Barnabas Daru is an Assistant Professor of Biology. He is interested in the ecology and biogeography of plants across ecological scales. He studied botany in Johannesburg, and was a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard, where he worked on new uses of herbarium specimens for understanding plant ecology and evolution in the Anthropocene, the epoch of profound human impact on Earth. Current research in the Daru lab addresses the role of phylogeny in: 1) understanding how species are distributed, 2) conserving unique communities, and 3) understanding changing distributions in the Anthropocene.

Academic Appointments

Honors & Awards

  • TBA Field Course Kibale Uganda, Tropical Biology Association (2008)
  • New Phytologist Poster Prize, New Phytologist Trust (2015)

Professional Education

  • Postdoctoral, Harvard University, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology (2018)
  • PhD, University of Johannesburg, Botany (2015)

2023-24 Courses

Stanford Advisees

All Publications

  • Mass production of unvouchered records fails to represent global biodiversity patterns. Nature ecology & evolution Daru, B. H., Rodriguez, J. 2023


    The ever-increasing human footprint even in very remote places on Earth has inspired efforts to document biodiversity vigorously in case organisms go extinct. However, the data commonly gathered come from either primary voucher specimens in a natural history collection or from direct field observations that are not traceable to tangible material in a museum or herbarium. Although both datasets are crucial for assessing how anthropogenic drivers affect biodiversity, they have widespread coverage gaps and biases that may render them inefficient in representing patterns of biodiversity. Using a large global dataset of around 1.9 billion occurrence records of terrestrial plants, butterflies, amphibians, birds, reptiles and mammals, we quantify coverage and biases of expected biodiversity patterns by voucher and observation records. We show that the mass production of observation records does not lead to higher coverage of expected biodiversity patterns but is disproportionately biased toward certain regions, clades, functional traits and time periods. Such coverage patterns are driven by the ease of accessibility to air and ground transportation, level of security and extent of human modification at each sampling site. Conversely, voucher records are vastly infrequent in occurrence data but in the few places where they are sampled, showed relative congruence with expected biodiversity patterns for all dimensions. The differences in coverage and bias by voucher and observation records have important implications on the utility of these records for research in ecology, evolution and conservation research.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41559-023-02047-3

    View details for PubMedID 37127769

    View details for PubMedCentralID 5489731

  • Mass production of unvouchered records fails to represent global biodiversity patterns Nature Ecology & Evolution Daru, B. H., Rodriguez, J. 2023
  • Woody plant phylogenetic diversity supports nature's contributions to people but is at risk from human population growth Conservation Letters Davies, T. J., Maurin, O., Yessoufou, K., Daru, B. H., Bezeng, B. S., Mankga, L. T., Schaefer, H., Thuiller, W., van der Bank, M. 2022; 15: e12914

    View details for DOI 10.1111/conl.12914

  • Widespread homogenization of plant communities in the Anthropocene Nature Communications Daru, B. H., Davies, T. J., Willis, C. G., Meineke, E. K., Ronk, A., Zobel, M., Pärtel, M., Antonelli, A., Davis, C. C. 2021; 12: 6983
  • Exploring a new way to think about climate regions eLife Daru, B. H. 2021; 10: e67422

    View details for DOI 10.7554/eLife.67422

  • Impediments to understanding seagrasses’ response to global change Frontiers in Marine Science Rock, B. M., Daru, B. H. 2021; 8: 608867
  • Bias assessments to expand research harnessing biological collections Trends in Ecology and Evolution Meineke, E. K., Daru, B. H. 2021; 36: 1071-1082
  • Migratory birds distribute seeds to new climates Nature Daru, B. H. 2021; 595: 34-36
  • Endemism patterns are scale dependent. Nature Communications Daru, B. H., Farooq, H., Antonelli, A., Faurby, S. 2020; 11: 2115
  • phyloregion: R package for biogeographic regionalization and macroecology Methods in Ecology and Evolution Daru, B. H., Karunarathne, P., Schliep, K. 2020; 11: 1483-1491

    View details for DOI 10.1111/2041-210X.13478

  • Savanna tree evolutionary ages inform the reconstruction of the paleoenvironment of our hominin ancestors Scientific Reports Davies, T. J., Daru, B. H., Bezeng, B. S., Charles-Dominique, T., Hempson, G. P., Kabongo, R. M., Maurin, O., Muasya, A. M., van der Bank, M., Bond, W. J. 2020; 10: 12430
  • Spatial overlaps between the global protected areas network and terrestrial hotspots of evolutionary diversity Global Ecology and Biogeography Daru, B. H., le Roux, P. C., Gopalraj, J., Park, D. S., Holt, B. G., Greve, M. 2019; 28: 757-766

    View details for DOI 10.1111/geb.12888

  • Temperature controls phenology in continuously flowering Protea species of subtropical Africa Applications in Plant Sciences Daru, B. H., Kling, M. M., Meineke, E. K., van Wyk, A. E. 2019; 7: e01232

    View details for DOI 10.1002/aps3.1232

  • Invasive species differ in key functional traits from native and non-invasive alien plant species Journal of Vegetation Science Mathakutha, R., Steyn, C., le Roux, P. C., Blom, I. J., Chown, S. L., Daru, B. H., Ripley, B. S., Louw, A., Greve, M. 2019; 30: 994-1006

