Sula is a field botanist who loves natural history, floristics and conservation science. Her graduate research has focused on the botany and ecology of the mediterranean-climate region of Baja California, Mexico, which is one of the world's biodiversity hotspots. She actively collaborates with the land trust Terra Peninsular A.C., of Mexico, and has numerous local and regional collaborators in Mexico and the United States, helping to bring current science to regional conservation projects. For the last eight years Sula has published broadly on the flora of this region including a field guide to quail-friendly plants, and coauthoring two chapters highlighting the remarkable biodiversity of northern Baja California in a book on vascular plant endemism of the world. Sula recently finished her Ph.D. research at the University of California, Riverside with Dr. Exequiel Ezcurra where she won the departmental student achievement award. She is now participating in a series of expeditions to explore new regions and document botanical diversity.
Sula gets her love for plants from her father, John Vanderplank, who is a specialist in Passionflowers. She worked at the National Collection of Passiflora in England for many years before going to study botany and finding her own passion for conservation. She enjoys mule-riding, leather-working, playing pool, and being at sea.