Plant Science Bulletin archive

Issue: 2017 v63 No 3 FallActions

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International Botanical 

Congress a success...p. 137

Executive Director  

Bill Dahl retires...p. 145

Meet BSA’s new student rep, 

Chelsea Pretz...p. 174


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                                                          FALL 2017 Volume 63 Number 3


Editorial Committee  

Volume 63

From the Editor

Kathryn LeCroy 




Environmental Sciences 

University of Virginia 

Charlottesville, VA  22904

Daniel K. Gladish




Department of Biology &  

The Conservatory 

Miami University  

Hamilton, OH  45011 



Melanie Link-Perez  



Department of Botany  

& Plant Pathology 

Oregon State University 

Corvallis, OR 97331 


Shannon Fehlberg 



Research and Conservation 

Desert Botanical Garden 

Phoenix, AZ 85008

David Tank 


Department of Biological 


University of Idaho 

Moscow, ID 83844

In this issue of PSB, we bring you news of sig-

nificant change underway for the BSA. At the 

end of September, long-time Executive Direc-

tor Bill Dahl retired. In this issue, Bill reflects 

on his experiences with the Society and shares 

his perspective on the future of the BSA. I want 

to thank Bill, on behalf of PSB, for his dedica-

tion to, and direction of, the Society and for 

sharing his parting thoughts with us. Heather 

Cacanindin has stepped in as Interim Executive 

A change is also occurring in publications. 

Beginning with the January 2018 issues, the 

American Journal of Botany and  Applications 

in Plant Sciences will be published as part of 

the Wiley family of publications. You can read 

more about what this means for those journals 

on page 148. Plant Science Bulletin will contin-

ue to be published in-house by the BSA and, 

thankfully, we will still have access to the fan-

tastic production staff that puts together each 

issueHowever, we will no longer use Editorial 

Manager to handle submitted articles. Instead, 

please send your submissions, including a cov-

er letter, manuscript word document, and any 

image or supplementary files, directly to the 

editor at Articles will still un-

dergo anonymous peer review and a revision 

process; we will simply handle them in a more 

personal manner through e-mail correspon-

dence. As always, PSB welcomes unsolicited 

submissions from BSA members and hope that 

you will consider contributing to Plant Science 


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Be an Effective Advocate for Plants: Lessons from the Botany Bill (H.R. 1054) and What 

You Can Do! ................................................................................................................................................................122

How to Be an Effective Conference Session Moderator ..................................................................124

Botanical Society of America’s Award Winners (Part 2) ...................................................................128

In your own words....Comments from the post conference survey! ............................................132

A chat about publishing: Scholarly Collaboration Networks ...........................................................135

Recap of the 2017 International Botanical Congress .......................................................................137

What Does the Botanical Society of America Do for You and  

What Do You Do for the Society? ..................................................................................................................142

Latest News on the PLANTS Grant Program ..........................................................................................143

An “Exit Interview” with Retiring BSA Executive Director, Bill Dahl .............................................145

BSA Enters Publishing Partnership with John Wiley and Sons ......................................................148


Plant Evolution in a Human-Altered World .................................................................................................149

Cutting the Cord: Tips for Computer-Free Presentation Skills .....................................................158


Scientists Respond to Call: PlantingScience Mentor Pool Increases to Meet Need .......166

Teachers and Early Career Scientists Participate in PlantingScience Digging Deeper 

Professional Development in Colorado Springs ....................................................................................167

Upcoming Science Education Conferences ............................................................................................167

PseudoScience Fair at the University of Central Arkansas is an Opportunity to Engage 

Students’ Critical Thinking and Communication Skills ......................................................................168


A Reflection on the Current State and Future Direction of Student  

Membership of the BSA .......................................................................................................................................171

Quick Notes on the BOTANY 2017 Conference ...................................................................................173

Getting to Know your New Student Representative: Chelsea Pretz ..........................................174


Harvard University Bullard Fellowships in Forest Research  ..........................................................176

Tenure-Track Positions Open at Iowa State University ....................................................................176


Bryology .........................................................................................................................................................................177

Development and structure ................................................................................................................................179

Ecology ..........................................................................................................................................................................180

Economic botany .....................................................................................................................................................182


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H.R. 1054 – Botanical Sciences and Native 

Plant Materials Research, Restoration, and 

Promotion Act, affectionately referred to as the 

“Botany Bill,” was introduced in the U.S. House 

of Representatives on February 14, 2017 by 

Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) and co-sponsored 

by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL).
The Botany Bill has four main goals:
1. Promote critical plant materials and resto-

ration-related research.
2. Enhance demand for botanical scientists 

through the authorization of federal agencies 

to hire more botanical staff and to create a stu-

dent loan forgiveness program for botanists in 

federal agencies.

3. Drive demand for native plant materials 

by establishing a preference for the use of lo-

cally adapted native plant materials in feder-

al land management activities, maintenance, 

and restoration. An amendment to the Sur-

face Transportation Act and Federal Building 

Code would create a preference for the use na-

tive plant materials, to the extent practicable.
4. Support rare, endangered, and native plants 

via federal programs through the authoriza-

tion of the Plant Conservation Alliance Inter-

agency Plant Materials Efforts and implemen-

tation of the Seed Strategy, and the Bureau of 

Land Management’s Native Plant Materials 

Development Program. Additional amend-

ments to the National Fish and Wildlife Foun-

dation and the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 

would authorize grants to the states to protect 

rare and endangered plant species.

Benefits to the Botanical 

Community at Large

The development of the Botany Bill helped 

hone and answer the questions: what are the 

key issues in supporting plant conservation in 

the U.S. and what do we need to do to address 

them? The Botany Bill provides a tool for di-

Be an Effective Advocate for 

Plants: Lessons from the  

Botany Bill (H.R. 1054) and  

What You Can Do!

By Krissa SkogenNorthwestern University, 

and Kal Tuominen, John Carroll University

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PSB 63 (3) 2017 










verse stakeholders (botanic gardens, universi-

ties, garden clubs, native plant societies, and 

nurseries) to speak with one voice and pro-

vides an entry point for discussions with elect-

ed officials, agency heads, and appropriators.

The Most Impactful Things 

You Can Do

1. Meet with your Representative locally (dis-

trict office) during congressional recesses. In-

vite them to visit your lab/institution when 

he or she is in the District.
2. Focus your message. Let your Represen-

tatives know what you do and why it is im-

3.  Focus on one broad topic (e.g., supporting 

the Botany Bill; federal funding for research). 

Explain the issues affecting constituents, and 

how your “ask” (e.g., supporting the Botany 

Bill) will benefit them. Avoid details, focus 

on the big picture, and use accessible lan-

guage (avoid jargon). Use your time wisely—

you’ll usually have just 5 to 10 minutes of your 

Representative’s time.

4. Persistent contact is key. Follow up with a 

thank you and additional information.
Whether emailing, speaking with a legislative 

aid, or attending a town hall meeting, main-

tain your relationships with your elected of-

5. Policy making takes time—stay involved!  

Some legislators are interested in supporting 

a particular bill but want to see support from 

legislators from a different political party be-

fore they will commit to bill sponsorship or 

a “yes” vote.  This is where connecting with 

botanists, friends, and family living in other 

districts and states on key issues can become 


How To Get Involved

To date, the bill has a total of 19 co-sponsors 

from ten states.  Additional bi-partisan sup-

port is needed in the House of Representa-

tives. Ask your Representative to co-sponsor 

the Bill!
Track the status of the Bill here and sign 

up for alerts:

bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1054 .

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PSB 63 (3) 2017 










This paper grew out of a conversation by the 

authors following the Botany 2015 meeting. 

Observing that there were several examples of 

excellent moderators as well as a few cases in 

which further improvement would be helpful, 

the authors developed these suggestions based 

on their own experiences.
If you are a new researcher embarking on 

your career, one of the best and quickest ways 

for you to develop your professional network 

is to act as a session moderator at a conference 

in your field. Not only does this associate your 

name with a topic or area, but you will also 

have the opportunity to connect with your 

peers and to meet top senior researchers in 

your field. However, this is also a very public 

role that you may feel hesitant at first to em-

brace. Here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Thinking About Moderating? One of the 

key traits of effective session moderators is 

that they are there to facilitate the session, not 

to dominate it. As a moderator, you have mul-

tiple responsibilities: director, timekeeper, and 

enforcer. Ultimately, your job is to make sure 

the expectations are clear and participants are 

held accountable. Some of the top experts in 

a field can be some of the worst session mod-

erators, whereas junior academics (graduate 

students, post-docs, or assistant professors) 

can be the most effective moderators. So feel 

free to give it a try and don’t be intimidated by 

2.  Set the Stage for Success. To make sure 

that your session flows well throughout its as-

signed time, it is important to make adequate 

preparations beforehand:

•  If you will be co-moderating the session 

with a second person, make sure that you 

discuss beforehand how to divide up the 

responsibilities. Most often one moder-

ator will cover the first half of a session 

(if there is a break in the middle) and the 

second moderator will cover the second 

portion. If at all possible, it is a good idea 

to make sure that a moderator is not re-

sponsible for the part of the session in 

which he or she will be presenting (it can 

be very difficult to be one’s own time-


By Theresa M. Culley


, Professor, Depart-

ment of Biological Sciences, University of 

Cincinnati, and Kathryn E. Theiss, Assis-

tant Professor, Department of Biology,  

California State University Dominguez Hills

How to Be an Effective  

Conference Session Moderator




Manuscript received 9 May 2017; revision 

accepted 21 June 2017.


Corresponding e-mail:

doi: 10.3732/psb.1700002

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PSB 63 (3) 2017 










•  Confirm beforehand whether you will 

have an AV assistant to load each talk or 

whether that will be your responsibility.

•  Make sure all presentation files are avail-

able beforehand on the computer with 

easily recognizable names and placed in 


•  Have a way to keep track of time, wheth-

er a separate timer or a stopwatch on 

your phone. The phone option can also 

be effective if it includes an audible alarm 

(but see below).

•  Just as you would practice your own pre-

sentation for a conference, it is also im-

portant to practice all titles and names of 

presenters (assuming such information is 

available beforehand). On the day of the 

session, show up early to greet presenters 

and make sure that your pronunciation 

of their names and presentation titles is 

correct (ask if in doubt; they will thank 

you for it later).

3. Let the Force Be With You. As the modera-

tor, your job is to make sure that the session is 

successful; this means that not only do all talks 

remain on schedule, but ideally your actions 

create an environment where researchers can 

form valuable contacts that may lead to future 

advances in their field. To make sure that the 

session stays on track, try the following:

•  Begin on time. This is essential to demon-

strate that you hold yourself accountable 

to the same expectations you have of the 


•  At the beginning of the session, welcome 

attendees and participants. Be sure to 

mention the session name in case some-

one is in the wrong room. Finally, intro-

duce yourself as the moderator of the ses-

sion, providing your name and affiliation.

•  Outline the ground rules at the very be-

ginning of the session. Explain when you 

will indicate how much time has passed 

(usually 12-14 minutes for a 15-minute 

time slot), and how you will indicate this 

(standing up, raising a hand, etc.). Most 

presenters greatly appreciate getting 

some indication of how much time they 

have left in their allotted time period.

•  Ask presenters politely to please respect 

their time intervals so all talks can remain 

on track, but also clearly indicate the con-

sequences for talking too long—injecting 

a little humor is often very effective (de-

pending on your own personal style). For 

example, some moderators use an audi-

ble alarm that can be heard at the end of 

the presenter’s time; this makes it quite 

obvious to everyone in the room that the 

time period has been reached. However, 

make sure that the alarm is not too dis-

tracting. Other moderators slowly walk 

forward at the end of the time interval 

(and who wants someone slowly walk-

ing toward them as they try to finish up 

their presentation?). This is usually quite 

effective in persuading authors to stick to 

their allotted time. And better yet, follow 

up. The crowd may laugh the first time 

the moderator starts to walk toward a 

presenter, but you can bet that all other 

presenters will be keeping track of their 


•  At the beginning of each talk, introduce 

the presenter, making sure to state the ti-

tle clearly. If it has changed from what is 

printed, be sure to read it from the title 

slide. Some moderators prefer to instead 

mention some interesting facts about the 

presenter (his or her institution, status as 

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PSB 63 (3) 2017 










a graduate or undergraduate student, and 

the name of his or her research advisor).

•  If the session will be stopping for a cof-

fee break, be sure to announce the time 

when the session will resume (and stick 

to it!). When the session begins again af-

ter the break, welcome all the attendees 

once again, announcing the name of the 

session, in case some attendees may be in 

the incorrect room. Immediately intro-

duce the next speaker and off you go!

4. Houston, We Have a Problem. As a ju-

nior researcher, you may have avoided serv-

ing as a moderator up to this point because 

of a deep-seated fear of having your session 

spiral out of your control. What if a partic-

ularly long-winded speaker goes on relent-

lessly or a series of presenters run past their 

allotted time, and the session falls hopeless-

ly out of sync with all other sessions? Worse 

yet, what if that overly verbose, superfluous 

speaker is none other than the top researcher 

in your field, perhaps someone who may re-

view your next paper or grant proposal? What 

if the computer malfunctions, the fire alarm 

goes off, or someone has a medical emergen-

cy? How do you recover and get things back 

on track?

•  Although these problems are exceeding-

ly rare, it may be helpful to think about 

some solutions, if at least to relieve any 

undue anxiety. In other sessions you have 

attended, how have any of these issues 

been handled? What worked? What did 

not? Learn from other moderators’ suc-

cesses and mistakes and incorporate that 

into your own personal style.

•  For the overly verbose presenter, make 

sure to follow through on the rules that 

you have outlined at the beginning of 

the session and enforce the time signals. 

If speakers are going over their allotted 

time and have ignored all signals, it will 

be necessary to interrupt them to ask if 

they are nearly done. This can feel awk-

ward but it will be much appreciated by 

the audience. In the worst-case scenario, 

you can turn flash off the lights (if they 

are still on or dimmed) as a major hint—

but use this only as a last resort!

•  If one speaker talks too long, remember 

that all subsequent presenters should 

still receive their full-allotted time. To get 

back to the normal session schedule, you 

should ask that the audience hold their 

questions for the break.

