News from the Society, the Sections and the Committees

Call for Nominations: Corresponding Members

The Corresponding Members Committee is soliciting nominations for Corresponding Members of the BSA. According to the BSA Bylaws, "Corresponding Members are distinguished senior scientists who have made outstanding contributions to plant science and who live and work outside the United States of America." The number of such persons is limited to 50; we currently have a single vacancy. Corresponding Members are granted life membership in the BSA and enjoy all the privileges of regular Active Members. The current members and past honorees are listed in the BSA Membership Directory and Handbook.

The nomination should consist of a curriculum vitae of the proposed candidate, a detailed explanation of the qualifications and achievements of the candidate, and at least three (eight to ten are usual) letters of support. It is preferable for nominations to be made without knowledge of the nominee. Nominations should be completed by 1 March 1998 to be considered for award of corresponding membership in August of 1998. Please send completed nominations to the Past-President, Daniel J. Crawford, Department of Plant Biology, Ohio State University, 1735 Neil Ave., Columbus, OH 43210-1293.


Don't forget to write! Last year the Business Office -spent over $200 sending returned AJB's to members who had moved without sending notification. To save the Society money and assure uninterrupted mailing of your publications and other important BSA information, please send address changes to:

Mail Bird Botanical Society of America Business Office
1735 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210-1293
Ph: 614/292-3519 Fx: 614/292-3519

You can also update your information directly at our website:! You are an important part of the BSA and we do not want to lose track of you! Be sure to include your phone, fax and e-mail if available.

ISSN 0032-0919
Published quarterly by Botanical Society of America, Inc., 1735 Neil Ave., Columbus, OH 43210
The yearly subscription rate of $15 is included in the membership dues of the Botanical Society of America, Inc. Periodical postage paid at Columbus, OH and additional mailing office.

POSTMASTER: Send address changes to:

Kim Hiser, Business Manager
Botanical Society of America
1735 Neil Ave.
Columbus OH 43210-1293

Phone/Fax: 614/292-3519      email:

Call For Nominations: 1998 Young Botanist Awards

The Botanical Society of America requests nominations for the Young Botanist Awards for 1997-1998. The purpose of these awards is to recognize outstanding graduating seniors in the plant sciences, and to encourage their participation in the Botanical Society of America. Nominations should document the student's qualifications for the award and should discuss the student's academic performance, research projects, and individual attributes. Nominations should be accompanied by one or more letters of support from faculty who know the students well. Award winners will receive a Certificate of Recognition signed by the President of the Botanical Society, which is forwarded to the nominating faculty member for presentation. Nominations should be sent to the Past-President, Daniel J. Crawford, Department of Plant Biology, Ohio State University, 1735 Neil Ave., Columbus, OH 43210-1293.

Deadline: March 1, 1998.

Fire Sale! AJB Back Issues - Cheap!

We have a huge inventory of back issues dating back to Volume 56 (1969) and we need to get rid of it! The Botanical Society of America published 10 issues of the American Journal of Botany per year until 1985 (Vol. 72); all subsequent volumes contain 12 issues per year. A few volumes include the Abstracts issue as a numbered issue and the other volumes include the Abstracts as a supplement to the June issue: Some volumes and issues are not available and some are in limited quantities. Prices are strictly at cost for handling and postage. The sale will last for a period of one year, after which excess remaining issues will be recycled. Prices are per issue (in US Dollars) and orders will be submitted quarterly to reduce handling charges. Domestic delivery: $2.50 per issue shipped Periodical Rate, Canada: $3.50, other foreign: $3.75. Please send orders and/or inquiries concerning availability to:

Botanical Society of America Business Office
1735 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210-1293
Ph: 614/292-3519 Fx: 614/292-3519
Fire Sale

The Botanical Society reserves the right to adjust prices in the event of an increase in postage or handling costs.

