Edward W. Chester Ph.D., Curator Emeritus
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Edward W. Chester Ph.D., Curator Emeritus


Dr. Wayne Chester began his career at Austin Peay State University in 1966 after completing his Ph.D. in Botany at the University of Tennessee under Dr. A.J. "Jack" Sharp on A Biosystematic Study of the Genus Halesia (Styracaceae)." During his tenure at APSU, Dr. Chester mentored many young botanists and through his efforts and that of his students the herbarium grew into what is now the second-largest herbarium in the state. He and several colleauges at APSU were forward-thinking in the development of the APSU Center of Excellence for Field Biology in the 1980s, which is still active today as one of the leading field biology-focused academic instutions in the Southeast. Throughout his career, Dr. Chester has been a leader on the study of Tennessee flora and vegetation. For the past three decades he has been the leader of the Tennessee Flora Project, spearheading the work of several landmark publications, including the two-volume Atlas of Tennessee Vascular Plants, the Fifth Checklist of Tennessee Vascular Plants, and most recently the Guide to the Vascular Plants of TennesseeHe is renowned for his work on the flora and history of Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area and for the grasslands of the Pennyroyal Plain Ecoregion - the "Big Barrens" of Kentucky and Tennessee. For many years Dr. Chester also served as the chair of the Tennessee Rare Plant Scientific Advisory Committee. In retirement, Dr. Chester remains active in botanical research, herbarium study, teaching, and public outreach. He is a regular speaker at the annual Tennessee Academy of Science conference and is lively presentations are often the highlight of the meeting. Without question, Dr. Chester has served as one of the most influential botanists in Tennessee's history. 

Research Interests

Tennessee flora; floristics and plant communities of northwestern Middle Tennessee and western Kentucky; flora and vegetation of the Pennyroyal Plain ecoregion; systematics of Halesia (Styracaceae).


PhD. Botany                                                  Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville             1966

M.S. Botany                                                  Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville              1965

B.S. Biology                                                  Austin Peay State University                 196?


· Curator Emeritus, Austin Peay State University

· Principal Investigator in the Center for Field Biology

· Director and Curator of the APSU Herbarium

· Professor, Dept. of Biology, Austin Peay State University