5. What NOT to Do. Never, ever, move talks 

from their allotted time period, even in the 

very rare occasion a previous talk has been 

canceled. This is critical as attendees may be 

moving between sessions and are relying on 

the talk being given at its published time pe-

riod. If there is a cancellation that is known 

ahead of time, be sure to mention it at the 

beginning of the session and at any session 

breaks. Your attendees will be grateful for the 

6. To Infinity and Beyond. Just as you have 

spent time carefully introducing the session 

and setting it up for success, you also need to 

bring it to its final conclusion. There is noth-

ing more disheartening after a series of excit-

ing talks than awkward silence or just a casual 

“Thanks for coming.”

•  Move to the front of the room and signal 

the end of the session, such as, “And that 

concludes the session on [topic here].” 

Thank all participants (especially if they 

all stayed on time!) as well as your audi-

ence for their attention. This is especially 

important for those sessions that occur at 

the end of the day or on the last day of 

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PSB 63 (3) 2017 










the conference when attendance is usu-

ally light.

•  If appropriate, you can also suggest that 

any interested attendees gather after-

wards to exchange information or join 

one another for an impromptu meal.

Overall, the most helpful way to learn how to 

effectively moderate a scientific conference 

session is to watch how others perform the 

task. You will need to figure out which tactics 

are most effective and which you would feel 

comfortable implementing. What have you 

seen that works? What would you do differ-

ently? In addition to being a much-appreci-

ated service to your society or organization, 

moderating a session is an ideal opportunity 

to expand your network, meet new research-

ers, and ultimately benefit your own research 

program. Both of these authors have benefited 

immensely from the experience. Give it a try 

and you may just realize how exciting it can 


[The authors thank several mentors who 

first encouraged them to gather the courage 

to become session moderators: A.K. Sakai, 

S.G. Weller, A.A. Snow, S. Kephart, and K. 

Holsinger. They also deeply appreciate past 

moderators who have served at meetings 

hosted by the Botanical Society of America 

over the past 20 years.] 




60 years ago: In an editorial, Harry J. Fuller recognizes the advantages of organization and support for science 

on a national level, but warns against allowing bureaucracy to dictate the focus of science:  

“Thus, in his conviction that science must be kept as free as possible from the intrusions of bureaucracy into its 

domain and administration, the Editor has written this editorial to:

 1. Remind members of the Botanical Society of America (and other scientists who may read this) that 

increased complexity of organization and increased centralization of policy-making efforts lead of-

ten to increased worship of conformity and to the birth of powerful and unwieldy bureaucracies. 
 -Fuller, Harry J. “Editorial PSB” 3(3)   

50 years ago

: In response to the timeless goal of attracting people to careers in botany, Robert M. Page an-

nounces the availability of the pamphlet “Botany as a Profession.” 

“The selection of a mate and the selection of a career are the most important choices most people are called 

upon to make. The selection of a mate is a problem that is shared by other animals, but choosing a career is a 

task that is exclusively human. The desire to influence this choice also appears to be deeply ingrained in our 

species. There are doubtless many reasons for this deep-seated desire of elder humans to have the young follow 

in their footsteps. Some elders would claim that their important work must be continued or that essential skills 

and traditions must be preserved. A cynic might be more inclined to suggest that by inducing a young person 

to follow his occupation, the elder builds his ego or hopes to achieve a sort of vicarious immortality. Perhaps 

from similar motives, professional societies and other groups desire to perpetuate themselves; hence, they at-

tempt to influence the choice of a career by the young, and for this purpose they employ such devices as career 

pamphlets. . .

“As the supply [of Careers in Botany] neared exhaustion, the question of a new edition was referred to the Committee 

on Education, which undertook the preparation of a revised careers booklet as one of its projects.”


-Page, Robert M. “Thoughts on Botany as a Profession” PSB 13(4)

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Botanical Society of America’s 

Award Winners (Part 2)

In the previous issue of the Plant Science Bulletin (63 [2]), we listed the award winners from  

Botany 2017 just as the conference was underway. Here are the remaining award winners.

Donald R. Kaplan Memorial Lecture

This year’s lecture was given by Dr. Dan Chitwood, Independent Researcher, on 

Persistent homology and organismal theory: quantifying the branching topologies of plants.

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 So-

ciety of Plant Taxonomists and BSA are pleased to join together in honoring Grady Webster.
Naoko Takahashi, Chieko Kami, Isao Ota, Nana Morita, and Ryoko Imaichi, for their ar-

ticle: Developmental morphology of the typical cordate gametophyte of a homosporous leptospo-

rangiate fern, Lygodium japonicum (Lygodiaceae), focusing on the initial cell behavior of two 

distinct meristems. American Journal of Botany  2015. 102 (2): 197-207, 2015.

Jeanette Siron Pelton Award

The Jeanette Siron Pelton Award is given for sustained and imaginative productivity in the field 

of experimental plant morphology. The award goes to Dr. Shirley Tucker, University of Cali-

fornia, Davis.

Margaret Menzel Award (Genetics Section)

The Margaret Menzel Award is presented by the Genetics Section for the outstanding paper 

presented in the contributed papers sessions of the annual meetings.

This year’s award goes to Juan Diego Palacio-Mejia, University of Texas at Austin for the paper 

Population genomics in the native grass Panicum hallii” Co-authors: Taslima Haque, Edgardo 

M. Ortiz and Thomas E. Juenger.

Samuel Noel Postlethwait Award

The Samuel Noel Postlethwait Award is given for outstanding service to the BSA Teaching Sec-

tion. This award goes to Phil Gibson, University of Oklahoma, for his long-term service to the 

Teaching Section.

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Edgar T. Wherry Award  

(Pteridological Section and the American Fern Society)

The Edgar T. Wherry Award is given for the best paper presented during the contributed 

papers session of the Pteridological Section. This award is in honor of Dr. Wherry’s many 

contributions to the floristics and patterns of evolution in ferns.

This year’s awards go to:  

Dr. Lisa Hooper, Truman State University, for her paper “The current status of Aleuritopteris 

(Pteridaceae) based on recent molecular analyse” Co-authors: George Yatskievych, Layne Hui-

et, Kathleen Pryer and Michael D. Windham

Dr. Alejandra Vasco, Duke University, for her paper “Leaf evolution and development: build-

ing better models from fern leaf diversity” Co-author: Barbara A. Ambrose

Genetics Section Student Research Awards

Genetics Section Student Research Awards provide $500 for research funding and an addition-

al $500 for attendance at a future BSA meeting.


Colby Witherup, Northwestern University and the Chicago Botanic Garden, Advisor: Dr. 

Norman Wickett, for the proposal “Investigating the evolutionary history of meiosis genes in 

genera with diploid and polyploid clades

Isabel Cookson Award  

(Paleobotanical Section)

Established in 1976, the Isabel Cookson Award recognizes the best student paper presented in 

the Paleobotanical Section.

Michael Donovan, Pennsylvania State University, for the paper “Insect herbivore communities 

tracked the conifer Agathis (Araucariaceae) from Paleogene Patagonia to modern Australasia and 

Southeast Asia” Co-authors: Conrad C. Labandeira, Peter Wilf, Ari Iglesias, and Rubin Cunio

Katherine Esau Award  

(Developmental and Structural Section)

This award was established in 1985 with a gift from Dr. Esau and is augmented by ongoing 

contributions from Section members. It is given to the graduate student who presents the out-

standing paper in developmental and structural botany at the annual meeting.

This year’s award goes to Monica Carvalho, Cornell University, for the paper “Leaf hydraulic 

architecture of Populus and Ginkgo” Co-author: Karl Niklas

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Physiological Section Li-Cor Prize

Tayler J. Kriss, Fort Hays State University (Advisor, Dr. Brian Maricle), for the poster “Photo-

synthetic action spectra of etiolated beans during greening” Co-author: Brian Maricle

Maynard Moseley Award  

(Developmental & Structural and Paleobotanical Sections)

The Maynard F. Moseley Award was established in 1995 to honor a career of dedicated teaching, 

scholarship, and service to the furtherance of the botanical sciences. Dr. Moseley was known to 

his students as “Dr. Mo,” died Jan. 16, 2003 in Santa Barbara, CA, where he had been a professor 

since 1949. He was widely recognized for his enthusiasm for and dedication to teaching and 

his students, as well as for his research using floral and wood anatomy to understand the sys-

tematics and evolution of angiosperm taxa, especially waterlilies. The award is given to the best 

student paper, presented in either the Paleobotanical or Developmental and Structural sessions, 

that advances our understanding of plant structure in an evolutionary context.


Maya Bickner, Humboldt State University, for the paper “New fossils from the Battery Point 

Formation of Gaspé (Quebec, Canada) expand the anatomical diversity of Early Devonian eu-

phyllophytes” Co-authors: Selin Toledo and Alexandru Tomescu

Ecology Section Student Presentation Awards

Nicholas Flanders (Graduate Student), Old Dominion University, for the paper “The Role of 

Generalist Avian Frugivores in Determining the Distribution of the Mistletoe Phoradendron leu-

carpum” Co-authors: Eric Walters, Christopher P. Randle and, Lytton Musselman

Michelle Gaynor (Undergraduate Student), University of Central Florida, for the paper “The 

Influence of Genome Duplication on Brassicaceae and Rosaceae Communities Across the United 

States” Co-authors: Julienne Ng and Robert Laport

Ecology Section Undergraduate Student Poster Awards

Melissa Vergara, University of California at Santa Cruz, for the poster “Do herbivores prefer 

flower buds over leaves? Evaluating caterpillar preferences in evening primroses (Onagraceae)” 

Co-authors: Krissa Skogen, Tania Jogesh, and Kathleen Kay

Nic Diaz, Bucknell University, for the poster “Examining niche divergence of cryptic species 

within the Hawaiian Coprosma foliosa Complex (Rubiaceae)” Co-authors: Jason Cantley and 

Christopher Martine

Genetics Section Student Presentation Award

Jason Paul Joines, Clemson University, for the poster “Local adaptation to the environment 

drives genetic variation among populations of an herbaceous plant” Co-authors: Saara J. DeWalt 

and Joan L. Walker

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Tropical Biology Section Student Presentation Award

Manuel A Lujan, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, for the paper “Playing the taxonomic 

cupid: Matching incomplete species of Clusia (Clusiaceae)

Carlos Jose Pasiche Lisboa, University of Manitoba, for the paper “Elevation and historical 

events shape moss community traits and functional diversity in Puerto Rico” Co-authors: Cath-

erine M. Hulshof and Ines Sastre-De Jesus

Physiological Section Student Presentation Awards

Jennifer Blake, Rutgers University, for the paper “Sugars, stress, and sex-change: environmental 

sex determination in striped maple” Co-author: Lena Struwe

Physiological Section Student Poster Awards

Scott M. Warner, Michigan State University, for the paper “A comparison of dendroclimatic 

relationships in three co-occurring forest species in the context of climate change” Co-authors: 

Andrew M. Jarosz and Frank W. Telewski

Developmental & Structural Section Student Travel Awards

Ya Min, Harvard University

Aniket Sengupta, Kansas University

Ecology Section Student Travel Awards

Matthew Haynsen, George Washington University (Advisor, Dr. Keith Crandall) for the Bot-

any 2017 presentation “Population Genetic Analysis of Invasive Kudzu (Pueraria montana var. 

lobata) throughout Asia and the United States” Co-authors: Mohammad Vatanparast, Liu Lux-

ian, Fu Cheng-Xin, Keith A. Crandall and Ashley N. Egan

Sarah Augusta Maccracken, Smithsonian Inst. National Museum of Natural History (Advisor, 

Dr. Conrad Labandeira) for the Botany 2017 presentation “Insect Herbivory of the Kaiparowits 

Formation Flora, Late Cretacous (Campanian) of Utah” Co-authors: Ian M. Miller, Charles Mit-

ter and Conrad C. Labandeira

Carlos J. Pasiche-Lisboa, University of Manitoba (Advisors, Drs. Michele D. Piercey-Normore 

and Rene Belland) for the Botany 2017 presentation “Survival of fragments from three boreal 

mosses to extreme temperatures” Co-authors: Rene Belland and Michele D. Piercey-Normore

Genetics Section Student Travel Awards

Matthew Haynsen, George Washington University, for the Botany 2017 presentation “Popu-

lation Genetic Analysis of Invasive Kudzu (Pueraria montana var. lobata) throughout Asia and 

the United States” Co-authors: Mohammad Vatanparast, Liu Luxian, Fu Cheng-Xin, Keith A. 

Crandall and Ashley N. Egan

Aniket Sengupta, Kansas University, for the Botany 2017 presentation “Searching for more: An-

tirrhinum corolla symmetry genetic network in carpel development” Co-author: Lena Hileman

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In your own words....Comments from the post-conference survey


...visiting with old friends, keeping up 

on the science, supporting a colleague 

receiving an award

The people! The people at Bot-

any are so fantastic! Up-all-

night-Wednesday was particu-

larly awesome this year! I don't 

know why, but it was great.

I really like the Botany conferences. People 

are really nice, things are well organized.

It was an excellent conference. The 

society helped me keep the costs to a 

minimum which were a huge help and 

greatly appreciated. Everyone was very 

kind and welcoming, which you don't 

find with every scientific group/confer-

ence. Great speakers.

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Botany feels like 


 for a botanist.

Thank you for being so student 

friendly. My undergraduates had a 

great time.

I had not attended the pre-

vious botany meetings since 

I live in Venezuela, it was a 

very enriching experience!

I really enjoyed the opportunity to 

hear more about current research 

and interact with my colleagues.

I was going to go to ESA, but I 

missed the abstract deadline. Boy, 

am I glad I did, because Botany was 

a great conference!

I would go to a Botany conference 

wherever it is located because it 

introduces me to new places I would've 

never considered previously traveling to.

