Robert I. Bertin


Biology Department

Distinguished Professor of Science Emeritus, Biology 

Ph.D., University of Illinois

Fields: Ecology, Evolutionary Biology of Higher Plants


Contact Information



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My recent research examines the flora of Massachusetts and how that flora has changed over time in relation to changing climate, introduction of non-native species, and changes in land use.

Using a combination of field observations and examination of herbarium specimens, it is evident that blooming times of plants have shifted to earlier dates in response to recent increases in spring temperatures.  Such shifts have now been documented in several regions of southern New England, including Worcester and Franklin Counties.

Along with several colleagues, I have examined the floras of Worcester County, Franklin County and the City of Worcester in relation to historical floras documented by herbarium specimens and literature reports.  These efforts have revealed large numbers of new county records, produced several new state records and have rediscovered several species that were thought to have been extirpated in the state.  These studies have also revealed dramatic changes in floras over time, including large increases in the importance of non-native species, consistent declines of species in certain plant families, declines of some species associated with open habitats, and declines in certain agricultural weeds.  They have also revealed a tendency of northern species to have declined relative to southern species, a predicted result of climate change. 




  • Introduction to Biology 2
  • General Ecology
  • Biostatistics
  • Field Botany
  • Topics in Biology: Environmental Biology

Selected Publication

Hickler, M. G., R. I. Bertin, G. Motzkin, and K. B. Searcy. 2018. Notable aquatic plants from the Connecticut River in Franklin County, Massachusetts. Rhodora 120: 76-86.

Bertin, R. I., K. B. Searcy, M. G. Hickler, and G. Motzkin. 2017. Climate change and flowering phenology in Franklin County, Massachusetts. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 144: 153-169.

Gardner, T. J., C. R. Eagan, and R. I. Bertin. 2017. Forest bird populations in Massachusetts: breeding habitat loss and other influences. Northeastern Naturalist 24: 267-288.

Zanne, A. E., D. C. Tank, W. K. Cornwell, J. M. Eastman, S. A. Smith, R. G. FitzJohn, D. J. McGlinn, B. C. O’Meara, A. T. Moles, P. B. Reich, D. L. Royer, D. E. Soltis, P. F. Stevens, M. Westoby, I. J. Wright, L. Aarssen, R. I. Bertin, A. Calaminus, R. Govaerts, F. Hemmings, M. R. Leishman, J. Oleksyn, P. S. Soltis, N. G. Swenson, L. Warman, and J. M. Beaulieu. 2014. Three keys to the radiation of angiosperms into freezing environments. Nature 506: 89-92.

Bertin, R. I. and C. M. Parise. 2014. Patterns and changes in the non-native flora of Worcester County, Massachusetts. American Midland Naturalist 172:37-60.

Bertin, R. I. 2013. Changes in the Native Flora of Worcester County, Massachusetts. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 140:414-452. 

Bertin, R. I. and T. J. Rawinski. 2012. Vascular flora of Worcester County Massachusetts. New England Botanical Club Special Publication. 289 pp.

Bertin, R. I., D. B. Connors and H. M. Kleinman. 2010. Differential herbivory on disk and ray flowers of gynomonoecious asters and goldenrods (Asteraceae). Biological Journal of the Linnaean Society 101: 544-552.  GET PDF

Bertin, R. I. 2008. Plant phenology and distribution in relation to recent climate change. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 135:126-146.

Bertin, R. I. 2007. Sex allocation in Carex (Cyperaceae): effects of light, water and nutrients. Canadian Journal of Botany 85:377-384.

Bertin, R. I., B. G. DeGasperis and J. M. Sabloff. 2006. Land use and forest history in an urban sanctuary in central Massachusetts. Rhodora 108: 119-141.

Bertin, R. I., M. E. Manner, B. F. Larrow, T. W. Cantwell and E. M. Berstene. 2005. Norway maple (Acer platanoides) and other non-native trees in urban woodlands of central Massachusetts. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society, 132:225-235

Routley, M. B., R. I. Bertin and B. C. Husband. 2004. Correlated evolution of dichogamy and self-incompatibility: a phylogenetic perspective. International Journal of Plant Science 165:983-993.

Bertin, R.I. 2002. Losses of native plant species from Worcester, Massachusetts. Rhodora 104:325-349.

Bertin, R.I. and G. M. Gwisc. 2002. Floral sex ratios and gynomonoecy in Solidago (Asteraceae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 77:413-422.  GET PDF

Bertin, R. I., K. B. Searcy and P. Somers. 2002. A new native plant for Massachusetts, Carex backii (Cyperaceae). Rhodora 104:201-204.

Bertin, R. I. 2001. Life cycle, demography, and reproductive biology of herb Robert (Geranium robertianum). Rhodora 103:96-116.

Bertin, R. I. 2000. Vascular flora of Worcester, Massachusetts. New England Botanical Club.

Bertin, R. I. and M. A. Kerwin. 1998. Floral sex ratios and gynomonoecy in Aster (Asteraceae). American Journal of Botany 85:235-244.

Sage, T.L., R.I. Bertin, and E.G. Williams. 1994. Ovarian and other late-acting self-incompatibility systems. In E.G. Williams, A.E. Clarke, R. B. Knox (eds.) Genetic control of self-incompatibility and reproductive development in flowering plants. Pgs. 116-140. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht.

Bertin, R.I. and C.M. Newman. 1993. Dichogamy in angiosperms. Botanical Review 59:112-152.

Bertin, R.I. 1993. Incidence of monoecy and dichogamy in relation to self-fertilization in angiosperms. American Journal of Botany 80:537-560.

Bertin, R.I., and O.D.V. Sholes. 1993. Weather, pollination and the phenology of Geranium maculatum. American Midland Naturalist 129:52-66.

Bertin, R.I., and P.J. Peters. 1992. Paternal effects on offspring quality in Campsis radicans. American Naturalist 140:166-178. GET PDF

Bertin, RI. 1982. The evolution and maintenance of andromonoecy.  Evolutionary Theory 6: 25-32.  GET PDF