News from the Society, the Sections and the Committees

Awards and Prizes at BSA Annual Meeting:

The following awards and prizes were announced on 5 August 1998, at the Banquet for All Botanists given by the Botanical Society of America (BSA) at its Annual Meeting held in Baltimore, Maryland, in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the American Institute of Biological Sciences.

Botanical Society of America Merit Awards

These awards are made to persons judged to have made outstanding contributions to botanical science. The first awards were made in 1956 at the 50th anniversary of the Botanical Society, and one or more have been presented each year since that time. This year Merit Awards went to four botanists.

Photo from the BSA Banquet
New BSA President Carol Baskin (left) is welcomed by outgoing President Nancy Dengler (right) at the BSA Banquet on August 5.

Special Service Awards

In recognition of her years of service to the Botanical Society, a Special Service Award was presented to outgoing BSA Treasurer Judy Jernstedt. In recognition of his service to the Botanical Society and, in particular, his efforts in developing the BSA Website, a Service Award was presented to Webmaster Scott Russell.

The Darbaker Prize

This award is made for meritorious work in the study of microscopical algae. The recipient is selected by a Committee of the Botanical Society which bases its judgment primarily on papers published during the last two calendar years. The recipient receives a certificate and a monetary award. The award this year went to R. Jan Stevenson from the University of Louisville for published work on, microscopic algae.

The Katherine Esau Award

This award, established in 1985 with a gift from Dr. Esau, is given to the graduate student who presents the outstanding paper in developmental and structural botany at the annual meeting. This year, the Esau Award was given to Amber Moody of the University of Colorado for her presentation "Architectural and developmental analysis of the vegetative propagule of Mimulus gemmiparus (Scrophulariaceae)" that was co-authored with Pamela K. Diggle and David A. Steingraber.

The Jeanette Siron Pelton Award

The Conservation and Research Foundation honors the memory of Jeanette Siron Pelton with sponsorship of this award given for exceptional promise or sustained excellence in the field of plant morphogenesis. The award consists of a $1,000 premium and a certificate to be given not more than annually. The award was presented this year to Dr. Donald R. Kaplan, University of California, Berkeley.

The John S. Karling Award

This award was given for the first time in 1997. The award was made possible by a gift from the late John Sidney Karling. His research interests were in cytology, marine fungi, and tropical biology. He was an active member of both the Torrey Botanical Club and the BSA. This year Karling Graduate Student Research Awards were presented to ten individuals: Janet C. Barber, University of at Austin, Julie Beckstead, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Jeff P. Castelli, University of Pennsylvania, Theresa M. Culley, Ohio State University, Sandra K. Floyd, University of Colorado at Boulder, Leslie Goertzen, University of Texas at Austin, Douglas Goldman, University of Texas at Austin, Susana Magallon-Puebla, The Field Museum, Randall Small, Iowa State University, and Anna Woodfill, Michigan State University.

The Maynard F. Moseley Award

The Maynard F. Moseley Award was established to honor a career of dedicated teaching, scholarship, and service to the furtherance of the botanical sciences. The award recognizes a student paper that best advances out understanding of the plant anatomy and/or morphology of vascular plants within an evolutionary context. The award this year was presented to Michelle McMahon, Washington State University, Pullman for her paper entitled " Corolla-androecium synorganization in the flowers of the tribe Amorpheae (Fabaceae)," coauthored with Larry Hufford.

The A. J. Sharp Award

This award is given for the best student paper presented in the Bryological and Lichenological sessions. This year's award went to Abbey Rosso of Oregon State University for her paper entitled "Responses of shrub epiphyte communities to overstory thinning in forest of Western Oregon."

The Isabel C. Cookson Paleobotanical Award

Each year the Isabel C. Cookson Award is given for the best contributed paper in paleobotany or palynology presented at the annual meeting. This year awards were presented Jennifer Cordi, SUNY Binghamton, for her paper entitled "Devonian vascular plant groups and the inference of macroevolutionary pattern and process: A phylogenetic comparative approach to the analysis of trends in early vascular plant evolution," and to Trevor Lantz, Univ. of Alberta, for his paper entitled "A permineralized tree fem from the Lower Cretaceous (Aptian) of northern California."

The Margaret Menzel Award

This award is given by the Genetics Section for an outstanding paper presented in the contributed papers sessions of the annual meetings. This year's award went to Paula Randall, Brigham Young University, for her talk entitled "Homologs of the Antirrhinum majus centroradialis and floricaula genes in Atriplex garrettii."

The Physiological Section Awards

Each year the Physiological Section presents the Li-Cor prize, which acknowledges the best presentation made by any student, regardless of subdiscipline, at the annual meeting. The award this year went to Stephen Witzig from Salisbury State University for his talk entitled "A microbial symbiont used to alter the nutritional quality of plants."

This year the Physiological Section also presented the Tissue Culture Prize. This award went to Katie A. Gustavsen from University of Delaware for her paper entitled "Genetic transformation of Atriplex triangularis (seaside greens) using Agrobacterium tumefaciens and the p35 GUSint Ti plasmid."

The Samuel N. Postlethwait Award

The Teaching Section presents the Samuel Noel Postlethwait award for exceptional teaching on behalf of the teaching Section of the BSA. This year the award was presented to David Kramer of Ohio State University Mansfield.