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Bring a New Experience 

to Undergraduate Research

Introducing the LI-6800 Portable Photosynthesis System

Ask about our LI-COR 
Environmental Education Fund (LEEF)

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PSB 63 (3) 2017 










Hello! And welcome—make yourself com-

fortable. I’d like to talk with you today about 

your Society journals. 
I get that you read and publish papers, but 

you’re not that interested in what happens in 

an editorial office. I thought it would be really 

great, though, if we could, on occasion, dis-

cuss a few items of possible mutual interest.
Today, let’s chat about those persistent, and 

frequent (!), opportunities you receive in your 

email Inbox to upload your published article 

PDFs to third-party sites such as Research-

Gate and, sometimes referred 

to as Scholarly Collaboration Networks, or 

In 2012, an author I’ll call “Martin” contacted 

the editorial office of AJB and wondered what 

we, as editors and publishers of a Society jour-

nal, thought of these sites.
The question posed by Martin was: “Bad for 

business, or a good way for people to access 

more papers?” 
He liked the article-level metrics these sites 

provided. He liked sharing his work widely 

and being discovered by other researchers. But 


By Amy McPherson 

Director of Publications, 

BSA; Managing Editor, 

American Journal of 


ORCID id 0000-0001-


he was worried about whether he was violat-

ing copyright.  And he wondered what impact 

these sites might have on a Society publisher.
That was 5 years ago: SCNs have definitely 

grown over that time, and they’re very pop-

ular. On the one hand, we (your Society pub-

lishers) want our authors’ work to be discov-

erable (and citable). Heck, we work with you 

to promote your work on Twitter and Face-

book; we work with writers and press offices 

on press releases; we encourage you to share 

your work; we are about to increase our out-

reach through our partnership with Wiley. We 

offer an Open Access option, all abstracts are 

always freely available, and all articles are free-

ly available after one year. BSA members have 

free access to AJB, do not pay page charges, 

and receive discounts on OA charges (APCs).
On the other hand, your Society publisher is 

not crazy to have readers directed away from 

our site. When your PDFs are posted on an 

SCN, they take readers away from the version 

of record on our site, and with them, the us-

age data and article-level metrics. We’d like to 

know, too, when your article is viewed, down-

loaded, shared, mentioned, etc., as would 

the libraries who subscribe to AJB. Librari-

ans carefully review usage data to determine 

whether or not to renew their subscription 

(our lifeblood). Library budgets have been 

tight and either declining or holding steady, at 

best, for years; librarians have to make tough 

decisions every year. 
Journals and librarians do not get usage data 

from or ResearchGate. Au-

thors get article-level metrics, but the data are 

A chat about publishing: Scholarly 

Collaboration Networks

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not standard (i.e., not COUNTER compliant). 

These sites also don’t necessarily have the sup-

plemental data that was uploaded with the ar-

ticle, and they miss any addenda to the article 

(corrections, retractions, etc.). And yes, you 

might be violating the copyright or licensing 

When we’re asked, we suggest that authors in-

clude links to, not PDFs of, their articles—but 

we know most people don’t ask, or even know 

what they have the right to post. 
For  AJB, we allow posting of the accepted 

manuscript, and sharing of the PDFs with 

interested researchers, but we prefer that the 

PDF be accessed on our site if possible, or 

shared with individuals; we support the “Vol-

untary Principles for article sharing on schol-

arly collaboration networks” (see below). 
We know it’s tough to figure out what’s con-

sidered permissible in this crazy day and age 

of scholarly publishing. If you are unclear of 

what’s allowed based on the agreements you 

have signed with publishers, do not despair. 

Check out
I think this concern over where the PDF of 

your article is posted is temporary and will 

be resolved in the not-too-distant future, be-

cause it is essentially a technical issue. And we 

all know that technology moves constantly 

and fast. 
You are reading this in the Plant Science Bul-

letin, so you are taking advantage of a Soci-

ety publication. If you are a BSA member, I 

assume that you are also interested in the 

American Journal of Botany and Applications 

in Plant Sciences—I hope you are. Like oth-

er Society journals, we are mission-driven: we 

exist to support botany and our members (see 

BSA mission in accompanying box). Some 

Society journals are self-published, as we have 

been for over 100 years; some partner with a 

publisher, as we will begin doing in 2018 

with Wiley (see the note elsewhere in this 

issue of PSB). 
We are honored to work with you, and we 

look forward to continue doing so well into 

the future. Go Botany!
That is all for now. If there is another pub-

lishing item you’d be interesting in chatting 

about, please let me know.

Mission of the Botanical Soci-

ety of America: “[to] promote 

botany, the field of basic sci-

ence dealing with the study 

and inquiry into the form, 

function, development, di-

versity, reproduction, evolu-

tion, and uses of plants and 

their interactions within the 


Additional Reading:

•  To explain what COUNTER is: https://

•  Voluntary Principles: http://www.stm-as-



•  What’s acceptable in sharing research arti-


•  After I wrote this essay, the following blog 

post regarding copyright compliance ap-

peared on The Scholarly Kitchen. If you are 

interested in the topic, you will no doubt be 

interested in this and the comments that ac-

company the post: https://scholarlykitchen.



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The 19th International Botanical Congress 

was held at the Convention and Exhibition 

Center in Shenzhen, China, from July 23 to 

July 29, 2017. The nomenclatural session was 

held the previous week, with 155 participants 

from 30 countries/regions. There were many 

noteworthy highlights for this Congress: 

the first time it was held in China; a record 

attendance of 7358 individuals from 110 

countries/regions, with 6850 participants 

from 77 countries/regions; and the first 

awarding of the Shenzhen International 

Award in Plant Sciences (to Peter H. Raven). 

There were 1444 talks in symposia, distributed 

over six themes: 

•  243 in T1 – Biodiversity, Resources and 


•  462 in T2 – Taxonomy, Phylogenetics and 


•  180 in T3 – Ecology, Environments and 

Global Change 

•  254 in T4 – Development and Physiology 
•  221 in T5 – Genetics, Genomics and Bioin-


•  84 in T6 – Plants and Society 

By Andi Wolfe 

Department of Evolu-

tion, Ecology, and Or-

ganismal Biology, The 

Ohio State University

There were nearly 1000 posters on display, or 

found on the electronic kiosks as e-Posters: 

160 in T1, 332 in T2, 162 in T3, 140 in T4, 128 

in T5, and 49 in T6. The number of simultane-

ous symposia, combined with the huge size of 

the convention center, limited the opportunity 

for popping in and out of sessions. However, 

all the Plenary Lectures were conducted in the 

largest venue of the convention center (Fig. 1), 

without competition, and the Keynote Lectures 

were also scheduled with minimal conflicts. 


All-in-all, the scientific program was amazing, 

and all of the abstracts and posters were avail-

able through an app. There were Wi-Fi connec-

tions throughout the convention center.
In addition to the stimulating symposia, lec-

tures, and posters, the Congress offered an 

incredible program for the opening gala, the 

Congress banquet, and the closing ceremony. 

The performances for the opening gala includ-

ed ballet, Chinese opera, and acrobatics. Simi-

lar entertainment was offered for the banquet, 

and a chamber orchestra provided music for 

the closing ceremony. The Botan


Society of 

Figure 1. The main hall of the convention cen-

ter, before the opening ceremony.  

Recap of the 2017 International 

Botanical Congress

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America co-sponsored a reception to honor 

this year’s corresponding member awardees. 

Loren Rieseberg did the honors, and there 

was quite a “who’s-who” in attendance.
The convention center was bedecked in the 

Congress colors, posters, video screens, and 

live plant sculptures (Fig. 2). The surrounding 

skyscrapers provided nighttime light shows, 

celebrating botany. There were several art ex-

hibits on botanical themes, and a couple on 

conservation themes, including a huge display 

that ran the length of the convention center, 

and a sculptural display featuring live plants 

from the unique biomes of China (Fig. 3). 

Student volunteers were abundant and very 

helpful to the linguistically challenged. Re-

freshment breaks (Figs. 4 and 5) presented a 

challenge in foraging, with long lines and food 

or beverages running out early, but that was 

one of the few logistical problems presented by 

a record-breaking attendance. There was also 

an incredible trade show, which was adjacent 

to the poster display area, electronic kiosks for 

the e-posters, and the press room. Highlights 

from each day of the Congress were published 

in the daily newspaper, and members of BSA 

were prominently featured.
The major theme of this Congress was conser-

vation and sustainability, which was reflected 

in the Shenzhen declaration on plant sciences. 

The call for action listed seven priorities: 
1. To become responsible scientists and re-

search communities who pursue plant scienc-

es in the context of a changing world. 
2. To enhance support for the plant sciences to 

achieve global sustainability. 
3. To cooperate and integrate across nations 

and regions and to work together across disci-

plines and cultures to address common goals. 
4. To build and use new technologies and big 

data platforms to increase exploration and 

understanding of nature
5. To accelerate the inventory of life on Earth 

for the wise use of nature and the benefit of 

6. To value, document, and protect indige-

nous, traditional, and local knowledge about 

plants and nature. 
7. To engage the power of the public with the 

power of plants through greater participation 

and outreach, innovative education, and citi-

zen science.  
The Shenzhen declaration was passed as 

Resolution 4 during the closing ceremonies. 

Figure 2. The main plaza at the Shenzhen 

Convention and Exhibition Center, featuring 

numerous plant sculpture displays.  

Figure 3.  The conservation walkway in the 

convention center. 

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PSB 63 (3) 2017 










Four additional resolutions passed, including 

one from the nomenclatural session, one for 

working actively for gender equity in the plant 

sciences, one for fostering international coop-

eration between the International Association 

for Plant Taxonomy and the Chinese botan-

ical community through establishment of an 

IAPT-China office, and, finally, to establish 

that the XX International Botanical Congress 

will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2023. 
Major themes throughout the Congress were 

the use of big data from all sort of “-omics,” 

integrating information from various databas-

es for innovative data analyses, and a new ini-

Figure 4.  The trade show and poster hall also served as a primary break area each day.

Figure 5. The upper floors of the convention center had two break areas for the morn-

ing and afternoon sessions. Beverages and snacks were served.

tiative for genomics: the 10KP project, where 

10,000 plant genomes are to be sequenced. 
The scale of this Congress was overwhelm-

ing—not only in the number of attendees, 

presentations, posters, and sheer size of the 

venue, but on the amount of new information 

to assimilate, as well as the efforts put forth 

by the Chinese botanical community, the city 

of Shenzhen, and the Chinese government to 

ensure a successful meeting. The bar for inter-

national botanical meetings has been raised to 

a new level. The next Congress will be the first 

to meet in South America, so there is a lot to 

look forward to. See you in Rio!

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By Harry T. (Jack) 


Chair, BSA Investment 


The compound question in the title needs 

to be asked of every member of our Society, 

emeritus members, distinguished fellows, 

BSA Officers, committee and section chairs 

and members, regular members, and stu-

dents. A little over two years ago, I wrote an 

article for PSB  titled “Where Goes the BSA 

Endowment: A Legacy Yet to the Written” 

(2015 61[2]: 62-63).  As continuing chair of 

the Investment Committee whose task it is to 

co-manage, along with an outside investment 

firm, the endowment funds for growth and 

use for Society initiatives, I have become in-

creasingly aware that the BSA membership, as 

a whole, needs to understand the importance 

of financially giving to the endowment, as it 

is able. 
What does this actually mean? BSA has grown 

in stature and importance to the entire botan-

ical community worldwide since its inception 

in 1893, about 124 years ago (http://bot-

of-the-bsa.html).  During this entire period, 

botany has expanded into new fields, has giv-

en birth to new plant societies, and yet has 

retained its breadth as a basic plant biology 

What Does the Botanical Society 

of America Do for You and What 

Do You Do for the Society?

society.  BSA has developed important pub-

lications, and programs in education, tech-

nology, and research and travel grants that 

serve a broad spectrum from young people 

to seasoned researchers. Together, these latter 

groups represent the heart of botany and inev-

itably its future.
In order to maintain BSA’s vital role in the 

field of botany, and its nurturing and devel-

opment of future botanists, we the members 

in all membership categories, must make a 

continued financial commitment, no matter 

how small or how large, to helping the BSA 

Endowment grow from its present $5M to 

+$10M, so it can become a beacon of financial 

support for all of the Society’s initiatives and 

programs, well into the future. 
Please consider giving $5, $10, $50, $100, 

$500, $1000 or more annually (or right now) as 

you are able, through a check or other means 

to: The BSA Endowment Fund, Business Of-

fice: 4475 Castleman Avenue, St. Louis, MO 

63110-3201. Let this be your commitment to 

the Society and those who follow. 
To paraphrase a past President of the United 

States who understood what commitment was 

all about, “It’s not what the Society can do for 

you but what you can do for the Society.”

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Latest News on the  

PLANTS Grant Program

The PLANTS grant program (Preparing 

Leaders and Nurturing Tomorrow’s Scientists: 

Increasing the diversity of plant scientists) has 

just finished its seventh year. Currently man-

aged by co-PIs Ann Sakai (UC-Irvine), Anna 

Monfils (Central Michigan University), and 

BSA Staff Member Heather Cacanindin, the 

goal of the PLANTS program is to encour-

age students from under-represented popula-

tions to become part of the scientific botanical 

community and, in particular, to help them 

understand the opportunities possible with 

an advanced degree and to learn about careers 

in the plant sciences.  The program, which is 

funded by the National Science Foundation 

with additional support from BSA, brings 10 

to 14 students, who are chosen through an 

open application process, each year to the an-

nual BOTANY conference. The review com-

mittee for the applications includes members 

of the BSA Human Diversity Committee and 

two former PLANTS Scholars.   
PLANTS students attend scientific talks with 

mentors, a workshop on applying to graduate 

school, the Human Diversity Luncheon, and 

numerous social and networking events. With 

assistance from Dr. Sakai, Dr. Monfils, and Dr. 

Ann Hirsch, as well as all those who served 

on the PLANTS grant selection committee, 72 

students were funded over the first six years of 

the PLANTS grant (2011-2016). In 2017, 13 

students were selected to attend the Botany 

2017 Conference in Fort Worth, Texas.
At the core of the program are the mentors 

who serve to guide the students through what 

to expect at a scientific conference of this mag-

nitude. Each student is assigned a peer and a 

senior mentor. Mentors were matched to stu-

dents based on student requests for particular 

research areas. A new addition to the program 

this year was a pre-meeting webinar hosted by 

the PIs and BSA staff to acquaint students and 

mentors with meeting opportunities, logistics, 

and responsibilities. 
Mentors contact students before the meeting, 

attend social activities and scientific talks with 

the students, help the students network with 

other students and faculty at the meeting, and 

in general, introduce students to the broader 

relevance and application of the discipline. 