Editorial Committee for Volume 43
James D. Mauseth (1997)
Department of Botany
University of Texas
Austin, TX 78713
Allison A. Snow (1998)
Department of Plant Biology
Ohio State University
Columbus, OH 43210
Nickolas M. Waser (1999)
Department of Biology
University of California
Riverside, CA 92521
P. Mick Richardson (2000)
Missouri Botanical Garden
P.O. Box 299
St. Louis, MO 63166
Vicki A. Funk (2001)
Department of Botany
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, D.C. 20560

Reports from the Sections:

Developmental and Structural Section

The section continues to have high levels of activity associated with the annual meeting. During the past year, two major initiatives have been acted upon:

1. Establishment of an email system for the chair of the section to communicate with all members of the section who have submitted email addresses to the Botanical Society. The use of this system by the chair is infrequent (not more than once a month) so as to prevent any perception of junk mail. Announcements for faculty positions and postdoctoral positions have been posted to the membership in order to benefit the younger members. Also, issues of import to the entire section and notices of deaths of important members have been communicated on this system.

2. Establishment of funding to assist with student attendance at the annual BSA meetings. Two separate programs for travel awards to student members of the Developmental and Structural Section of the Botanical Society of America have been established. The goal for each of these funds is to encourage and support student attendance at the annual BSA meeting. Each travel award will be in the amount of the student registration fee for the current annual BSA meeting. Every year, all student members of the Developmental and Structural Section will have the opportunity to apply for these travel awards. It is our goal to generate sufficient funds to support all of the section's student members who attend the annual BSA meeting. There is no requirement for a student to present a contributed paper in association with either of these travel awards.

Vernon Cheadle Student Travel Award Endowment -- As a way of honoring the memory of Dr. Vernon Cheadle, a challenge grant has been established for this endowment. For every dollar given to this permanent endowment for student travel, a matching amount will be contributed to this fund, up to a total of $2,500. The goal of this endowment will be to grow the principal over the long term, while making travel awards to several students per year.

Developmental & Structural Section Student Travel Award Fund -- As voted upon by the membership of the section in 1996, an annual drive will be initiated to generate contributions from the sectional membership to support student attendance at the annual meetings of 'the Botanical Society of America. Donations will be solicited in units equivalent to the current student registration fee (this year, for example, $85). In essence, each contributor will effectively sponsor the attendance of one or more students.
- William (Ned) Friedman

Botanical Society of America Merit Awards
The Genetics section has been active in getting the section Newsletter going again. Grant Mitman ( has agreed to serve as editor of the newsletter. We gave the Margaret Menzel award to Jermome Laroche, Peng Li, Laurent Maggia, and Jean Bousquet for their talk entitled "Molecular evolution of angiosperm mitochondrial introns and exons."

The program this year was altered to give a special guest lecture. Our special guest was Yin-Long Qiu from Indiana University. There were 15 contributed papers and 6 posters. We will continue to work on improving the membership.
- Kenneth G. Wilson


Phycological Section
Jeffrey Johansen, section secretary, organized for the first time in several years, a paper and poster session in conjunction with this years BSA annual meeting. Twelve oral presentations were given and six posters were displayed. Slightly more than two dozen phycologists participated in our session. Of the oral presentation, ten were contributed by students as were five of the posters. It proved an excellent forum for students (both>undergraduate and graduate) to present their research. Section funds were used to assist the students with travel stipends.
- Dan Wujek

Tropical Biology Section
The Tropical Biology Section has a membership of about 350. This year the section co-sponsored with the Ecological Section a special lecture by Kamaljit S. Bawa, entitled "Tropical biodiversity losses: magnitude and solutions," followed by a diverse contributed paper session. Over 65 people attended the lecture. The Section plans to continue sponsoring an annual special lecture. Five Alwyn Gentry awards for Best Student Paper and Best Student Poster were presented at the 1997 Association for Tropical Biology meetings by the Association for Tropical Biology, the Tropical Biology Section of BSA, and the University of Chicago Press. We currently are seeking nominations for section chair and secretary/treasurer. The Section held a social with the Ecological Section and the Torrey Botanical Society.
- Joe Armstrong

Ecological and Tropical Biology Sections Symposium Report: Genetics of Adaptive Phenotypic Plasticity

The field of phenotypic plasticity has been shaping for most of the century, ever since Woeltereck misunderstood Johansson's definition of genotype and phenotype and coined the term "reaction norm". It is now a full fledged and mature area of research, but several of its most fundamental questions are still very much open to debate. One of these is when can a plastic response be considered an adaptation? It is this deceptively simple question that was the focus of a recent symposium sponsored by the Ecological and Tropical Biology Sections at the Montreal meeting. The answer to the question involves determination of genotypic natural selection under field conditions, theoretical studies of optimization of phenotypes in multiple environments, investigations of the genetic basis of plasticity, investigations of the degree of genetic variation for plasticity in natural populations, and research aimed at defining and measuring the evolutionary and physiological costs of evolving and maintaining a plastic response.

