Claire Ciafre

Assistant Herbarium Collections Manager, center of excellence for field biology, austin Peay state university

Grassland ecologist, southeastern grasslands initiative

Claire grew up in Pennsylvania, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in biology with an emphasis on botany from Millersville University in 2012. After that she found a love for field botany in Missouri, where she worked for the Missouri Ozark Forest Ecosystem Project (MOFEP), the Institute of Botanical Training, and the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. She also gained experience in fire ecology, ecosystem restoration, and wildland firefighting during this time. 

She began attending Austin Peay State University in the fall of 2017 to work toward a master’s degree. To this end she has been researching the plant communities of ponds in the Eastern Highland Rim of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama that historically were embedded within oak savannas but today are shrouded in forest. Her work will be to describe and model the communities present at these sites to further their conservation and advance the knowledge of the historical grasslands of this ecoregion. 

As a graduate research assistant at APSU she is also working on a project with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) to document and describe remnant wet grassland communities throughout the state. She is a research associate for SGI as well as for NatureCITE (Center of Integrative Taxonomy and Ecology).