Mentors pass on to the students the genuine 

intellectual excitement and involvement of 

the conference participants.  In fact, many 

mentors maintain contact with their mentees 

after the conference is over, providing insight 

and guidance on their career path and assist-

ing them with graduate school and grant ap-

Our mentors are committed to helping young 

scientists and increasing the diversity of plant 

scientists. Mentors hail from government 

positions, small colleges, large research in-

stitutions, and nonprofit organizations. They 

represent the variety of job opportunities in 

the botanical sciences. Almost 100 mentors 

have participated in the program since 2011. 

They enthusiastically share their personal ex-

periences and expertise in the sciences and 

serve without compensation or reimburse-

ment. The mentors are truly the backbone of 

the PLANTS program and provide impactful 

experiences for the PLANTS students. The 

networking and mentoring both proved to 

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be highlights for the students as they helped 

to create a “sense of community” and a place 

where the students felt supported.  One 2017 

PLANTS recipients recently stated, “I was so 

humbled by how kind, supportive, and helpful 

my mentors were.” Another reiterated the im-

portance of the sense of community created 

by the PLANTS program: “The program has 

given me a community that I was lacking and 

has tremendously increased my confidence as 

a student.”
The PLANTS grant co-PIs keep in touch with 

the past PLANTS scholars and track their 

progress and careers. So how is the PLANTS 

II program impacting careers? For our 2016 

PLANTS cohort of scholars, one student is 

currently in a PhD program and has received 

a Ford Foundation Fellowship, three students 

are in Masters programs, one student is study-

ing at an Environmental Science Institute, and 

two students are working in the plant scienc-

es at botanical gardens/herbaria and plan to 

apply to graduate school this fall. This means 

that 82% of the 2016 PLANTS scholars are 

still pursuing careers in the botanical sciences.  
The success, enthusiasm, and contributions 

of the PLANTS participants have helped to 

make our botanical community more aware 

and proactive about encouraging the diver-

sity of plant scientists within the Society and 

the plant sciences as a whole. We continue to 

have increased recognition and support of 

the program from members of the Society, 

as PLANTS I program alumni are active and 

are recognized within our scientific commu-

nity. In fact, two past PLANTS scholars have 

been elected student representatives to the 

BSA Board (James McDaniel [UW-Madison] 

and Chelsea Pretz [UC-Boulder]), and sev-

eral have been recognized with Best Student 

Paper awards by their sections as well as BSA 

research awards. Moreover, a transformation 

of the membership of the BSA has begun to 

occur as documented by the increase in the 

diversity of our overall membership. From 

2011 to 2017, representation of BSA members 

who were American Indian/Alaska natives, 

Pacific Islanders, and African American/

Black together rose from <1% to 2.7%, and 

members who were Hispanic or Latino/a rose 

from 2.3% to 4.6% of the U.S. membership, for 

a total of 7.3% of U.S. members. 
Science will not thrive unless it is equally ac-

cessible to students from all backgrounds, in-

cluding those from groups that are currently 

underrepresented. Access involves knowl-

edge about the discipline, understanding 

the culture of science, feeling welcome as a 

participant in scientific endeavors and as a 

member of the scientific community, and un-

derstanding job opportunities in the area. The 

PLANTS program continues to be successful 

in encouraging students from underrepre-

sented backgrounds to become part of our 

scientific community.  The PLANTS program 

is just one part of an overall growing effort by 

the Society to provide a range of profession-

al development opportunities to our student 

members. Some of these efforts include host-

ing non-academic career panels, workshops 

and symposia about science communication 

and dissemination, broader impacts issues, 

and career speed-dating.  
When the call for applications comes out in 

February for the PLANTS Award, please care-

fully consider those who you might encour-

age to apply for this opportunity. In May, we 

will again be seeking peer and senior mentors 

for the 2018 cohort of PLANTS Scholars. If 

you are planning to attend BOTANY 2018 

in Rochester, this could be a fantastic way for 

you to make new connections and positively 

impact the life of an aspiring plant scientist. 

If you have any questions about the program, 

please feel free to contact the BSA Office or go 



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After 15 years of serving as the BSA’s executive 

director, Bill Dahl retired from his position on 

October 1, 2017. He’s affected the lives of count-

less BSA members and leaves behind a spirit in 

the Society that will continue for many years. 

The PSB is pleased to present a final discussion 

with Dahl just before his departure. We wish all 

the best to Bill, his wife Janice, on future days 

filled with travel and photography!
What drew you to the position of Executive 

Director of the Botanical Society of America?
It’s actually a love story. I was having a won-

derful life in New Zealand in a similar position 

with New Zealand’s largest community health 

provider. New Zealand has the “dreaded” na-

tional health system and they actually take 

care of people with mental health issues! We 

assisted the most severe in a transition from 

hospitalization back into community living. A 

fantastic system focusing on health—but that 

gets away from the question!
I came to the USA in 2000 to visit a U.S. part-

ner and ended up at the conference of the 

American Society of Association Executives. 

My boss Gerry was attending and he invit-

ed me along. He felt we’d have a week to talk 

On the first morning I attended a session called 

a CEO Boot Camp. I walked into a room with 

about 600 people, started one way, stopped, 

turned around and found a seat right next to 

Janice Grauberger (now Dahl). From there we had 

some amazing discussions and a very nice few days. 

I did see Gerry a few times in passing (LOL).
Two years later, our kids (from previous mar-

riages) had all graduated and left the nests, 

and we were in a race to find employment in 

each other’s countries. Jan’s connections put 

her onto the BSA’s search for an Executive Di-

rector. I applied and had the pleasure of meet-

ing with Judy Jernstedt and Ed Schneider in 

the Los Angeles airport. Months later I came 

to the BSA meeting in Madison for another 

interview and had the pleasure of meeting 

with the Board. It was also my introduction 

to Johanne Stogran and her family, who were 

running the Botany conferences. By October I 

was in St. Louis working for you.
What were your first impressions of the BSA 

and/or botanists in general?
It was nice to see and feel how important the 

long-term health of the BSA was to most of 

the Board and Society members. In conjunc-

tion with that, how dedicated people were to 

An “Exit Interview” with Retiring 

BSA Executive Director, Bill Dahl

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PSB 63 (3) 2017 










plants and everything about plants and mak-

ing sure others had the opportunity to share 

in their discoveries. I’ve been extremely fortu-

nate to be involved with this group and have 

learned so much about so many things.
What’s the biggest challenge that you felt 

you faced as Executive Director of the BSA?
Hmm, there were so many exciting things. I 

guess the first was landing in St. Louis to the 

large space allocated to the BSA at the Mis-

souri Botanical Garden. There was a desk 

and a phone—that was it. From there it was 

building a team and setting the foundation in 

an effort to focus on the BSA’s mission. The 

Board provided me/us with the document 

titled “BSA Strategic Planning/Action Plan: 

Deep Thought,” which set the foundation for 

the next six to seven years of work. It was a 

fantastic map forward.
The first thing I did was ask Wanda Lovan to 

join the team. Her ability to remember people, 

events, and everything else we were involved 

in has always been a tremendous asset for the 

Society. She’s also the glue that pulls every-

thing together.
What are you proudest of?
First would be the team that was pulled to-

gether to support the Society’s mission. They 

have and will continue to make anything pos-

I’d love to be able to say my biggest achieve-

ment was the growth and development of the 

Botany Conference program—but that was 

Johanne Stogran working with various BSA/

ASPT/ABLS and AFS meeting directors. Or 

that it was the development of our publica-

tions, the American Journal of BotanyAppli-

cations in Plant Sciences, and the Plant Sci-

ence Bulletin, and the support given to their 

authors—but that was Amy McPherson, Beth 

Parada, and Richard Hund working with the 

editors and editorial boards. Or that it was our 

response to educational needs and the devel-

opment of the PlantingScience program—but 

that was initially Claire Hemingway, followed 

by the amazing work Catrina Adams and Jodi 

Creasap-Gee are doing now along with var-

ious education directors and so many ded-

icated members and Society partners. And 

the growth in the membership, in particular 

younger members and building the platform 

for them to become involved in steering the 

future direction of the Society—but, again, 

that was someone else: Heather Cacanindin. 

Of course, all of this involved developing 

technologies and web-based support led by 

Rob Brandt. 
And the Boards and Board members—what 

a treat! I’ve had the pleasure of working with 

a wide range of botanists. Just the Presidents 

alone—Judy Jernstedt, Scott Russell, Lin-

da Graham, Allison Snow, Ed Schneider, 

Chris Haufler, Pam Soltis, Karl Niklas, Kent 

Holsinger, Judy Skog, Steve Weller, Elizabeth 

Kellogg, Pam Diggle, Tom Ranker, Dick Ol-

mstead, Gordon Uno and Loren Rieseberg—

wow! And that’s just a small part of the entire 

group of Board members. And then there are 

folks like the current PSB editor, Mackenzie 

Bill Dahl in the early days of his time at the 

BSA, along with Administrations Officer 

Wanda Lovan.

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Taylor, who was the first BSA student repre-

sentative on the Board (and the 10 or so that 

have followed her). It makes me smile.
So you see, it’s always been the team! We are 

The PlantingScience program is a major high-

light. In Mobile, in 2003 Dr. Bruce Alberts 

challenged us to get off our backsides to sup-

port science education in a meaningful way. I 

feel we continue to do so; there are very few 

ventures of this type bringing scientific soci-

eties together to support the understanding of 

science. In concert, we support middle- and 

high-school teachers while mentoring their 

students in the core principles of scientific in-

vestigation. Dollar for dollar, this program has 

more potential to get young people involved 

with plants, science, and scientists than any-

thing else out there.
What changes, positive or negative, have 

you seen in the Society, or in scientific soci-

eties in general, during your time as Execu-

tive Director?
Slowly but surely, collaboration is becoming 

important across scientific societies. Biology 

is so diverse that it creates a real communica-

tions problem. AIBS made a good move in fo-

cusing on legislative issues because someone 

needs to speak for biology, and the mix of so-

cieties makes it very difficult. I hope this con-

tinues and that folks find new ways to work 

I’d also like to stress how the efforts of a few 

make a huge, really huge, difference for the 

whole. Diversification is an important direc-

tion in science as our demographics shift. 

I remember back as far as 2003 when BSA 

members Karen Renzaglia and Jeff Osborn 

put together the Undergraduate Mentoring 

in Evolutionary Biology (UMEB) program to 

support under-represented peoples in coming 

to our meetings. Later after the UMEB pro-

gram expired, Ann Sakai and Ann Hersch, 

supported by then-BSA President Judy Skog 

and Heather Cacanindin, evolved this concept 

into the BSA PLANTS program. I smile with 

the knowledge that two of the current BSA 

Board members are past PLANTS recipients.
What do you think will be the biggest chal-

lenge for the Society in the next 10 years?
Filling the understanding gap as to why it is 

important to support scientific societies and 

society-based publishing. The BSA has done a 

very good job in supporting member-publish-

ing options in the American Journal of Botany, 

Applications in Plant Science, and Plant Sci-

ence Bulletin, yet we continue to hear young 

scientists looking to publish in other places 

without understanding why.
Do you have any parting words of wisdom?
Cherish the importance of plants, and what 

you and what your peers do as botanists! 

From ecosystem down to the tiny bits of DNA, 

plants are critical to all life as we know it.

What’s Next Regarding the 

BSA Executive Director 

With Bill’s retirement, Heather 

Cacanindin has been named as 

the Interim Executive Director. 

A search committee has been 

formed, and its members will 

be reviewing applications for 

the Executive Director position. 

The position should be filled in 

early 2018.

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After careful consideration and deliberation 

over the past year and a half regarding the fu-

ture of its publishing program, the BSA has 

decided to enter a publishing partnership 

with John Wiley and Sons, beginning official-

ly in January 2018. This agreement will affect 

the Society’s two research journals, American 

Journal of Botany and Applications in Plant 

Sciences. Both titles will be hosted on Wiley 

Online Library, including back file content 

from AJB dating back to 1914.
“The Botanical Society of America looks for-

ward to this partnership with Wiley,” said BSA 

President, Dr. Loren Rieseberg. “Wiley’s prov-

en expertise in scientific publishing and mar-

keting will not only expand the reach of BSA 

publications, but also provide enhanced tools 

and technologies to assist our authors and 

members with the publication process and the 

dissemination of their research.”
“Wiley is proud to be selected as BSA’s pub-

lishing partner,” said Colette E. Bean, Vice 

President & Society Publishing Director for 

the US, Wiley. “The BSA is a leader in plant 

science research, and we are honored to part-

ner with them to publish their prestigious 

journals. We very much look forward to 

working with the BSA to continue to publish 

high-quality content that supports their com-

munity of authors, readers, and members, and 

to further advance the knowledge and com-

munication of botanical research.”

What does this mean for readers and authors 

of the journals? First of all, editorial control of 

the journals remains with the editors-in-chief 

(Drs. Pamela Diggle for AJB and Theresa Cul-

ley for APPS). BSA staff members for each 

journal (Amy McPherson and Richard Hund 

for AJB and Beth Parada for APPS) will also 

remain to serve authors, reviewers, and edi-

tors throughout the publication process. The 

article submission system authors have used 

for years, Editorial Manager, will be retained.
The most visible change will be the online 

hosting of each journal via the Wiley Online 

Library. The new websites will offer an up-

dated look for each journal and better author 

tools. With Wiley, the BSA is looking to ex-

pand the journals’ reach; modernize the on-

line presence; support our authors, reviewers, 

editors, members, and subscribers; and keep 

current with the demands and challenges of 

scientific publishing in the 21st century.
With changes to come, one thing above all will 

remain the same: the mission of the Society 

to promote botany. If you have any questions, 

please contact us at 

BSA Enters Publishing Partnership 

with John Wiley and Sons

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n a poster designed by cartoonist Walt Kel-

ley to publicize the first annual Earth Day 

in 1970, Pogo the Possum is shown picking 

up trash that humans have strewn across his 

home in Okefenokee Swamp, with the head-

line, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”  

This quote has even greater resonance today. 