The specific contributions were as exciting as the general questions that provided the basis for the symposium. Stephen Bonser (with Lonnie Aarssen Queen's University) talked about the relationship between phenotypic plasticity and allometry, focusing on meristem allocation in herbaceous plants. Hilary Callahan (with myself - University of Tennessee) used the study of adaptive plasticity to light availability as a model system to highlight how a knowledge of the genetic and physiological basis of a plastic response can yield significant insights into Cycas its evolution (and vice versa). Lisa Dorn (with Johanna Schmitt - Brown University) discussed the use of molecular Quantitative Trait Loci mapping techniques to uncover genes specifically involved in plastic responses in natural populations. Susan Dudley (McMaster University) addressed the problem of how in fact we should go about testing adaptive plasticity hypotheses, again using the shade avoidance response to light as an experimental model. Martin Lechowicz (with Thomas Lei - McGill University) also focused on adaptation to bade vs. sunlit environments, but widened the perspective by addressing the more difficult problem of investigating plasticity and adaptation in trees, with all the complications due to the long-lived perennial habit. Kelly McCounnaughay (Bradley University) discussed how developmental constraints can limit adaptive phenotypic plasticity regulating allocational strategies. Sonia Sultan (Wesleyan University) cunningly dissected the subtle problems that the very nature of plasticity poses to the investigator when it comes to relate plastic responses to increased or decreased fitness performances, arguing that the currently fashionable quantitative genetics techniques of data analysis are not only inadequate, but downright misleading when it comes to phenotypes measured under stressful conditions. Alice Winn (Florida State University) tackled the problem of defining and measuring costs to plasticity, which represent a major hindrance to the evolution of adaptive phenotypic plasticity and which are directly related to the genetic and biochemical machinery underlying plastic responses. Finally, I attempted to discuss the relationship between the genetics of plasticity and its adaptive significance, pointing out that knowledge of the action of genes involved in plasticity immediately gives us clues about their possible origin, including the likelihood of an historical process of adaptation.

The major theme spawned a lively discussion on a variety of other lines of inquiry, to which the speakers contributed both during the symposium and in the informal discussion which followed it. Is natural selection acting directly on plasticity, and if so, under which ecological circumstances? Are there genes specifically involved in controlling plastic responses, and what role do they play in the overall genetic architecture of the organism? How much does the genetic architecture of an organism constraint its ability to evolve phenotypic plasticity? Does the potential to produce a plastic response entail a hidden cost? If so, is adaptive plasticity maintained by stabilizing selection to counteract mutation accumulation and genetic drift? It was obvious that the contributing speakers believed that these and related questions are not only very relevant to the study of ecological genetics in changing environments, but more in general to the tempo and mode of phenotypic evolution. The attendance of more than one hundred people to the symposium was a reassuring sign that we are not the only ones...
- Massimo Pigliucci
Departments of Botany and Ecology
& Evolutionary Biology
University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996

Other News

5th Clonal Plant Workshop
Bangor, Wales, September 9-14,1997

Clonal plants are different. They move around, sense gradients, forage for resources, and multiply by fragmentation. Or perhaps it is the viewpoint of researchers who study clonal plants that is different. Whatever the reason, it is difficult to imagine a more stimulating meeting in the organismal plants sciences than the 5th Clonal Plant Workshop organized by Liz Price (Manchester) and Chris Marshall (Bangor), which took place from September 9th to 14th in Bangor, Wales. Participants came from all over Europe, with a few thrown in from Asia and the United States for good measure.

This topic-oriented workshop offered a great opportunity to view the current status of clonal plant biology, because it offered a mix of new results and reviews of already published findings. This kind of mixture makes such workshops hotbeds for scientific integration, much more so than the large annual society meetings. In addition, the relatively small number of participants (around 90) and the generous schedule made it possible for everyone to talk at some length with anyone they wished.

