Senior Research Assistant, Botany

Paul Sokoloff.

Contact Information

Tel: 613.364.4077
Fax: 613.364.4027

Twitter: @Paul_Sokoloff

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.

Paul C. Sokoloff © Canadian Museum of Nature


Elegant milkvetch (Astragalus eucosmus; formerly Astragalus robbinsii var. fernaldii) on Mount Bonenfant in Blanc Sablon, Quebec.

Professional Services

  • 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.

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

Non-Refereed Publications

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.

Paul C. Sokoloff © Canadian Museum of Nature


Dwarf hawkbeard (Askellia nana) growing on a cobble beach. Victoria Island, Northwest Territories.

Paul C. Sokoloff © Canadian Museum of Nature


Field Camp on the Diamond Jenness Peninsula. Victoria Island, Northwest Territories.