Humans are the main threat to life on our 

planet and have emerged as its dominant se-

lective force. While climate change receives 

the most publicity, it isn’t the only concern. 

Other threats include habitat destruction, ur-

banization, and the spread of pests and dis-

eases. In a human-altered world, plants must 

adapt to these changes, migrate to a new en-

vironment, or die. I devoted my presidential 

address to discussing the importance of one 

of these responses to anthropogenic change: 

evolutionary adaptation. I specifically asked 

the following questions: How fast can plants 

evolve? How fast do they need to evolve to 

Plant Evolution in a  

Human-Altered World

By Loren H. Rieseberg,
BSA President 

University of  

British Columbia

cope with climate change? How can we aid or 

hinder adaptation? And, how can we convert 

this knowledge into action? 

How fast can plants evolve?

Despite the focus of evolutionary biologists on 

adaptation for over 150 years, an answer to this 

question remains out of our reach. Nonetheless, 

theoretical and empirical studies allow us 

to draw some preliminary conclusions. In 

an influential theoretical study of rates of 

adaptive phenotypic evolution, Bürger and 

Lynch (1995) employed a simulation model 

in which selection acts on a quantitative trait 

that is correlated with fitness. They reported 

that in a large population, the sustainable rate 

of phenotypic evolution is “a few percent” 

of a phenotypic standard deviation (SD) 

per generation. In small populations, the 

sustainable rate of evolution was even lower: 

<1% of a phenotypic standard deviation per 

generation. Recent theoretical studies support 

these general conclusions (e.g., Kopp and 

Matuszewski, 2013). 

Why is evolution so slow, at least according 

to theory? One potential impediment to 

adaptation is the depletion of beneficial 


Remarks from Botany 2017 by President Loren Rieseberg

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genetic variation. The rate of adaptation is 

also limited by the number of selective deaths 

that have to occur to replace one allele with 

another. This is referred to as the “cost of 

selection” (Haldane, 1957) and can lead to 

population extinction if selection is too strong. 

Conversely, phenotypic plasticity and density-

dependent or “soft” selection provide a buffer 

against extinction. That is, if the strength of 

selection is commonly reduced at low densities 

(e.g., due to a reduction in the intensity of 

competition or spread of a disease), extinction 

risk might be much lower than predicted by 

conventional “hard selection” models.

What can we learn from empirical studies? 

Evolutionary biologists typically quantify 

rates of contemporary phenotypic evolution 

in terms of Haldanes, where a Haldane is 

defined as a change of one phenotypic SD 

per generation. I searched the literature for 

studies that had estimated rates of phenotypic 

evolution in plants, building on a review 

by Bone and Ferris (2001). I only included 

studies that reported on rates of phenotypic 

evolution in natural populations and verified 

through common garden or reciprocal 

transplant studies that the phenotypic 

changes were genetically based rather than 

plastic.  Results indicate that while rates of 

evolution can be very fast over the short 

term, over longer time periods, phenotypic 

evolution slows and is roughly consistent with 

theoretical predictions (Figure 1). The decline 

in rates over time likely has multiple causes, 

including fluctuating selection pressures, the 

approach to a new phenotypic optimum, and 

the depletion of genetic diversity.














Rates of Phenotypic Evolution

Figure 1.  Rates of phenotypic evolution in plants. 

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How fast do plants need to 

evolve to cope with climate 


To estimate the extent of phenotypic change 

required to cope with climate change, I 

surveyed the literature for studies that report 

on phenotypic differences along latitudinal or 

altitudinal clines. A rate of 0.45°C/degree of 

latitude (Lindzen, 1994) and 0.5°C/100 m of 

altitude (Marshal et al., 2007) was employed 

to estimate temperature differences between 

study sites unless more accurate values were 

provided by the study. As before, only studies 

that distinguished between genetic and plastic 

differences were included in the analysis. 

While there was considerable variation among 

traits, phenotype differentiation averaged ~0.3 

SD per degree of Celsius, which provides a 

crude estimate of the magnitude of phenotypic 

change necessary for adaptation to predicted 

climate change.

 Climate projections suggest temperatures will 

rise between 2


 and 5


C over the next century 

(Raftery et al., 2017). Based on average 

phenotypic differences observed along 

altitudinal and latitudinal clines (above), we 

can extrapolate that, on average, phenotypic 

change of 0.6 to 1.5 phenotypic SDs per 

century will be required to adapt to predicted 

temperature changes, and in the absence 

of migration. Assuming an average rate of 

phenotypic evolution of 0.11 Haldanes, which 

seems reasonable at least in the short term, 

this implies that species with short to medium 

generation times (8 years or less) might be 

able to evolve rapidly enough to cope with 

climate change (Figure 2). Species with longer 

generation times must migrate. 

Of course, this is a very rough approximation 

and does not take phenotypic plasticity into 

account. Also, there is likely to be considerable 

variation among traits, populations, and 

species in their response to selection. It 

might be, for example, that traits more closely 

associated with fitness will evolve more slowly 

due to reduced genetic variation or genetic 

and physiological constraints. In addition, 

populations facing climate change may be 

subject to other potential conflicting selection 

pressures such as competition from invasive 

species, new diseases, loss of pollinators, 

habitat disturbance, and so forth that will slow 

evolutionary responses to climate change. 

Thus, it is important to compare these results 

with other studies that examine threats to 

plant species.

First, it is important to keep in mind that 

presently climate factors are not a leading 


Phenotypic SDs





Generation time (years) 

 1      2      4     8     16     32 


Figure 2. Maximum expected phenotypic ad-

aptation  over  the  next  century  compared  to 

necessary  adaptation  predicted  by  climate 


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threat to plant species. Kew Garden’s State 

of the World’s Plants (2016) quantifies the 

threatening processes for vascular plants 

on the IUCN Red List. Agriculture (31%), 

Biological Resource Use (21%), Urbanization 

(13%), Natural System Modifications (9%), 

and Invasives and New Pests and Diseases 

(8%) are the main threats. Climate change and 

severe weather are considered to be threatening 

factors in <4% of species, but this number 

is expected to grow in the future. A meta-

analysis of 131 studies across a broader array 

of organismal groups (Urban, 2015) suggests 

that climate change is a somewhat greater 

threat (7.9% of species and accelerating) than 

implied by the Kew report, but currently still 

less than other major threatening processes.

On the other hand, a recent study of extinction 

at the population level across the geographic 

ranges of numerous plant and animal species 

reported that local population extinctions at 

the warm edge of species’ ranges are frequent 

(Wiens, 2016). In plants, for example, roughly 

40% of 260 plant species surveyed suffer from 

warm edge extinctions. This implies that, 

contrary to my calculations, populations of 

many species are unable to cope with climate 

change. Perhaps adaption at range edges is 

frequently limited by maladaptive gene flow, 

insufficient genetic variation, or conflicting 

selection pressures.

Lastly, it is important to remember that 

evolutionary adaptation is only one of several 

biological processes that impact organismal 

responses to environmental change. Other 

key processes not considered here include 

migration, species interactions, demography, 

physiology, phenotypic plasticity, phylogenetic 

constraints, and characteristics of the 

environment. Ideally, models should include 

information about all of these processes to 

predict climate change responses (e.g., Urban 

et al., 2016).

How can we aid or hinder 


Understanding the factors that limit 

adaptation is central to understanding how 

evolutionary change can be facilitated when 

desired (e.g., adapting to climate change) and 

hindered when necessary (e.g., slowing the 

evolution of pests and weeds). Population size 

is probably most critical, as a large population 

brings both genetic and demographic benefits 

(Figure 3). Probably less widely appreciated 

is the need to reduce conflicting selection 

pressures brought about by the wide array of 

threatening processes described above. Lastly, 

it is important to manage levels of gene flow. 

Gene flow can be beneficial by increasing 

the genetic variation available for selection. 

However, gene flow can be potentially 

maladaptive as well by reducing the efficiency 

of selection. The latter is most likely if levels 

of gene flow are high and/or the gene flow 

derives from genetically or ecologically 

divergent source populations.

In terms of specific actions, one of the 

most widely debated approaches is assisted 

migration or assisted colonization (Ricciardi 

and Simberloff, 2009; Aitken and Whitlock, 

2013). As implied by the name, the method 

refers to the translocation of genotypes to 

a more suitable environment or one that 

is predicted to be more suitable in the 

future. Assisted migration includes assisted 

population migration, assisted range 

migration, and assisted species migration. 

Assisted population migration, in which 

genotypes are better matched with the 

environment within the current range of 

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PSB 63 (3) 2017 










a species, is least controversial and has 

the potential to rescue species that cannot 

migrate sufficiently fast or lack the capacity to 

adapt in situ (Vitt et al., 2009). Assisted range 

migration and assisted species migration are 

more controversial because populations are 

translocated beyond current range boundaries, 

leading to legitimate concerns about potential 

harm to recipient communities (Ricciardi 

and Simberloff, 2009). With that said, given 

ongoing and predicted anthropogenic 

impacts, inaction may result in greater damage 

to biodiversity than the careful integration 

of assisted migration (broadly defined) into 

conservation strategies (Schwartz et al., 2009).

In addition to adaptation of natural 

populations, more attention needs to be given 

to adaptation of managed populations, such 

as fiber, forage, and food crops. This is critical 

because agriculture and biological resource 

use (e.g., logging) are currently the greatest 

threats to plant diversity. With an expanding 

human population, and dietary shifts due to 

increasing affluence, competition for land and 

water is expected to further intensify in the 

future. Thus, we must not only increase the 

productivity of our crop, forest, and rangelands 

(thereby sparing land for conservation), but 

also modify our agricultural practices to make 

them more biodiversity friendly (Kremen, 

2015). Practices that enhance local adaptation 

of crops and trees can contribute to both 

goals. For example, Wang et al. (2006) has 

shown that implementation of a knowledge-

based policy in which seeds are matched 

to future local climate can increase forest 

productivity by circa 35% relative to the status 

quo. Likewise, the breeding and deployment 

of locally adapted crops has the potential to 

both increase yields and reduce the need for 

external inputs such as water and fertilizer. 

• Large popula+ons: ⇑ beneficial muta-ons

• Strong selec-on: ⇑ ini-al rate of adapta-on

• Constant selec-on

Speed of adapta-on

• Small Popula+ons: ⇓ beneficial muta-ons, dri9, inbreeding


• Fluctua-ng selec-on

• Low trait heritability

• Mul+ple Conflic+ng Selec+on Pressures

• Gene flow: increases variability, but reduces efficiency of


• Gene-c correla-ons

Figure 3.  Factors that affect rates of adaptation.

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To accomplish this, we must tap the genetic 

diversity of environmentally resilient wild 

plants, which has been shaped by millions 

of years of natural selection. While in some 

cases (e.g., crop wild relatives) this can be 

accomplished via conventional breeding, 

given the urgency of reducing agriculture’s 

footprint, we should embrace and utilize the 

full arsenal of agricultural biotechnology.

Modern plant breeding practices have 

developed crop varieties that perform 

exceptionally well in monoculture and soils 

enriched by synthetic mineral fertilizers 

(N-P-K).  However, these varieties typically 

are less well-suited to more sustainable 

agro-ecological farming practices such as 

intercropping, perennial systems, organic 

matter inputs to soil, etc., which increase crop 

and non-crop diversity (Kremen et al., 2012). 

We need to re-orient breeding efforts toward 

the development of cultivars that are locally 

adapted, environmental resilient, and well 

suited to agro-ecological farming practices. 

Such well-adapted varieties will be required if 

sustainable and diversity-focused agriculture 

is to match the productivity of conventional 


Methods for hindering adaptation in pests 

or weeds are important as well and can 

be viewed as the flipside of encouraging 

adaptation. A general strategy therefore is 

to limit population sizes of the pest, as well 

as to reduce the consistency and strength 

of selection pressure from the focal control 

agent. For example, to reduce the evolution 

of herbicide resistance, standard management 




practices) inc

lude: (1) crop rotations, which 

permit the rotation of herbicides that vary in 

mode of action; (2) cultural control methods 

(e.g., plowing, delayed planting, mulching, 

etc.) that release the weed population from 

herbicide pressures and reduce the soil 

seed bank; and (3) herbicide mixtures or 

sequential treatments of different herbicides. 

Unfortunately, except when enforced by 

strict regulatory regimes, the implementation 

of evolutionarily informed management 

strategies tends to be haphazard and resistance 

evolution is inevitable.  

In the future, new biotechnology approaches 

may be employed to both aid and hinder 

adaptation of natural populations. One of the 

most promising of these is gene drive, in which 

inheritance is biased toward a particular copy 

of a gene. As a consequence, a “drive” allele 

will spread much more quickly through a 

population than a mutation governed by 

conventional rules of inheritance. New gene 

editing methods make it possible to build 

robust gene drive systems that could, for 

example, eliminate populations of invasive 

species, pests, and weeds by driving in 

sterility or sex ratio bias genes. Alternatively, 

it might be feasible to drive in genes that 

protect species at risk due to climate change 

or reduce pest damage. Of course, there are 

many risks associated with deployment of 

drive systems. For example, drive alleles 

might have unintended consequences due 

to pleiotropic or epistatic effects. They also 

may spread beyond the target species if it 

has sexually compatible relatives, potentially 

wreaking havoc in non-target species. Most 

likely, though, natural resistance will arise 

to the drive allele, so that it will be stopped 

long before it can move across the range of a 

system. The bottom line is that there is much 

more that we need to understand before 

drive alleles should be released into natural 


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How can we convert this 

knowledge into action?

A popular cartoon shows a group of scientists 

sitting around a conference table with the 

caption, “The latest research shows that 

we really need to do something with all of 

this research.” Scientists have historically 

been strong proponents of curiosity-driven 

research, in which they choose both the 

question to be studied and the experimental 

program. Results contribute to our basic 

understanding of how the world works and 

typically do not have an obvious application. 

However, such research sometimes leads 

to serendipitous breakthroughs. It also is 

important to keep in mind that all applied 

research builds on this foundational research. 

