Botanical Society of America Awards 2015

We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2015 awards provided by the Botanical Society of America. Here we provide recognition for outstanding efforts and contributions to the science of botany. We thank you for your support of these programs.


  Given by SECTIONS:


  Given by SECTIONS:

Awards for STUDENTS:

  Given by SECTIONS:



Distinguished Fellow of the Botanical Society of America

The "Distinguished Fellow of the Botanical Society of America" is the highest honor our Society bestows. Each year, the award committee solicits nominations, evaluates candidates, and selects those to receive an award. Awardees are chosen based on their outstanding contributions to the mission of our scientific Society. The committee identifies recipients who have demonstrated excellence in basic research, education, public policy, or who have provided exceptional service to the professional botanical community, or who may have made contributions to a combination of these categories. Based on these stringent criteria, the 2014 Distinguished Fellows' of the Botanical Society of America are:

Margaret E. Collinson

Professor Margaret E. Collinson, Royal Holloway University of London, is an internationally known and respected plant paleobiologist. She has been elected as a Foreign Member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, and serves as a corresponding Member of the Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung (Germany) and Honorary Research Fellow of the Natural History Museum (London). Her work is broad and multidisciplinary, covering paleobotany, plant systematics, paleoecology, plant-animal interactions in the past, and plant biochemistry. Particularly noteworthy contributions include early Cenozoic vegetation history, the fossil record of ferns, and highlighting the importance of fire in paleoecoystems. Because of these diverse interests, in many ways Prof. Collinson is an ambassador of botany by continuously showing its relevance to other disciplines such as Earth sciences and paleontology, while also making novel contributions to traditional botanical sciences. In addition to her scholarly work, Prof. Collinson is a tireless and dedicated teacher, and a mentor and supporter of paleobotany. She has been recognized with undergraduate teaching awards, mentored numerous young scientists, and does not distinguish between those who are her own students and those who are not. The 13 PhD students she has graduated to date have all remained involved in science or education, several of them becoming accomplished scientists in their own right. Prof. Collinson served as the President of the International Organization of Paleobotany as well as taking on leadership roles in other organizations. To quote one letter, "Her creativity, incredible productivity and warm collegiality together conspire to make her an excellent example of those who would be recipients of this award."

Donald Levin

Professor Don Levin has been enormously productive and influential in diverse areas of research at the interface of population genetics, hybridization, breeding system biology, defense mechanisms, and polyploidy. He has an exceptional record of achievement in research that is recognized both nationally and internationally; this impressive record has stretched for half a century and continues today. Don is a world leader in research and one of the leading botanical figures of our time. Some of the most influencial papers and books in plant evolutionary biology over the past several decades were written by Don. There are few researchers possessing such diverse expertise who do so many things so well and have made such major contributions in so many areas of plant biology.

Jonathan F. Wendel

Jonathan Wendel is one of the world’s leading researchers studying the genetics and genomics of plant polyploidy, particularly in cotton and other species of the genus Gossypium, which has been the focus of much of his work. His nearly 250 papers span a staggeringly broad range of topics, not only on polyploidy but on phylogenetics, systematic theory, maize genetics, crop evolution, and taxonomy, to name only a few. His work has always been at the leading edge of his fields of interest, beginning with isozymes and moving seamlessly into the DNA era from its beginnings with restriction enzymes, through manual sequencing, and on into the current “next generation” high-throughput phase of comparative genomics. Jonathan has been noted throughout his career for sharing his technical and theoretical insights in incisive and lucid review papers. He is an excellent colleague and valued collaborator, generously giving of his time and boundless energy to further the work and careers of others, and serving as an organizer of important conferences and symposia. Jonathan is also an engaged mentor of graduate and undergraduate students and visiting scientists. He is a distinguished lecturer and educator, and someone who has contributed tremendous service to his institution, having served as chair of Iowa State University’s Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology since 2003. To quote from three of his supporting letters, Jonathan Wendel is “one of the very elite plant evolutionary biologists in the world”, whose work “has spanned decades and has resulted in a new synthesis of views on the genetic and genomic consequences of polyploidy”; “He is a leading light in plant genome evolution.”