    View details for DOI 10.1111/jvs.12772

  • A novel proof of concept for capturing the diversity of endophytic fungi preserved in herbarium specimens Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B Daru, B. H., Bowman, E. A., Pfister, D. H., Arnold, A. E. 2018; 374: 20170395

    View details for DOI 10.1098/rstb.2017.0395

  • Widespread sampling biases in herbaria revealed from large-scale digitization New Phytologist Daru, B. H., Park, D. S., Primack, R. B., Willis, C. G., Barrington, D. S., Whitfeld, T. J., Seidler, T. G., Sweeney, P. W., Foster, D. R., Ellison, A. M., Davis, C. C. 2018; 217: 939-955

    View details for DOI 10.1111/nph.14855

  • Biological collections for understanding biodiversity in the Anthropocene Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Meineke, E. K., Davies, T. J., Daru, B. H., Davis, C. C. 2018; 374: 20170386

    View details for DOI 10.1098/rstb.2017.0386

  • Unravelling the evolutionary origins of biogeographic assemblages Diversity and Distributions Daru, B. H., van der Bank, M., Davies, T. J. 2018; 24

    View details for DOI 10.1111/ddi.12679

  • Understanding the processes underpinning patterns of phylogenetic regionalization Trends in Ecology and Evolution Daru, B. H., Elliott, T. L., Park, D. S., Davies, T. J. 2017; 32: 845-860
  • Climate change may reduce the spread of non-native species Ecosphere Bezeng, B. S., Morales-Castilla, I., van der Bank, M., Yessoufou, K., Daru, B. H., Davies, T. J. 2017; 8: e01694

    View details for DOI 10.1002/ecs2.1694

  • Integrating biogeography, threat and evolutionary data to explore extinction crisis in the taxonomic group of cycads Ecology and Evolution Yessoufou, K., Daru, B. H., Tafirei, R., Elansary, H. O., Rampedi, I. 2017; 7: 2735-2746

    View details for DOI 10.1002/ece3.2660

  • Ten years of barcoding at the African Centre for DNA barcoding Genome Bezeng, B. S., Davies, T. J., Daru, B. H., Kabongo, R. M., Maurin, O., Yessoufou, K., van der Bank, H., van der Bank, M. 2017; 60: 629-638

    View details for DOI 10.1139/gen-2016-0198

  • Phylogenetic regionalization of marine plants reveals close evolutionary affinities among disjunct temperate assemblages Biological Conservation Daru, B. H., Holt, B. G., Lessard, J. P., Yessoufou, K., Davies, T. J. 2017; 213: 351-356
  • Testing the reliability of the standard and complementary DNA barcodes for the monocot subfamily Alooideae from South Africa Genome Daru, B. H., van der Bank, M., Bello, A., Yessoufou, K. 2017; 60: 337-347

    View details for DOI 10.1139/gen-2015-0183

  • Spiny plants, mammal browsers and the origin of African savannas Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA Charles-Dominique, T., Davies, T. J., Hempson, G. P., Bezeng, B. S., Daru, B. H., Kabongo, R. M., Maurin, O., Muasya, A. M., van der Bank, M., Bond, W. J. 2016; 113: E5572–E5579

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1607493113

  • A novel phylogenetic regionalization of the phytogeographic zones of southern Africa reveals their hidden evolutionary affinities Journal of Biogeography Daru, B. H., van der Bank, M., Maurin, O., Yessoufou, K., Schaefer, H., Slingsby, J. A., Davies, T. J. 2016; 43: 155-166

    View details for DOI 10.1111/jbi.12619

  • Multiple routes underground? Frost alone cannot explain the evolution of underground trees New Phytologist Davies, T. J., Daru, B. H., van der Bank, M., Maurin, O., Bond, W. J. 2016; 209: 910-912
  • Opportunities for unlocking the potential of genomics for African trees New Phytologist Daru, B. H., Berger, D. K., van Wyk, A. E. 2016; 210: 772–778

    View details for DOI 10.1111/nph.13826

  • A search for a single DNA barcode for seagrasses of the world DNA Barcoding in Marine Perspectives: Assessment and Conservation of Biodiversity Daru, B. H., Yessoufou, K., Ghosh, S. K., Rehman, H. edited by Trivedi, S., Ansari, A. A. Springer International Publishing Switzerland. 2016: 313-330
  • Marine protected areas are insufficient to conserve global marine plant diversity Global Ecology and Biogeography Daru, B. H., le Roux, P. C. 2016; 25: 324–334

    View details for DOI 10.1111/geb.12412

  • Phylogenetic exploration of commonly used medicinal plants in South Africa Molecular Ecology Resources Yessoufou, K., Daru, B. H., Muasya, A. M. 2015; 15: 405-413

    View details for DOI 10.1111/1755-0998.12310

  • Spatial incongruence among hotspots and complementary areas of tree diversity in southern Africa Diversity and Distributions Daru, B. H., van der Bank, M., Davies, T. J. 2015; 21: 769-780

    View details for DOI 10.1111/ddi.12290

  • DNA barcodes reveal microevolutionary signals in fire response trait in two legume genera AoB PLANTS Bello, A., Daru, B. H., Stirton, C. H., Chimphango, S. B., van der Bank, M., Maurin, O., Muasya, A. M. 2015; 7: plv124

    View details for DOI 10.1093/aobpla/plv124