The curiosity-driven research paradigm has 

been extraordinarily successful and is arguably 

mainly responsible for the extraordinary 

pace of scientific discovery and technological 

innovation seen over the past century. The 

one potential weakness is that the knowledge 

flow is unidirectional (from scientists to end-

users). This has sometimes been likened to a 

loading dock. Scientists dump the information 

on the loading dock, but most of the time no 

one picks it up.

An alternative solution-driven paradigm 

has been building steam of late, driven by 

the desire of funders (mainly governments) 

to extract greater economic benefits from 

the science they fund. In this paradigm, 

research is focused on finding solutions for 

end-users, whether they are in government, 

industry, NGOs, or society, more generally. 

Knowledge is produced jointly and the flow 

of knowledge is bidirectional, with benefits to 

both researchers and end-users. Results tend 

to be more specific and applicable to end-user 

concerns. The downside is that such research 

is less likely to contribute importantly to 

our broader understanding of the natural 

or physical world, and fundamental 

breakthroughs are less likely.  

I spent my first two decades in academia 

focusing solely on curiosity-driven research 

(and loving every minute of it). However, 

given the severity of the challenges facing 

the globe, I believe that there is a need for 

both curiosity- and solution-driven research. 

Thus, I urge botanists to engage with end-

users, such as land managers, farmers, plant 

breeders, policymakers, etc. to learn their 

concerns and co-design research programs 

that may contribute to solutions. My own lab’s 

efforts are now split approximately equally 

between these two endeavors. I do miss the 

heady days of doing whatever I wanted all of 

the time, but my lab’s research program over 

the past decade has been greatly enriched by 

engagement with end-users.

While conducting research is important, 

most of us will have a greater impact through 

education. My own accomplishments pale 

in comparison to those of my students. For 

example, my first two students, Dulcé Arias 

and Oscar Dorado, were both from the state 

of Morelos, Mexico. After leaving my lab, they 

returned to Morelos, where they established 

the world’s largest tropical deciduous forest 

preserve, the Huatla Sierra Biosphere Reserve 





Tropical deciduous forest is one of the 

world’s most threatened habitats, and the 

Huatla Reserve protects one of the few large 

remnants of this unique ecosystem. A more 

recent student, Hannes Dempewolf, joined 

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my lab with the ambitious goal of feeding the 

world over the next century as population 

growth, changing diets, and climate change 

create a perfect storm. He currently is doing 

exactly that! After leaving my lab he joined 

the Global Crop Diversity Trust, where he is 

spearheading a $60 million project to adapt 

crops to climate change.    

By the time students reach our labs, though, 

their trajectories are largely set. I have no 

doubt, for example, that Dulcé, Oscar, and 

Hannes would have done great things for 

biodiversity and food security, respectively, 

even if they had never set foot in my lab. We 

arguably can have a greater influence on our 

undergraduate students and on our children 

by stimulating an interest in nature. I was 

late in having children and have struggled 

to engage them with nature while living in 

an urban environment. Yet we have to teach 

our children to love nature before asking 

them to save it! My wife and I serve as the 

zoologist and botanist, respectively, for a TV 

show called “Scout and the Gumboot Kids,” 

in which children (including our own) solve 

nature mysteries. The hope is that the five-

minute show, which appears each morning 

on CBC Kids


shows/view/scout-the-gumboot-kids), will 

kindle children’s curiosity about nature and 

foster a more protective vie

w of our natural 



The meta-analyses I performed offer some 

conclusions about the rates at which plants 

can evolve, as well as the rate at which they 

need to evolve to keep up with climate change. 

Evolutionary rates can be high in the short 

term, and potentially high enough to allow 

many plant species to cope with climate 

change. However, observations of frequent 

population extinctions at the warm edge of 

species’ ranges contradict this conclusion.  

Possibly, adaption at range edges is limited 

by other factors, such as conflicting selection 

pressures due to other anthropogenic impacts.

I also made a call for the development of 

strategies to aid adaptation when desired 

and hinder it when necessary. In addition to 

maintaining large and connected population 

systems, we must attempt to limit the 

conflicting selection pressures faced by 

populations. More options exist for assisting 

adaptation in managed populations, ranging 

from assisted population migration to 

selective breeding to gene editing. Equally 

important are approaches to limit adaptation 

in pests and weeds. Strategies utilized to slow 

pest adaptation typically attempt to limit 

population sizes, as well as to reduce the 

consistency and strength of selection pressure 

from a given control agent. More generally, our 

focus going forward should be on adaptation 

rather than preservation of the status quo.
To put this knowledge into action, I argued 

that botanists need to become more engaged 

with end-users, and that the botanical com-

munity should embrace both solution-based 

and curiosity-driven research. However, we 

likely will have our greatest impact through 

education rather than research, especially by 

inspiring the curiosity of our non-majors and 

children about the natural world. The latter 

hopefully will contribute to a needed cultural 

shift towards valuing and protecting nature.

(Acknowledgements: I thank Sally Otto for 

stimulating discussions about adaptation to 

anthropogenic change and Julianno Sambat-

ti for compiling information on phenotypic 

differences along clines.)

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This paper grew out of a skill-building 

workshop held at Botany 2017 in Fort Worth, 



iving a talk” or “preparing a lecture” has 

become synonymous with putting to-

gether slides in presentation software such as 

PowerPoint or Keynote. However, the power 

of these tools cannot replace good fundamen-

tal presentation skills and may even detract 

from your message. In addition, computer-less 

“chalk-talks” for seminars or interviews are 

gaining popularity. For people used to work-

ing with presentation software, going comput-

er-free can be a challenge. Planning for pacing 

is important when you have to draw and write 

everything out while you talk, and visual com-

ponents must be streamlined. However, un-

derstanding how to work with just a marker 

and whiteboard will help you refine your mes-

sage to its most essential components. Here, 

we provide tips for effectively communicating 

information in a chalk-talk and give examples 

of what to do and what not to do. We share 

some of the feedback provided by participants 

of the skill-building workshop we held on this 

topic at Botany 2017.

By Melanie Link-Pérez (Oregon State University), Rebecca 

Povilus (Harvard University), and James McDaniel (University of 


Cutting the Cord: Tips for  

Computer-Free Presentation Skills

1. Good fundamental presentation skills—

don’t forget your KAYAK.

The weekend after we decided to host a work-

shop together on presentation skills, one of us 

(MLP) went on a whitewater kayaking adven-

ture. For those readers without first-hand ex-

perience, know that kayaking on a fast-mov-

ing river is quite different from paddling on a 

lake or slow-moving river. If you don’t steer 

properly and get into the right part of the riv-

er where the water is flowing, your kayak gets 

hung up in the bends of the river with the flot-

sam and jetsam and you get tangled in all the 

overhanging vegetation—a situation that the 

River Guide called “the Jungle Tour.” While 

this sounds attractive to a botanist, the jungle 

tour isn’t really all that great! 
The River Guide thankfully provided some 

instruction to successfully navigate the river: 

he said to “look” at where we wanted to go 

and “paddle accordingly—sometimes hard 

and fast.” He also cautioned us against look-

ing at the places where we didn’t want to 

go—by shifting our eyes and focusing toward 

those areas, we would end up paddling right 

into them! For the sake of science, the River 

Guide’s instruction was fol-

lowed (result: paddling like 

a pro, with kayak moving 

through the sweet spot of 

the rapids) and, for com-

parison, ignored (result: 

tangled up on the Jungle 

Tour). Hypothesis testing 

Readers may wonder why 

we’re sharing this story 

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here. The River Guide’s simple instruction is 

equally applicable to making good presenta-

tions: Know where you want to go and Do 

what it takes to get there. The word “KAY-

AK” also makes a helpful acronym to remem-

ber the following tips for giving a good pre-

There are several things you need to know:

•  Know your audience (who are they, 

why are they there, what do they already 

know, what questions will they want an-


•  Know your goal—your objectives—for 

the presentation. What are your major 

points? What information does your 

audience need in order to follow your 

presentation? What figures/diagrams are 

necessary for audience to follow and un-

derstand your message?

Ask questions! 

•  A good presentation is really about com-

munication, and that communication 

should be two-way. Ask questions so you 

can better know your audience and en-

gage them. Of course, sometimes when 

you engage the audience in this way, you 

can end up taking a bit of a Jungle Tour—

but that is okay, because you Know what 

your goals are and how to reach them, so 

you will be able to get back on track and 

into the flow of your message.

You tell a story”
A good presentation tells a story. 

•  You aren’t going to go into all the de-

tails—just focus on the parts that enable 

you to tell an effective story, one that pro-

vides context and has a beginning, mid-

dle, and end. We are naturally drawn to 

a story and find it easier to connect to 

information shared as part of a story; a 

story gives us a way to connect with the 

material shared in a presentation—that 

material goes from being disparate pieces 

of information (or “facts”) into forming a 

more cohesive whole. 

•  We are natural storytellers—we tell sto-

ries all the time—and we don’t pull up 

the computer or presentation software to 

do it! Your most important tool is your 

voice, followed by your hands and your 

body. Use changes in volume, pitch, and 

speed of voice for emphasis. Use silence, 

too. You yourself are the most effective 

instrument for conveying meaning.

Assess understanding and Adjust”
Remember, you are communicating with your 

audience, and communication needs to be 


•  Assess your audience’s understanding 

and engagement by asking them ques-

tions and paying attention to their body 

language and facial expressions. Do they 

look lost? Ask questions to find the point 

at which you lost them. Do they seem 

disinterested? Do you need to change the 

pace, get them re-engaged? 

•  You must pay attention to the audience 

and adjust accordingly. Sometimes, your 

audience is stuck in the Jungle Tour and 

you need to go get them and bring them 

back into the flow again so you can reach 

your desired endpoint—together.

Know you’ve reached your goal”
How will you know your presentation 

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achieved your goal?

•  Because you followed KAYAK, you will 

Know that you conveyed all the key 

points you wanted to convey, you Asked 

questions so you could involve your au-

dience, You told a story, you Assessed 

understanding and can see that your 

audience has the satisfied look and body 

language that communicates to you that 

communication was successful, allowing 

you to Know you’ve reached your goal. 

2. Challenges and concerns of going com-

puter-free—don’t be afraid to get your 

feet wet.

After presenting the KAYAK of good, fun-

damental presentation skills at the Botany 

2017 workshop, we asked participants to help 

us generate a list of challenges and concerns 

one may have about giving a computer-free 

presentation. Below is a summary of that, 

followed by our counterpoints and potential 

Fear of forgetting something 

•  Presentation slides should be used be-

cause they support what you are saying—

not the other way around (that is, you are 

not there to walk the audience through 

a set of slides). Slides should be created 

with the purpose of helping the audience 

understand your message; they should 

not be used as speaking notes, loaded 

with text you intend to say. 

•  Allay concerns about forgetting what you 

want to say by listing main points on an 

index card. If you need the comfort and 

assurance of more detailed speaking 

notes, you can create one (or more) cards 

per major topic, punch holes in the top 

corner, and secure the set together with 

a loose-leaf binder ring. The ring of cards 

fits nicely in your non-dominant hand 

and you can easily flip through them as 

you complete a point. If scripting your 

presentation helps you feel prepared, 

then make a simplified, bulleted version 

to reference during your talk so you don’t 

get lost in your text. 

•  Bring a hard copy of any diagram or il-

lustration you plan to draw on board or 

show via a PowerPoint slide; make sure it 

is annotated with the things you intend to 

point out or discuss with your audience.

Fear of being vulnerable, or feeling naked 

without the computer and slides to hide be-


•  We can spend a significant amount of 

time preparing a talk using presentation 

software. Looking for images, formatting 

the slides, and producing the accompa-

nying text can take countless hours; after 

all that effort, we may think our presen-

tation is “ready” because we have a digital 

file that will surely impress our audience 

with how prepared we are. However, we 

can choose to prepare differently. We can 

spend less time preparing PowerPoint 

slides and more time thinking through 

our presentation and how to connect the 

audience to our main objectives. We have 

more time to clarify our ideas and how 

best to share them.

•  Going computer-free can be better be-

cause the audience gives you more atten-

tion, instead of focusing on your slides. 

If you use presentation software, you can 

use the “black screen” to remove the dis-

traction of the slides when you want to 

direct attention at what you are saying or 

what you are drawing on a whiteboard.

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Fear of not being in control

•  Because we can spend so many hours 

preparing slides in presentation software, 

we become rather invested in them. We 

can feel compelled to “get through the 

slides” because of all that effort. Our au-

dience can also become subdued, reluc-

tant to ask questions they need answered, 

and inclined to watch passively. Every-

one can feel locked into the presentation 

that exists. While it may be comforting 

to keep in lockstep with projected slides, 

it can prevent us from being attentive to 

our audience and engaging in the two-

way communication that helps us suc-

cessfully deliver our message. 

•  It’s okay to give up this kind of control 

because you know (KAYAK) what your 

objectives are and what you need to do 

to help audience reach those objectives 

with you.

Fear of trying a new presentation method

•  If you are not sure you are ready to fore-

go presentation software, you can at least 

minimize your dependence on it while 

delivering your presentation. Prepare 

presentation slides as usual (with as much 

text as your heart desires), print a version 

to use as your hardcopy speaking notes, 

then delete every slide except those con-

taining figures or text that you consider 

essential for supporting your message. In 

this way, you can have the best of both!

Fear about running out of time

•  Timing is important for any presenta-

tion. Establish signposts in your pre-

sentation with target times, so you end 

on schedule and allot sufficient time for 

critical content (for example, “I must be 

discussing this point by 15 minutes into 

the presentation”).

•  Keep main points in mind (know your 

goals, KAYAK) so you can get back on 

track when the audience or discussions 

pulls you off your planned course.

Fear that audience won’t follow your presen-

tation or won’t understand your message

•  You know what your goals are and what 

information the audience needs in order 

to follow your presentation (KAYAK), 

you ask questions so you have a sense for 

existing knowledge and are stimulating 

engagement (KAYAK), you are telling a 

story (KAYAK) so your presentation is 

a satisfying “whole” instead of disparate 

bits of information, and you are continu-

ally assessing your audience (KAYAK) so 

you can provide additional clarification 

when needed. 