The George R. Cooley Award

This award is given annually by the American Society of Plant Taxonomists for the best contributed paper in plant systematics presented at the annual meeting. This year's award was given to Randy Linder , University of Texas, for the talk entitled "The external transcribed spacer of the rDNA repeat: A new means of resolving low-level relationships in the Asteraceae and closely allied families." Co-authors were Leslie Goertzen, Javier Francisco-Ortega, and Robert Jansen.

The Henry Allan Gleason Award

This award is given annually by the New York Botanical Garden in recognition of an outstanding recent publication in the fields of plant taxonomy, plant ecology, or plant geography. The award committee is provided by the New York Botanical Garden. The award consists of a cash grant from a fund established by the late Dr. Gleason and an award certificate. This year the award was presented to Dr. Paul Kenrick of the Natural History Museum, London, and Dr. Peter R. Crane of the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, for their book "The Origin and Early Diversification of Land Plants: A Cladistic Study."

The Jessie M. Greenman Award

The Jessie M. Greenman Award is presented each year by the Alumni Association of the Missouri Botanical Garden. It recognizes the paper judged best in vascular plant or bryophyte systematics based on a doctoral dissertation published during the previous year. The recipient receives a certificate and a cash prize. This year's award went to Lawrence M. Kelly for his publication entitled "A cladistic analysis of Asarum (Aristolochiaceae) and implications for the evolution of herkogamy, "published in the American Journal of Botany, vol. 84: 1752-1756 (1997). This study is based on a Ph.D. dissertation from Cornell University under the direction of Dr. Melissa A. Luckow. Dr. Luckow was the recipient of the 1994 Greenman Award.

The Lawrence Memorial Award

The Lawrence Memorial Fund was established to commemorate the life and achievements of Dr. George H. M. Lawrence. Proceeds from the fund are presented by the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation of Carnegie-Mellon University and are used to support travel expenses of a doctoral candidate in systematic botany, horticulture, or the history of the plant sciences. The award this year went to Mr. J. Chris Pires, a student of Dr. Kenneth J. Sytsma at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Photo from the BSA Annual Meeting
At the BSA Banquet, from the left: Developmental and Structural Section Chair Ned Friedman, Webmaster Scott Russell, and President-Elect Doug Soltis.

Other News:

Professional Society Leaders Discuss Undergraduate Education

On July 9, 1998, David Kramer, BSA Education Committee Chair, met with leaders of 24 other professional societies in the life sciences to discuss their undergraduate education initiatives. The workshop, "Collaborations in Undergraduate Biology Education," was sponsored by the Coalition for Education in the Life Sciences (CELS). Participants exchanged information about undergraduate activities supported by their societies, discussed the types of programs that are well suited to sponsorship by individual societies or clusters of societies, and identified potential roles for CELS in coordinating activities sponsored by clusters of societies.

Workshop participants discussed the nature of teaching as a professional and scholarly pursuit and the place for peer-reviewed educational articles in societies, journals. They also discussed the CELS "Issues-Based Framework for Bio 101," a curricular framework for introductory biology courses. CELS invited the professional societies to enrich this framework by identifying concepts in their own disciplines that are critical to literacy. Dr. Kramer expressed his hopes that BSA will examine this framework and showcase hands-on activities that illustrate concepts in plant biology. "As faculties revise and improve introductory biology courses I hope we will give special consideration to the way those courses fit into our pre-service education programs," commented Dr. Kramer. "Our future teachers will foster lifelong attitudes and beliefs about science in their classrooms. It behooves all of us who teach introductory courses to equip our future teachers with respect and understanding for our natural world."

Education committee chairs from several professional societies recommended that CELS partner with them in coordinating workshops on undergraduate education for their annual meetings. These could focus on teaching as a scholarly pursuit, critical components of biological literacy, and exemplary curricular activities drawn from particular disciplines.

This CELS workshop built on a workshop cohosted by CELS and the American Society of Plant Physiologists (ASPP) on July 2, 1998. That workshop, "Toward Literacy in Plant Biology," launched a discussion among plant-based professional society representatives on ASPP's document, "Principles of Plant Biology - Concepts for Science Education." BSA was represented at that workshop by Robert Reinsvold, Ethel Stanley, and Marshall Sundberg. Dr. Reinsvold, past chair of BSA's Teaching Section, distributed copies of the BSA publication, Botany for the Next Millennium. He remarked that "Representatives from other professional societies were impressed with BSA's declaration that 'Teaching students about plant biology is as critical to the future of the field as is research and must take its proper place as an equally laudatory endeavor for botanists.' All of us were excited by the depth of undergraduate educational activities supported by professional societies in recent years, as illustrated by ASPP's document."

These workshops marked the debut of a CELS monograph, Professional Societies and the Faculty Scholar.- Promoting Scholarship and Learning in the Life Sciences. This 87-page report celebrates the contributions of dozens of professional societies to undergraduate biology education and recommends specific actions to enrich teaching and learning. The monograph can be viewed at the CELS website, The website also posts information for ordering bound monograph copies and posts the "Issues-Based Framework for Bio 101."

The Botanical Society of America is a supporting member of CELS, a coalition of professional societies committed to enhancing life science undergraduate education. For more information about CELS, contact Dr. Louise W. Liao, CELS Program Director, email:

Louise W. Liao, Ph.D.
Program Director
Coalition for Education in the Life Sciences

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