Donald R. Kaplan Memorial Lecture
This year’s lecture was given by Dr. Juerg Schoenenberger, Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research, University of Vienna, Vienna
Who dares to call oneself a plant morphologist?"


The Grady L. Webster Structural Botany Publication Award
This award was established in 2006 by Dr. Barbara D. Webster, Grady’s wife, and Dr. Susan V. Webster, his daughter, to honor the life and work of Dr. Grady L. Webster. The American Society of Plant Taxonomists and the Botanical Society of America are pleased to join together in honoring Grady Webster.

Juliano Dutra Schmitz, Yann Guédon, Flavio Gilberto Herter, Gabriel Berenhauser Leite, and Pierre-Éric Lauri
Exploring bud dormancy completion with a combined architectural and phenological analysis: The case of apple trees in contrasting winter temperature conditions
American Journal of Botany, March 2014 101:398-407; published ahead of print 14 March 2014, doi:10.3732/ajb.1300335




BSA Emerging Leaders Award
Dr. Selena Y. Smith

Selena Smith has only recently become an Assistant Professor of Earth & Environmental Sciences (and Museum of Paleontology) at the University of Michigan. Nevertheless, she already has established an exemplary record of innovative scientific research, professional leadership, and student mentorship.  Selena initiated her program of paleobotanical research as a high school honor student, conducting, completing, and publishing her first scientific paper before entering the University of Alberta, where she completed an additional nine papers while completing her B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in 2002 and 2007, respectively. In 2005 she received the first NSERC Andr� Hamer Doctoral Postgraduate prize, awarded to the single most outstanding doctoral student in Canada. Selena already has published more than 30 refereed papers (since the year 2,000). The superior quality of Selena’s studies has been appreciated since her first presentations, earning her numerous awards including the Isabel Cookson Award (for best research student presentation in paleobotany at the annual Botanical Society of America meetings), and prestigious competitive pre-doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships in Canada and the United Kingdom. She has achieved continuous National Science Foundation funding through multiple awards from 2010 through at least 2018. Selena’s studies go well beyond the narrow systematic breadth, stratigraphic ranges, or preservational modes that characterize the work of less creative scientists, and she has been at the forefront of developing and employing new methods and technologies such as X-ray tomography, which uses synchrotron technology to develop non-invasive three-dimensional images of fossil plants that may still be imbedded in rock matrix.  Her work also spans a wide range of foci, including structure and development, reproductive biology, paleoecology and paleophytogeography, and systematics and evolution of ferns, gymnosperms, flowering plants, and fungi.

Selena routinely serves on university taskforces and professional society committees, reviews manuscripts, organizes conferences and symposia, performs editorial duties for scholarly publications, and has established a strong record of student mentoring. She currently is supervising one postdoctoral researcher, several graduate student researchers, several undergraduate student researchers, and a high school student. Including past student supervisions, Selena already has helped shape the development of nearly 30 young scientists. Most notable among her numerous outreach activities are initiatives that advocate for the promotion of women in science. Although Selena Smith is but a junior faculty member by age and by years of activity, she already has achieved the stature of a highly successful senior scholar with respect to scientific achievement, broadening of her discipline, contributions to professional societies, and the establishment of new generations of active scientists.


BSA Public Policy Award
The Public Policy Award was established in 2012 to support the development of of tomorrow's leaders and a better understanding of this critical area. The 2015 recipients are:
Andrew Pais, PhD student at North Carolina State University
Ingrid Jordon-Thaden, a postdoc at Bucknell University

Awards for STUDENTS:


The BSA Graduate Student Research Award including the J. S. Karling Award
The BSA Graduate Student Research Awards support graduate student research and are made on the basis of research proposals and letters of recommendations. Withing the award group is the Karling Graduate Student Research Award. This award was instituted by the Society in 1997 with funds derived through a generous gift from the estate of the eminent mycologist, John Sidney Karling (1897-1994), and supports and promotes graduate student research in the botanical sciences. The 2015 award recipients are:

J. S. Karling Graduate Student Research Award
Anne Lucy Stilger Virnig, New York Botanical Garden & The Graduate Center of the City University of New York - Advisor, Dr. Amy Litt, From molecular systems to human systems: An interdisciplinary approach to evaluating antioxidant activity and conservation in the neotropical blueberries

BSA Graduate Student Research Awards
Daniella Allevato, Cornell University - Advisor, Dr. Kevin C. Nixon, Modeling the evolution of phytochemical diversity in Pilocarpus via a combined phylogenetic and environmental analysis
Jennifer Blake, Rutgers University - Advisor, Dr. Lena Struwe, Temporal, spatial, and environmental dimensions of variable sex expression in striped maple, Acer pensylvanicum (Sapindaceae)
Katharine Cary, University of California, Santa Cruz - Advisor, Dr. Jarmila Pittermann, Small trees, big problems: leaf function under extreme edaphic stress in the pygmy forests of northern California
Chloe P. Drummond, University of Wisconsin-Madison - Advisor, Dr. Kenneth J. Sytsma, Great Lakes-Western North America Disjuncts: a study on the phylogeography, timing, and climate niche space of three representative lineages
Katherine Eisen, Cornell University - Advisor, Dr. M. A. Geber, Ecological and evolutionary consequences of pollinator sharing in flowering plant communities
Claire Ellwanger, Northwestern University & The Chicago Botanic Garden - Advisor, Dr. Jeremie Fant, Genetic assessment of management and restoration practices of the federally threatened orchid, Platanthera leucophaea (The Eastern Fringed Prairie Orchid)
Nicole J. Forrester, University of Pittsburgh - Advisor, Dr. Tia-Lynn Ashman, Do Doubled Genomes Double Species’ Ranges? Implications for Plant Invasions
Jacob M. Heiling, Dartmouth College - Advisor, Dr. Rebecca Irwin, Ecological significance of pollen secondary chemistry
Julie Herman, University of California, Santa Cruz - Advisor, Dr. Kathleen M. Kay, A Phylogenetic Approach to Plant Chemical Defense
Israel Jimenez Luna, California State University, Los Angeles - Advisor, Dr. Kirsten Fisher, Meiotic sex ratios in the Mojave Desert moss Syntrichia caninervis
Joshua Scott Lynn, University of New Mexico - Advisor, Dr. Jennifer Rudgers, King of the Hill? Potential for novel biotic interactions to limit plant elevational distributions
Nora Mitchell, University of Connecticut - Advisor, Dr. Kent Holsinger, Using natural hybrids to investigate trait-environment associations and stress response in an evolutionary radiation
Nabil Nasseri, University of Vermont - Advisor, Dr. Alison K. Brody, Ant-Hemipteran Mutualisms: Host Plant Antagonist or "Budding" Mutualist?
Juliet Oshiro, University of California, Santa Cruz - Advisor, Dr. Laurel Fox, Predicting flowering phenology responses to climate: integrating long-term data, plant traits and experiments
Amber Paasch, Richard Gilder Graduate School, American Museum of Natural History - Advisors, Drs. Eunsoo Kim and Susan Perkins, Characterization of a Unique Method of Bacteria Ingestion in Green Algae by Fluorescence and Electron Microscopy
Wilnelia Recart, University of California, Irvine - Advisor, Dr. Diane Campbell, Beyond the ecological: can presence of an invader affect floral selection in a native species?
Anthony Slominski, Montana State University - Advisor, Dr. Laura Burkle, The effects of climate-driven phenological shifts on plant-pollinator interactions and plant and pollinator reproductive success
Rebecca Stubbs, Florida Museum of Natural History and University of Florida - Advisors, Drs. Nico Cellinese and Doug Soltis, Understanding the Arctic flora: Using a model plant group to study evolution at high latitudes
Brittany L. Sutherland, University of Virginia - Advisor, Dr. Laura F. Galloway, Interploid Gene Flow at Independent Contact Zones in Campanula rotundifolia
Christine Urbanowicz, Dartmouth College - Advisor, Dr. Rebecca E. Irwin, The influence of neighboring plants on pollination and plant reproduction across a stress gradient