•  You can use a whiteboard, chalkboard, 

or flip chart to provide the visuals you 

need, including text or outlines that will 

help organize your presentation. Don’t 

overlook the value of including other 

demonstration objects that you have de-

termined can help convey your meaning.

3. How to make the most of the white-

board—paddles in the water.
You can make a “chalk talk” as informa-

tion-rich as a slide presentation. We use Pow-

erPoint in our classrooms, but we spend much 

more time using the whiteboard than project-

ing PowerPoint slides because we’ve found 

them to be much more effective. The fastest 

way to lose a group of students or any audi-

ence is to project a slide showing a detailed 

diagram for which they are not properly pre-

pared. Drawing and/or writing on the board is 

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superior because:

•  You create the visuals you need right 

there, when you need them. The act of 

creation draws in the audience.

•  Simplified diagrams that the audience 

watches you create will help them fol-

low you as you walk them through the 

drawing, rather than getting lost in a 

very detailed projected illustration (these 

projected illustrations are much more 

effective after you’ve created simplified 

versions on the whiteboard).

Here are some tips for when you are plan-

ning your presentation, and for when you are 

in front of the board with a marker in hand!

Write it out
The simple act of writing key words and 

phrases will give your audience clear clues as 

to the most important parts of your message.

•  Keep it short—Writing takes longer than 

talking, so don’t expect to write out whole 

sentences all the time. Stick to single 

words or short phrases. You might even 

consider picking a few, longer words to 

abbreviate; just make sure it’s as obvious 

as possible what the abbreviations stand 

for, and don’t abbreviate similar words.

•  Keep it organized—Use spatial place-

ment of words as a clue to how they are 

related to each other. Bullet points are 

your friend here, but word clouds or flow 

charts can be useful for more complex 


•  Keep it legible—There’s no way to avoid 

it: handwriting is important. You don’t 

have to win any penmanship awards, but 

there is no point in writing something 

down if no one else can read it.

•  Writing on a vertical surface is different 

than writing on a flat desk, so it’s a good 

idea to practice. 

•  Think about where the audience is sit-

ting; in a bigger room, you will need to 

make your writing larger.

•  If you find yourself making illegible 

scribbles because you feel rushed, slow 

down and simplify what you are trying to 

write. Remember that note-takers will be 

writing, too, and will probably appreciate 

a little extra time. 

•  Make an effort to focus on what you are 

writing, as this will help you to be neater. 

It can be difficult to write and talk at the 

same time; it’s okay to catch your breath 

while you write.

A picture is worth a thousand words
Illustrations, diagrams, charts, graphs—all of 

these are important tools, but they can seem 

daunting to produce in front of the audience.

•  Have a map—Take the time to plan your 

illustration. Draw the complete image 

out on an index card or paper that you 

can bring with you up to the board; you 

can reference this to stay on track.

•  Simplify—If it’s not necessary, don’t draw 

it; this will save you time and keep your 

message clear. Using a simplified style 

can also help you if you think you are ar-

tistically challenged—and if drawing isn’t 

your strong suit, that’s okay! You can use 

your maybe-oversimplified representa-

tions to add a little humor (“Believe it or 

not, this blob-shape is supposed to be a 

_______ …”). Label elements of the im-

age for clarity; if labels aren’t key words 

for your message, then do you really need 

to draw that element at all?

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•  Practice—Before you present, practice 

drawing out the image while explaining 

what it is that you are drawing. You’ll feel 

more relaxed when you actually present, 

which means that you can concentrate a 

little more on making straight lines, neat 

circles, or whatever else it is you need to 


•  Break it into pieces—It can help to make 

several passes for illustrating complex 

concepts. Start with the simplest diagram 

possible that can provide a broad over-

view (this establishes context), and then 

make additional components, each add-

ing just a little more detail. In between 

passes, be sure to turn around and check 

in with the audience.

•  An animated experience—You can’t 

draw an entire picture at once, so think 

of it as an opportunity to add a dimen-

sion of time to your image, or to indicate 

a series of actions.

•  Use tools—Do you have to draw a lot of 

straight lines, but you can’t seem to keep 

your hand from wobbling? There is no 

reason you can’t bring a ruler to use when 

you’re up at the board. Your audience will 

appreciate having a neat and tidy image.

Build your board together

Pull your audience into the experience by 

asking for their input, and incorporate that 

into what gets written or drawn on the board. 

Word-clouds and flowcharts are great for 

this; their flexible formats allow you to take 

advantage of your audience’s creativity. Here’s 

how you can do it!

•  Make a plan. Decide what you want to 

explain, and think about the best visual 

strategy to present the concept—this is 

your goal. Even though you can never 

know exactly what sort of journey you 

and your audience will explore, your job 

is to guide them toward the goal.

•  Start simple. When you’re at the board, 

start by writing a single word or simple 

phrase. Putting it in the middle of the 

board allows for the most flexibility, but 

you can put it on the top or side of the 

board as a clue to your audience that you 

have a linear concept you want to explain. 

If it’s useful, block out zones of the board 

for certain types of ideas that you will be 

looking for (for example, if the core word 

is “Photosynthesis”, block out the left side 

of the board as “Inputs” and the right side 

as “Products”).

•  Ask a question. You can start with a fairly 

general request for ideas related to your 

core topic, and ask about more specific 

concepts if the audience is veering away 

from the goal. Avoid yes-or-no questions.

•  Organize audience input. If you get ideas 

that are relevant, but you don’t know how 

to incorporate them just yet, you can “put 

them off to the side for now” (start a word 

box on one side of the board, that you can 

grab terms from later). Even if you don’t 

end up using all of the terms, audience 

members will be encouraged by seeing 

their ideas written on the board.

•  Build on your core idea. If you get useful 

ideas, add them to your diagram/flow-


•  Evaluate your story. This is an important 

step, to make sure that you stay on track. 

Did the last addition help you get to your 

goal? Is your audience showing special 

interest in a tangential topic that you can 

explore during this lesson, or as part of a 

future talk? As a review for the audience, 

take a moment to walk through the im-

portant parts of the image you have so 

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PSB 63 (3) 2017 










far, from start to finish. This can help you 

form your next question and will prime 

your audience to think about where you 

are going.

•  Repeat steps as needed!

Tip: Grab an assistant from the audience. 

Are you nervous about having your back to 

the audience while you write on the board, 

or worried about your hand writing? Choose 

an audience member to come up to the board 

with you and be your “note-taker” (just make 

sure your assistant gets a copy of the notes, 

or can take a picture of the board with their 

phone at the end). 
4. Conclusions: Giving a talk is like taking 

your audience on a journey toward the goal 

of understanding a concept. How you guide 

them is up to you and is influenced by how 

you decide to deliver your talk. PowerPoint 

slides are one tool you can use; your slides will 

certainly be informative, and it’s easy to “stick 

to the script.” A whiteboard is another tool—

one that is just as effective at conveying infor-

mation, and one that also facilitates interact-

ing with the audience. If you are used to using 

only PowerPoint slides, going computer-free 

can seem challenging—but this challenge is 

nothing that can’t be solved by having a plan 

and practicing. In fact, planning out how best 

to use the whiteboard is a great opportunity 

to think about simplifying and streamlining 

your message, ultimately making it easier for 

the audience to follow along with you.

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PSB 63 (3) 2017 










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In the last issue, we shared an urgent need for 

scientist mentors to work with small teams 

of students on plant science investigations 

through BSA and part-

nering organization members responded to 

the call, and this summer we added over 200 

new mentors to our scientist mentor pool. We 

are starting the fall session with 625 mentors. 

PlantingScience mentors come from all career 

stages with especially high numbers of gradu-

ate students (n = 224), post-docs (n = 78) and 

early career scientists (n = 127) volunteering.  

Our mentors include scientists from 25 coun-

tries and 48 U.S. states. Collectively, Plant-

ingScience mentors are members from 150 

different societies/professional organizations 

and have a diverse set of research interests 

(Figure 1). 



By Catrina Adams,  

Education Director

BSA Science Education News and Notes 

serves as an update about the BSA’s educa-

tion efforts and the broader education scene. 

We invite you to submit news items or ideas 

for future features. Contact Catrina Adams, 

Education Director, at

Thanks to all of our mentors for making the 

program possible and for helping get more 

plant science into middle- and high-school 

classrooms. Thanks also for everyone’s assis-

tance in recruiting scientists to serve as mentors. 
We will be recruiting teachers heavily in 

spring, so if you know of middle- or high-

school biology teachers who may be interested 

in participating with their classrooms, please 

direct them to our website, https://planting-

Teachers and Early Career 

Scientists Participate in  

PlantingScience Digging 

Deeper Professional  

Development in Colorado 


This summer, 36 high-school teachers and 22 

early-career scientists met at Biological Sci-

ences Curriculum Study (BSCS) headquar-

ters in Colorado Springs, CO to prepare to 

participate in PlantingScience this fall using 

the Power of Sunlight Photosynthesis and 

Respiration Investigation Theme. Enthusiasm 

was high as groups worked together to learn 

how to address student misconceptions, ask 

the right questions to move student learn-

Scientists Respond to Call:  

PlantingScience Mentor Pool  

Increases to Meet Need

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PSB 63 (3) 2017 










Science Education

ing forward, and practice using the website 

as they will in the fall. Early-career scientists 

discussed mentoring strategies and how to 

encourage student thinking in an asynchro-

nous, online environment, as well as how to 

be good role models and encourage students’ 

long-term interest in science and confidence 

in their science ability. The workshops are 

part of the NSF-funded PlantingScience: Dig-

ging Deeper Collaborative Teacher/Scientists 

Professional Development research project 

(#1502892) (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Early-career scientists and teacher participants from one of two PlantingScience: Dig-

ging Deeper professional development workshops held this summer. Photo taken during the field 

trip to Garden of the Gods park in Colorado Springs.

Figure 1. PlantingScience mentors collectively belong to 150 organizations. Societies with the 

most PlantingScience volunteers are largest in this wordle. Notice the diversity of scientific fields 

and interests represented!

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PSB 63 (3) 2017 










Upcoming Science  

Education Conferences

Interested in creating environments and op-

portunities for your students to discover, in-

vestigate, and inform with data? Attend the 



 Life Discovery – Doing Science Biology 

Education Conference October 14-21 at the 

University of Oklahoma. Go to http://www. for more information. 
Attending the National Association of Biol-

ogy Teachers’ (NABT) meeting (November 

9-12) in St. Louis? Please stop by to see BSA 

staff at the PlantingScience booth. We’d love 

to have PlantingScience mentors or teachers 

stop by to share their experiences with the 

program. Also check out our Inquiring About 

Plants workshop with effective, tested ideas 

for bringing inquiry-based teaching about 

plants into your classroom. Attendees will get 

a free print copy of the book “Inquiring About 

Plants.”  Interested in the workshop but won’t 

be attending NABT this year? You can pur-

chase the e-book version ($10.95) at https://; 

all proceeds go to support the PlantingScience 


PseudoScience Fair at the 

University of Central  

Arkansas is an Opportunity 

to Engage Students’ Critical 

Thinking and  

Communication Skills

Increasing students’ ability to think critically 

and distinguish between science and pseudo-

science is a main goal for many science teach-

ers. Why not approach that goal directly by 

giving students opportunities to recognize and 

critique pseudoscientific concepts head on? 

That’s what a team at the University of Central 

Arkansas aimed to do by organizing a well-at-

tended, cross-disciplinary PseudoScience Fair 

through their STEM Residential College. BSA 

members Steven Karafit (University of Cen-

tral Arkansas) and Faith Yarberry share their 

experience of facilitating their freshman-level 

biology students’ participation in the fair and 

their plans for a second Pseudoscience Fair this fall. 

Studying the nature of  

science by investigating  


Students often view science as a hard and 

daunting subject that is little more than mem-

orizing vast amounts of unrelated facts. It is 

no secret that there is growing evidence on 

the need for science faculty to not only teach 

their students about the nature of science, but 

also have students actively participate in the 

scientific process (e.g., Alberts, 2005; AAAS, 

2011). Growing evidence suggests that stu-

dents who accept pseudoscience as fact are 

likely to accept other invalidated claims, such 

as paranormal beliefs and conspiracy the-

ories, as facts as well (Lobato et al., 2014). 

Students of the STEM Residential College at 

the University of Central Arkansas were giv-

en the chance not just to learn to recognize 

good science, but to research what bad science 

looks like.  By researching a topic that may fall 

outside the sphere of science, students build 

skills by finding and reading primary, peer-re-

viewed literature, analyzing data and claims, 

working in groups, and explaining science to 

a broad audience. This project allowed stu-

dents to research claims that may or may not 

be pseudoscientific and encouraged them to 

challenge their own previously held beliefs on 

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PSB 63 (3) 2017 










the subject. 
The STEM Residential College in Arkan-

sas Hall is a living and learning community 

consisting of approximately 200 freshman 

science students on the University of Central 

Arkansas (UCA) campus. In the fall of 2015, 

the STEM Residential College established a 

Pseudoscience Fair as part of its co-curricu-

lar activities across the scholastic disciplines 

of Biology, Chemistry, History, Philosophy, 

Psychology, and Exercise Science. The Fall 

2015 and Fall 2016 Pseudoscience Fairs were 

held on the UCA campus, and approximately 

400 individuals attended the event each year 

from the university community and the City 

of Conway.
The Resident Master of the STEM Residential 

College is tasked with organizing the event. 

Besides scheduling a date, time, and venue, 

the primary order of business is coordinat-

ing the faculty and students. Lists of enrolled 

students are obtained for the participating 

classes. Students taking multiple participating 

classes were placed into groups. This is an es-

sential step in the process because it encour-

ages students to view a topic through a variety 

of lenses. The participating faculty members 

are then brought together and topics are de-

termined for those groups that span multiple 

disciplines. At the start of the fall term, the 

groups are given their topic choices and the 

research begins.
The STEM Residential College Resident mas-

ter assembled a list of topics for Pseudoscience 

Fair participants. Topics were either generally 

considered to be pseudoscience by the scien-

tific community or were at least perceived as 

such by the general public. The list of topics 

was deliberately broad in order to encourage 

students to focus on the process and interdis-

ciplinary nature of science as recommended 

by Vision and Change (AAAS, 2011).    

