Senior Research Assistant, Botany
Paul Sokoloff catalogues plant biodiversity in the Arctic and beyond as a botanical research assistant.
- Systematics, phylogenetics and taxonomy of Astragalus and the Fabaceae.
- Arctic floristics and plant biodiversity.
- Ecology of invasive plants.
- Mars planetary analogs.
- M.Sc., Biology, University of Ottawa, 2010.
- B.Sc., Biology, Carleton University, 2008.
As a senior research assistant in the botany and a member of the Arctic Flora of Canada and Alaska project, Paul Sokoloff's work boils down to cataloguing plant biodiversity in the Arctic and beyond. On any given day, he may be in a faraway place doing field work, in the museum's herbarium studying plant specimens or in the lab analyzing DNA of Arctic plants. In the quest for science, he's had his clothes stolen in southern Labrador and flipped over a canoe full of samples in New Brunswick's Jacquet River.
Paul first came to the Canadian Museum of Nature as a master's student under the supervision of Research Scientist Lynn Gillespie (he determined that the Fernald's milkvetch is not a plant species of its own). Two days after submitting his thesis, he was on a plane bound for Victoria Island in the Western Canadian Arctic as a museum field assistant and he hasn't looked back since. Since then, Paul has embarked on five Arctic expeditions with the museum, and has recently embarked on a simulated Mars mission at the Mars Desert Research Station.
- Identification of Fabaceae.
- Identification of Arctic plant species.
The Arctic Flora of Canada and Alaska Scratchpad
Refereed Journal Articles
Saarela J.M., Sokoloff P.C., Bull R.D. 2017. Vascular plant biodiversity of the lower Coppermine River valley and vicinity (Nunavut, Canada): an annotated checklist of an Arctic flora. PeerJ 5:e2835. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.2835
Sokoloff P.C., Hamilton P.B., Freebury, C.E., Saarela, J.M. 2016. The "Martian" Flora: new collections of vascular plants, lichens, fungi, algae, and cyanobacteria from the Mars Desert Research Station. Biodiversity Data Journal 4: e8176. doi: 10.3897/BDJ.4.e8176
Sokoloff P.C., Chapman, C.J., Gillespie, L.J. 2016. Evidence for hybridization and introgression in two Canadian Arctic louseworts: Pedicularis langsdorffii subsp. arctica and Pedicularis hirsuta. Botany 94: 369-389. doi: 10.1139/cjb-2015-0264
Gillespie L.J., Saarela J.M., Sokoloff P.C., Bull R.D. 2015. New vascular plant records for the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. PhytoKeys 52: 23-79. doi: 10.3897/phytokeys.52.8721
Sokoloff, P.C. 2015. The flora of Cunningham Inlet, Somerset Island, Nunavut: history, analysis, and new collections of vascular plants, mosses, lichens, and algae. Canadian Field-Naturalist 129(1): 24–37.
Saarela, J.M., Sokoloff , P.C., Gilelspie L.J., Consaul, L.L., Bull R.D. 2013. DNA Barcoding the Canadian Arctic Flora : Core Plastid Barcodes (rbcL + matK) for 490 Vascular Plant Species. PLoS ONE 8(10): e77982. Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0077982
Sokoloff, P.C. and Gillespie, L.J. 2012. Taxonomy of Astragalus robbinsii var. fernaldii (Fabaceae): molecular and morphological analyses support transfer to Astragalus eucosmus. Botany 90: 11-26. doi: 10.1139/b11-077
Sokoloff, P.C. 2016. Flat Plants from a Flat Land. Above and Beyond Magazine. November/December 2016 edition: 46-49.
Sokoloff, P.C. 2014. "Martian botany" in the American Southwest: plant collecting at the Mars Desert Research Station. The Canadian Botanical Association Bulletin. 47. 89-90
Sokoloff, P.C. 2015. The real life mission to boldly go (Mars). Outpost Magazine 105: 60-73.
Sokoloff, P.C. 2014. Spruce to Shore. Cataloguing the treeline and tundra flora along the Coppermine River. Above and Beyond Magazine. November/Dember 2014 edition: 33-37.
Sokoloff, P.C. 2012. Whitewater Botany. Outpost Magazine 90: 13-15.
Sokoloff, P.C. and Gillespie, L.J. 2011. The saga of Simmons draba: how one plant specimen crossed the Atlantic and back again in search of a name. Communique 80.
Sokoloff, P.C. and Gillespie, L.J. 2011. Fernald's milkvetch – conservation of native plants and the need for taxonomy. Communique 80.
In the Museum's Blog
Two Rare Species, One Big Trip
As a member of the historic C3 voyage that circumnavigated Canada's coastline in summer 2017, Paul Sokoloff writes about the search for two very special species of plants that exist only in one small area of the vast Canadian Arctic. Continue reading
Plants 2 Papers: The Sequel
Our botanists have found that 300 species of vascular plants in the lower Coppermine River region of Nunavut. Fourteen species were observed for the first time in Nunavut. By publishing the results of this research, our botanists promote the advancement of Arctic knowledge.
- @drcrater Nice. That’s Dryopteris fragrans, only known on Devon from Dundas Harbour due to (I believe) he more aci… t.co/VwdSASIOp5
- @drcrater Very nice! I hope to be able to do an inventory of Devon Island’s plants at some point 😃
- @MuseumofNature @SashaDistan Hi Sasha. I believe you can grow it as an ornamental in England, a local rock gardenin… t.co/juRI9g237p