Biology at Murray State where her thesis was A Floristic and Geologic Survey of Selected Seeps of Calloway County, KY. Her advisor was Dr. Marian Fuller. She spent the summer of 1975 studying aquatic plants at Stone Lab at Lake Erie. In the fall she started a PhD program at Ohio State University with Ron Stuckey as her advisor. She later changed her studies to Compositae with Tod Stuessy. She was an assistant curator at the Ohio State University from 1976 until 1977.[4] In 1980, she graduated from the Ohio State University with a Ph.D. writing her thesis on The Systematics of Montanoa Cerv. (Asteraceae), which was published in 1982 in the Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden. In 1981 she spent a postdoctoral year at the New York Botanical Garden[5] where she studied Compositae with Art Cronquist[4] and the newly developing field of phylogenetics at the American Museum of Natural History.

Funk was appointed as a research scientist and curator at the US National Herbarium of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in 1981. In 2004 she became a Senior Research Scientist and Curator of Compositae at the US National Herbarium Department of Botany.

Funk's research includes detailing evolutionary relationships and biogeogrpahy using plant DNA.[6] Funk co-discovered the critically endangered Bidens meyeri in Rapa Iti, French Polynesia.[1] Funk's work shows that this Bidens species may represent the end of a migration from North American through the Society Islands to the Austral Islands.[7]

Since 1988, she has served as Head of the Biological Diversity of the Guiana Shield Program (BDG), and in 2015 began the Global Genome Initiative for Gardens both headquartered at the Smithsonian Institution. Both of these programs were passed onto others in 2018. She is also an adjunct professor at George Mason University and Duke University.[3]

Funk is a member of a number of societies and has served in a position for many. She was the president of the Society of Systematic Biologists in 1998–1999, American Society of Plant Taxonomists 2006–2007, the International Biogeography Society in 2007 to 2009, the Botanical Society of Washington in 2014, and the International Association of Plant Taxonomists from 2011 to 2017. She has been in many other positions in these societies and others.

Awards & Honors[edit]

In 2018 Funk won the Asa Gray Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Plant Taxonomists[2], which is awarded to individuals who have outstanding achievements in the field of plant taxonomy. In 2014 she won the Rolf Dahlgren Prize for her major contributions to the understanding of the systematics and evolution of the angiosperms.[3] In 2012 she won the Smithsonian's Secretary's Award for Outstanding Publication and became a board member for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center for two years. In 2010 she was awarded the Stebbins' Medal for the best publication in Plant Systematics or Plant Evolution in 2007 to 2009 from the International Association for Plant Taxonomy.[4] In 2009 she was given two awards: the Secretary's Award for Excellence in Collaboration, and the National Museum of Natural History Science Achievement Award.


The standard author abbreviation V.A.Funk is used to indicate this person as the author when citing a botanical name.[5]

  • Funk, Vicki (2004). "100 Uses for an Herbarium (Well at Least 72)" (PDF). Division of Botany, The Yale University Herbarium. Retrieved 2015-03-27.

Select Publications[edit]

Top 5 cited papers of all time:

Top 5 cited papers in the last 5 years (2013- August 2018):


  1. ^ Funk, Vicki; Wood, Kenneth (2014-10-13). "Bidens meyeri (Asteraceae, Coreopsideae): a new critically endangered species from Rapa, Austral Islands". PhytoKeys. 42 (42): 39–47. doi:10.3897/phytokeys.42.8408. ISSN 1314-2003. PMC 4225073. PMID 25383010.
  2. ^ "2018 Asa Gray Award". American Society of Plant Taxonomists. Retrieved 2018-11-24.
  3. ^ Friis, Ib (2015-05-05). "The Rolf Dahlgren-Prize for 2014 Awarded to Vicki Funk". Taxon. 64 (2): 405. doi:10.12705/642.32. ISSN 0040-0262.
  4. ^ Schmid, Rudolf (2012). "RECIPIENTS OF IAPT'S MEDALS AWARDED 1987-DATE" (PDF). Retrieved 24 Nov 2018.
  5. ^ IPNI.  V.A.Funk.

External links[edit]