Vernon I. Cheadle Student Travel Awards (BSA in association with the Developmental and Structural Section)
This award was named in honor of the memory and work of Dr. Vernon I. Cheadle.
Jessica Chu, Humboldt State University - Advisor, Dr. Alexandru M.F. Tomescu - for the Botany 2015 presentation: "Reappraising the flora of the Battery Point Formation (Québec) – additional diversity of Early Devonian permineralized plants" Co-author: Alexandru M.F. Tomescu
Mario Coiro, ETH Zurich - Advisor, Dr. Elisabeth Truernit - for the Botany 2015 presentation: "Epidermal morphology and the diversification of the cycads" Co-authors: James E. Mickle and Maria Rosaria Barone Lumaga
Jacob Landis, University of Florida - Advisor, Dr. Pamela Soltis - for the Botany 2015 presentation: "Investigating the genetic underpinnings of corolla cell size and shape differences in Saltugilia (Polemoniaceae)" Co-authors: Rebecca O'Toole, Kayla Ventura, Douglas Soltis and Pamela Soltis
Aniket Sengupta, Kansas University - Advisor, Dr. Lena Hileman - for the Botany 2015 presentation: "Testing the role of bilateral flower symmetry genes in eudicot lineages with radial flowers" Co-author: Lena Hileman


Triarch "Botanical Images" Student Travel Awards
This award provides acknowledgement and travel support to BSA meetings for outstanding student work coupling digital images (botanical) with scientific explanations/descriptions designed for the general public.
Jennifer Dixon, Iowa State University - 1st Place, A Flower of a Different Color, $500 Botany 2015 Student Travel Award
Rebecca Povilus, Harvard University - 2nd Place, Bright Colors and Strong Scents, $300 Botany 2015 Student Travel Award
Alaina Petlewski, Humboldt State University - 3rd Place, The Largest Pollination Event on Earth, $200 Botany 2015 Student Travel Award


The BSA Undergraduate Student Research Awards
The BSA Undergraduate Student Research Awards support undergraduate student research and are made on the basis of research proposals and letters of recommendation. The 2015 award recipients are:
Alexander C. Bippus, Humboldt State University - Advisor, Dr. Alexandru M.F. Tomescu, Exploring phylogenetic relationships in the Polytrichaceae (Bryophyta) using fossils and morphology
Nicolas Diaz, Bucknell University - Advisor, Dr. Christopher T. Martine, Determining the invasive potential of cultivated Ilex opaca
Emma Frawley, Bucknell University - Advisors, Drs. Christopher T. Martine and Ingrid Jordon-Thaden, Solanum “bullita”: The Biological and Political Processes of Defining a New Species
Laryssa Gavala, Bucknell University - Advisor, Dr. Christopher T. Martine, Effect of Fire on Seed Germination in Solanum beaugleholei
Daniel Hayes, Bucknell University - Advisors, Drs. Christopher T. Martine and Ingrid Jordon-Thaden, Flow Cytometric Seed Screen of the Apomictic Alpine Mustard, Draba oligosperma Hook, from the North American Cordillera
Jens Johnson, University of Washington - Advisor, Dr. Verónica S. Di Stilio, Mechanisms of Polyploidy and their Effect on Flower Diversification
L. Mae Lacey, Bucknell University - Advisors, Drs. Christopher T. Martine and Elizabeth Capaldi, Exploring the potential for Solanum fruit ingestion and seed dispersal by macropod species in the Northern Territory, Australia
Sean Peña, Florida International University - Advisor, Dr. Suzanne Koptur, Diurnal and nocturnal pollination of the rough-leaf velvetseed, Guettarda scabra (Rubiaceae)
Amanda M. Salvi, University of Michigan—Ann Arbor - Advisors, Dr. Selena Y. Smith, Effect of canopy shading on morphology, physiology, and self-shading in spiral gingers (Costus)