The subject of this year's workshop was "Clonal Plants and Environmental Heterogeneity - Space, Time and Scale". Other topics included aspects of resource use and allocation, structure and dynamics of populations spatiotemporal dynamics, and morphological organization and physiological integration. It is of course, difficult to single out specific contributions without doing injustice to the ones not mentioned. That being said, here are some of my impressions.

The interactions between environmental heterogeneity and physiological integration in clonal plants was a recurring theme in presentations. Many studies have found that a high degree of physiological integration is a common phenomenon in clonal plants that grow in patchy, resource-poor habitats. For example, Fragaria child plants in patchy dune habitat have a higher degree of resource-sharing among ramets than plants from a more uniform grassland habitat (Peter Alpert). On the other hand, a few studies suggest that under certain circumstances, clonal fragmentation may be favored in patchy habitats, for example in water-limited environments, where water-stressed ramets could potentially negatively affect other ramets.

Wherever directional aspects of physiological integration (i.e. transport of resources between ramets) are being looked at, they turn out to be very important for understanding particular reactions of clonal plant species to environmental heterogeneity. Directionality has been a hot topic in clonal plant research for some time, but it appears that it is still too early for generalizations other than the ever popular "species are different". During early development, new ramets receive all resources from older ramets; in later stages, physiological integration may be to different degrees bidirectional, unidirectional in either direction, or virtually non-existent. An intriguing twist was added to such problems with the presentation by Maxine Watson and colleagues, who found that the degree of mycorrhizal infection varied in a predictable manner with the age of the nodes along mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) rhizome systems, where the roots of the youngest, leaf-bearing node were almost non-mycorrhizal, while two- to four-year-old nodes had the highest degrees of mycorrhizal infections. This is once again evidence for mycorrhizae adding another level of complexity to already complex systems.

Most people believe that plants do not move. A refreshing contrast to this view was presented in Kalevi Kull's contribution on vegetative mobility as a community parameter. He described the spatiotemporal dynamics of an Estonian grassland community in terms of placement, growth, and life spans of rhizomes and ramets of 130 species. As it turns out, not only do plants move, the mobility of a plant community may also change in response to disturbance or fertilization.

Genetic individuality featured prominently in work present by researchers from the Czech Republic (Sylvie Pecháèková, Vera Hadincova and colleagues). They found large differences among genotypes of Festuca rubra in their reaction to litter of Nardus stricta and equally large differences in the size and structure of root systems from rhizomatous and non-rhizomatous clones of Festuca. These results suggest that researchers dismiss genotypic differences at their peril, when they view such differences in morphology, physiology, and ecology as noise in the data, when in fact these differences may reflect the ability of a plant population to utilize a variety of niches ib the community. This also is an example for the dang I er of focusing on averages when it is the deviations from the averages that are the real results.

Many of the topics discussed at this workshop feature prominently in a new book edited by Hans de Kroon and Jan van Groenendael, entitled "The Ecology and Evolution of Clonal Plants" (Backhuys Publishers, Leiden. 1997), which includes chapters by many of the participants of this workshop. The four earlier workshops have all resulted in published proceedings and various collaborative projects and publications, and the 5th Clonal Plant Workshop will be no exception. So far, there have been few American participants and it is hoped that future workshops will attract more researchers from outside of Europe.

One thing that I have learned from this workshop is that there are many more aspects to clonal plant research and many more clonal growth forms than I had imagined. Anyone interested in leaming more about clonal plant research or getting in touch with the clonal community can do so by subscribing to the Cyber-Clone list-server. To subscribe send an email to with the message SUB CYBERCLONE, <firstname> <Iastname> and you will receive further instructions and information.

The organizers of the next clonal plant workshop planned for the year 2000 in Innsbruck, Austria, will face a challenge to match the flawless organization of Liz Price and Chris Marshall for this year's workshop, which provided a perfect environment for both the formal and the not so formal parts of the meeting. The only way for the Innsbruck organizers to outdo the 5th Workshop will be to have it on top of a mountain. Which is exactly what they are planning on doing. See you there.
- H. Jochen Schenk
University of California Santa Barbara

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