The BSA Young Botanist Awards
The purpose of these awards is to offer individual recognition to outstanding graduating seniors in the plant sciences and to encourage their participation in the Botanical Society of America. The 2015 "Certificate of Special Achievement" award recipients are:
Kristine Altrichter, Creighton University, Advisor: Dr. Mackenzie Taylor
Ally Boni, Bucknell University, Advisor: Dr. Chris Martine
Christine Carson, University of Missouri, Advisor: Dr. Candace Galen
Michael Coe, University of Hawaii, Advisor: Dr. Tom A. Ranker
Monica Dittbern, University of Hawaii, Advisor: Dr. Tom A. Ranker
Dan Evanich, Connecticut College, Advisor: Dr. Chad Jones
E. Geretz, Rutgers University, Advisor: Dr. Myla Aronson
Ian Gilman, Bucknell University, Advisor: Dr. Chris Martine
Margarita Hernandez, University of Florida, Advisor: Dr. Pamela S. Soltis
Ben Kerb, Emporia State University, Advisor: Dr. Marsh Sundberg
Jessica Kettenbach, University of Missouri, Advisor: Dr. Candace Galen
Kolby Lundgren, Humboldt State University, Advisor: Dr. Alexandru M. Tomescu
L. Ruth Rivkin, University of Guelph, Advisor: Dr. Christina Caruso
Morgan Roche, Bucknell University, Advisor: Dr. Chris Martine
Katie Ann Smith, University of Hawaii, Advisor: Dr. Tom A. Ranker
Tory Stewart, Connecticut College, Advisor: Dr. Chad Jones
Christa Unger, Humboldt State University, Advisor: Dr. Alexandru M. Tomescu
Steven Unger, Florida International University, Advisor: Dr. Bradley Bennett


The BSA PLANTS Grant Recipients
The PLANTS (Preparing Leaders and Nurturing Tomorrow’s Scientists: Increasing the diversity of plant scientists) program recognizes outstanding undergraduates from diverse backgrounds and provides travel grants and mentoring for these students.
Alicia Butko, Widener University, Advisor: Dr. Kate Goodrich
Emma Fryer, Humboldt State University, Advisors: Drs. Michael Mesler and Alexandru Tomescu
Patrick Gallagher, The College of New Jersey, Advisor: Dr. Wendy Clement
Jose Miguel Hernandez Ochoa, University of Wisconsin, Advisor: Dr. Juan Zalapa
Angelina Viviana Martinez, University of Florida, Advisors: Drs. Christine Davis and Pamela Soltis
Jesus Medina, California State University - Los Angeles, Advisor: Dr. Craig Barrett
Madeline Metten, University of Northern Colorado, Advisor: Dr. Mitchel McGlaughlin
Andre Naranjo, University of Miami, Advisor: Dr. Barbara Whitlock
Chelsea Pretz, Harris-Stowe State University, Advisors: Drs. John MacDougal and Allison Miller
Mercedes Santiago, Kansas State University, Advisor: Dr. Carolyn Ferguson
Maryan Sedaghatpour, George Mason University, Advisors: Drs. Jorid van der Ham and Andrea Weeks
Gary Sur, University of Hawaii - Hilo, Advisor: Dr. Elizabeth Stacy
Imena Valdes, Florida International University, Advisor: Dr. Suzanne Koptur
Joshua Wiese, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Advisor: Dr. Bryan Drew


Genetics Section Student Research Awards
Genetics Section Student Research Awards provide $500 for research funding and an additional $500 for attendance at a future BSA meeting.
Carlos I. Arbizu-Berrocal, University of Wisconsin-Madison - Graduate Student Award - Advisors: Drs. David Spooner and Philipp Simon, for the proposal titled "Molecular and morphological studies of wild and cultivated carrot from Turkey, the genus Daucus"
Beck Powers, University of Vermont - Masters Student Award - Advisor: Dr. Jill Preston, for the proposal titled "Genetic building blocks in the evolution of sympetaly: a candidate gene approach"


Developmental & Structural Section Student Travel Awards
Riva Bruen, University of California at Berkeley - Advisor, Chelsea Specht - for the Botany 2015 presentation: "The Fearful Symmetry of Flowers: investigating the role of TCP and MYB transcription factors in establishing dorsal/ventral asymmetry in the Zingiberales, an order of tropical gingers" Co-authors: Ana Almeida and Chelsea Specht
Kelsey Galimba, University of Washington - Advisor, Veronica Di Stilio - for the Botany 2015 presentation: "Duplication and Divergence of the Floral Organ Identity Genes" Co-authors:Jesús Martínez-Gomez and Veronica Di Stilio


Ecology Section Student Travel Awards
Laura Bogar, Stanford University - Advisor, Dr. Kabir G. Peay - for the Botany 2015 presentation: "What stabilizes the ectomycorrhizal mutualism? An experimental test of partner choice by Pinus muricata in association with Suillus brevipes." Co-author: Kabir G. Peay
Eric Limbird, Middle Tennessee State University - Advisor, Dr. Jeffrey Walck - for the Botany 2015 presentation: "Freeze-thaw effects on seed viability, seed germination and seedling survivorship vary among exotic and native woody plants" Co-authors: JL Walck, NC Phillips and Siti Hidayati


Economic Botany Section Student Travel Awards
Elliot Gardner, Northwestern University / Chicago Botanic Garden - Advisor, Nyree Zerega - for the Botany 2015 presentation: "Basic research with practical applications: Phylogenomics and pollination biology in a genus of underutilized tree crops (Artocarpus, Moraceae)" Co-author: Nyree Zerega
Colin Khoury, Wageningen University - Advisor, Paul Struik - for the Botany 2015 presentation: "Increasing homogeneity in global food supplies, agricultural research funding, and recommendations for diversifying food systems"


Genetics Section Student Travel Awards
Hanna Dorman, Mississippi State University - Advisor, Dr. Lisa Wallace - for the Botany 2015 presentation: "Genetic Structure of Rhizobia Associated with Chamaecrista fasciculata" Co-author: Lisa Wallace
Jacob Landis, University of Florida - Advisor, Dr. Pamela Soltis - for the Botany 2015 presentation: "Investigating the genetic underpinnings of corolla cell size and shape differences in Saltugilia (Polemoniaceae)" Co-author: Rebecca O'Toole, Kayla Ventura, Douglas Soltis and Pamela Soltis
Brandon Sinn, Ohio State University - Advisor, Dr. John V. Freudenstein - for the Botany 2015 presentation: "Structural and Syntenic Variability in Asaraceae Plastomes: A phylogenetic perspective" Co-authors: Dylan Sedmak, Kelly Lawrence and John Freudenstein


  Society Awards


  Student Travel Awards

» Developmental & Structural Section
» Ecological Section
» Economic Botany Section
» Genetics Section
» Pteridological Section

  Named Awards

» Charles Edwin Bessey Teaching Award
» Vernon I. Cheadle Student Travel Awards
» Michael Cichan Award
» Triarch "Botanical Images" Student Travel Award
» Isabel Cookson Award
» The Darbaker Prize
» Katherine Esau Award
» J. S. Karling Graduate Student Research Award
» Margaret Menzel Award
» Maynard Moseley Award
» Jeanette Siron Pelton Award
» Winfried and Renate Remy Award
» A. J. Sharp Award
» Grady L. Webster Structural Botany Publication Award
» Edgar T. Wherry Award

  Sectional Awards

» Ecological Section Student Presentation
       & Poster Awards
» Genetics Section Graduate Student Research Awards
» Genetics Section Student Poster Award
» Historical Section Student Presentation Award
» Physiological Section Li-COR Prize
» Physiological Section Student Presentation Award

  Special Funds

» James M. and Esther N. Schopf Fund

  Special Announcements

» Why should you join the Society as a student?
» Renew Membership / Join BSA
» Employment/Research Opportunities

Grady L. Webster Award Vernon I Cheadle STA Conant Botanical Images STA BSA Image Collection Charles E Bessey Award