Biology 1440


Biology 1440 (Principles of Biology 1) is a 

freshman-level cellular and molecular biology 

course for biology majors. It also is a required 

course for several other majors to obtain a B.S. 

degree.  Biology 1440 is a typical lecture-based 

course with a weekly 3-hour lab component.  

Students were placed in groups of four to six 

students.  After a lecture on the nature of sci-

ence, they picked their topic of study (Table 

1). In the following lecture, a librarian led the 

students through the process of finding rel-

evant primary literature. Students were then 

tasked to do a review of literature on the topic. 

After completing their literature review, they 

met with their instructor to discuss their find-

ings. Students were provided with feedback 

and then had a second meeting with their in-

structor where they presented a rough draft of 

their project and received additional feedback. 

Students were encouraged to think critically 

about the evidence that they found, and not 

judge the credibility of their subject until they 

had enough evidence to do so. Students were 

tasked with creating a presentation or poster 

that would contain the following informa-

tion: background; claims made by the prod-

uct, practitioners, or believer; evidence for or 

against these claims; and a group conclusion. 

Within the conclusion, students needed to 

determine if their topic was scientific or not, 

and they were asked to discuss what evidence 

would be needed in order for the topic to be 

considered as scientific. 

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PSB 63 (3) 2017 










Table 1. Topics covered by Biology 1440 stu-

dent groups in the Fall 2017 Pseudoscience Fair.



The pseudoscience  

fair/public outreach/student  


Participants discussed their findings with 

fellow students, faculty, and the public at the 

Pseudoscience Fair. The three highest scoring 

groups in Biology 1440 were asked to partic-

ipate in a science outreach event at a local ju-

nior high school.
While we have collected no formal data at this 

time, over 50% of students recommended that 

Biology 1440 participate in the fair in the fu-

ture. Students displayed interest in their topics 

and were able to take what they had learned 

and apply it to other topics, including experi-

mental design in the lab portion of the course. 

Future work/data collection

The participating faculty met during the sum-

mer of 2017 to discuss the organization and 

evaluation of the Fall 2017 Pseudoscience 

Fair. The organizers plan to develop a com-

mon survey to analyze the student opinion of 

the process, along with a rubric to determine 

communication effectiveness both orally and 

in writing.

Literature Cited


Alberts, B. 2005. A Wakeup Call for Science Facul-

ty. Cell 123: 739-741. 

American Association for the Advancement of 

Science (AAAS). 2011.  Vision and Change in Un-

dergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action. 

Washington D.C. 

Lobato, E., J. Mendoza, V. Sims, and M. Chin. 2014. 

Examining the Relationships Between Conspiracy 

Theories, Paranormal Beliefs, and Pseudoscience 

Acceptance Among a University Population. Ap-

plied Cognitive Psychology 28: 617-625. 

Pseudoscience Fair Topics



The Dangers of GMO Foods 

The Health Benefits of Green Tea

Climate Change Denial 

Lunar Effects on Human Behavior


Vaccines and Autism 

Subliminal Messaging 

Electroshock Therapy 

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By James McDaniel and Chelsea Pretz

BSA Student Representatives

Throughout the last decade, many botany de-

partments have become enveloped by larger 

biological science departments, resulting in 

fewer students pursuing botany degrees. In 

order to combat this issue, many different 

initiatives have taken root (e.g., using 

#IAmABotanist on social media); however, 

one of the most notable initiatives was BSA’s 

foresight to invest in their student members. 

During a time when popularity and funding 

for botany related research was diminishing, 

former BSA Executive Director Bill Dahl ap-

proached the board of directors with the sug-

gestion that students needed to play a more 

active role in the Society by having their voices 

A Reflection on the Current State 

and Future Direction of Student 

Membership of the BSA

heard by the rest of the Society. In fact, here is 

a quote graciously provided by Dahl himself: 

“There are so many passionate, tal-

ented, and energetic young botanists/

scientists looking to make a positive 

contribution to science and [the] Soci-

ety in general. We needed the ideas and 

energy from this group, and we need-

ed to provide a means for this to come 

directly into the governance structure. 

Creating positions on the board just 

made sense. This has also allowed the 

BSA to expose a younger group to gov-

ernance (with a window into scientific 

society operations). Part of the vision 

was to prepare tomorrow’s leaders by 

giving people hands-on experience. 

I feel this has worked well. I think all 

of the past student reps would share a 

similar story in terms of increased con-

fidence and growth. Remember, they 

represent the Society as well as being 

responsible for bringing forward new 

ideas and concerns of the students to 

the board for action. Having seats at the 

table is important for everyone.”

Thus, more than a decade ago, the BSA real-

ized that there was a need to build a support 

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PSB 63 (1) 2017 






 Student Section


system for the student membership in order 

for the Society to continue prospering. As a 

result, two student representative positions 

were established on the BSA executive com-

More recently, at BOTANY 2016, the society 

recognized a decade of service provided to 

the BSA by student representatives, and we 

wanted to take time to recognize this monu-

mental feat by reflecting on some of the ac-

complishments that have occurred over the 

past ten years. For example, there has been a 

push to establish additional resources geared 

toward the student members of the BSA. Pre-

vious student representatives saw a need for 

more student-oriented content at the confer-

ences, which resulted in Sunday workshops 

aimed at students being added to the confer-

ence schedule. Over the past few years, stu-

dent representatives have led workshops such 

as “Crafting an Effective Elevator Speech and 

Communicating Broader Impacts” and “Cut-

ting the Cord: a Workshop for Computer-Free 

Presentation Skills” in an effort to convey the 

importance of utilizing effective science com-

munication skills when networking and/or 

interviewing for jobs. Furthermore, the very 

first Undergraduate Student Mixer occurred 

at BOTANY 2017, which will continue to help 

integrate undergraduates into the Society as 

well as encourage them to attend future con-

Another notable accomplishment within the 

last ten years is the fact that the Society has 

doubled the number of grants available each 

year to student members. Specifically, the 

Society added five new awards in 2012 and 

again in 2013, which brought the total up to 

19 annual grants specifically targeted toward 

student membership. We are even more proud 

to announce that the student awards were re-

named to honor Bill Dahl’s tremendous con-

tributions to the Society over the years, spe-

cifically those that were critical in the growth 

of the student membership within BSA. The 

awards are now titled the “Bill Dahl Graduate 

Student Research Awards” and the “Bill Dahl 

Undergraduate Student Research Awards.” 
The Society has also been integral in increas-

ing diversity among the student population by 

creating the NSF-funded PLANTS (Preparing 

Leaders and Nurturing Tomorrow’s Scientists) 

grant. The PLANTS program, which was es-

tablished in 2012, annually funds ten different 

students from underrepresented groups to at-

tend the BOTANY conference. These students 

are supported by a cohort of their peers as well 

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PSB 63 (1) 2017 






 Student Section


as two different mentors as they navigate their 

first botany-related conference. Additionally, 

PLANTS has been a large component when 

it comes to engaging students in botany and 

establishing them as active members in the 

Unfortunately, one of our very own PLANTS 

grant recipients, Samuel Torpey, tragically 

passed away in May of 2017. As an undergrad-

uate at the University of Idaho, Samuel attend-

ed his first Botany Conference in 2014 after re-

ceiving the prestigious PLANTS grant. From 

there, he finished his undergraduate degree 

at the University of Idaho and became a ded-

icated student member of the BSA by serving 

as a mentor for future PLANTS grant recipi-

ents. Furthermore, Samuel was a member of 


Coeur d’Alene Tribe and enjoyed studying 

his family’s native cultures while also working 

as a part-time environmentalist for his tribe. 

Ultimately, Samuel was a charismatic individ-

ual who had a knack for making friends and 

a passion for the environment and its floral 

diversity. As a result, the BSA is seeking dona-

tions to help fund a new PLANTS recipient at 

BOTANY 2018 in the honor of Samuel. If you 

would like to donate or to learn more, please 


As your current student representatives and 

past recipients of the PLANTS grant, we 

are excited to keep the momentum going as 

student membership continues to increase 

throughout the Society, but we are also excited 

to focus on building an inclusive and support-

ive community for students that will last for 

decades to come.

Quick Notes on the  

BOTANY 2017 Conference

We would like to extend a thank you to ev-

eryone who attended BOTANY 2017 in Fort 

Worth, Texas! From our perspective, the con-

ference was filled with great workshops and 

mixers geared toward the student member-

ship of the Society as well as great talks given 

by students, faculty, and alumni. More impor-

tantly, approximately 30% of the conference 

attendees were students—a number that has 

gradually increased throughout BSA’s history. 

During our “Careers in Botany” Student Lun-

cheon, we were reminded by Ned Friedman to 

take time to enjoy what we do and not spend 

time worrying about what needs to get done 

(to an extent). Friedman was also gracious 

enough to show us high-speed videos of Rho-

dodendron flowers releasing pollen, which 

was followed up by a nice discussion that saw 

students interacting with panelists from a 

broad range of botanically oriented careers. 
We also had a wonderfully executed workshop 

on “chalk talks,” which introduced students to 

skills that are vital for giving a successful com-

puter-free presentation. After watching Mela-

nie Link-Perez present her take on a successful 

chalk talk (very successful, indeed), we all had 

the opportunity to practice and receive feed-

back in a friendly environment. Overall, our 

student-oriented events were a success and we 

loved having the opportunity to meet every-

one at the student mixer, which was hosted 

at the T&P Tavern in downtown Fort Worth, 

We look forward to seeing all of you again, 

or getting to know you for the first time, at 

BOTANY 2018, July 21-25, in Rochester, 


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PSB 63 (1) 2017 






 Student Section


Getting to Know your New 

Student Representative: 

Chelsea Pretz

Chelsea Pretz is a PhD student at the Universi-

ty of Colorado-Boulder, Ecology & Evolution 

Department, and has just started her two-year 

When did you join BSA and what motivated 

you to do so?
I first heard about the Botany Conference 

during an REU (Research Experience for Un-

dergraduates) internship at Missouri Botani-

cal Garden. This was my first experience being 

around so many botanists, and I came to real-

ize that research was a reachable career choice. 

So many of the researchers had very fond 

memories of Botany and would talk about the 

conference. The next year, I was lucky enough 

to be a recipient of the PLANTS (Preparing 

Leaders and Nurturing Tomorrow’s Scien-

tists) grant where I was able to attend Botany 

and create my own fond memories in Edmon-

ton, Canada. Furthermore, PLANTS included 

a four-year membership to the BSA, which 

motivated me to stay involved.
What motivated you to run for the position 

of Student Representative to the Board of 

I was motivated to run for Student Represen-

tative after having such a positive experience 

in the PLANTS program. During this pro-

gram, I met many different students who were 

at the same place in their career and who were 

excited to talk about plants. Throughout this 

process I realized how lucky I was to have a 

cohort of peers to experience the conference 

with; however, I know that there were other 

students who were isolated without a sup-

portive community of people. This realization 

made me want to help connect students with 

resources and help students network to meet 

other really great researchers at the confer-

What is your research about?
I am studying the evolution of the genus 

Physalis (Solanaceae), which contains the 

important crop tomatillo. In particular, I am 

investigating interspecific gene flow, pollina-

tion ecology, and reproductive isolation with 

a focus on the domesticated species and their 

What sorts of hobbies do you have?
Like most botanists, I enjoy hiking, camping, 

gardening, and traveling. Other things that 

fill my time include sewing, listening to pod-

casts (Planet Money, Code Switch, and Re-

veal), cooking, and playing board games with 


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PSB 63 (1) 2017 






 Student Section


Thank You!!

PCMA POWER Chapter members Johanne 

Stogran and Dianne Killian collecting supplies.

Building an Intentionally Inclusive Community 

One of our main goals moving forward is to focus on building 

an intentionally inclusive community for student members of 

the BSA. If you have any questions, concerns, suggestions, or 

comments about how we can make a more inclusive community, 

please reach out to either James McDaniel (jlmcdaniel@wisc.

edu) or Chelsea Pretz (

You did a good deed!


This year at the Botany Conference we collected your unused toiletries from the Omni hotel. 

Together with the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), we were able 

to put together and donate over 400 packets of shampoo, conditioner, bath wash, and body 

lotions. These will be given to families at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus.

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Harvard University  

Bullard Fellowships in  

Forest Research 

Annually, Harvard University awards a limit-

ed number of Bullard Fellowships to individ-

uals in biological, social, physical, and politi-

cal sciences and the arts to promote advanced 

study or the integration of subjects pertaining 

to forested ecosystems. The program seeks to 

allow mid-career individuals to develop their 

own scientific and professional growth by 

utilizing the resources and interacting with 

personnel in any department within Harvard 

In recent years Bullard Fellows have been as-

sociated with the Harvard Forest, Department 

of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, and 

the J. F. Kennedy School of Government and 

have worked in areas of ecology, forest man-

agement, policy, and conservation. Stipends 

up to $60,000 are available for periods rang-

ing from six months to one year and are not 

intended for travel, graduate students, or re-

cent post-doctoral candidates. Applications 

from international scientists, women, and mi-

norities are encouraged. Additional informa-

tion is available on the Harvard Forest website 

( Annu-

al deadline for applications is January 15. 


Positions Open at Iowa 

State University

The Department of Genetics, Development 

and Cell Biology (GDCB) at Iowa State 

University invites applications for two ten-

ure-track faculty positions at the rank of As-

sistant Professor. The department seeks to 

enhance and build upon existing strengths 

at  ISU, with an emphasis on: (i) cellular or 

developmental processes integral to animal 

health or disease, especially in genetic mod-

el organisms; or (ii) cellular or developmental 

mechanisms that underpin plant responses to 

environmental signals and stresses.
Responsibilities include building nationally 

recognized research programs that compete 

successfully for extramural funding, advanc-

ing the discipline through high-quality pub-

lications, mentoring students, and effective 

teaching of undergraduate and graduate 

The successful candidate will possess excellent 

communication and leadership skills and will 

share the university’s commitment to an in-

clusive environment that supports world-class 

For more information, go to https://www.

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Mosses, Liverworts, and Hornworts: Field Guide to Common Bryophytes  

of the Northeast .......................................................................................................................................................177

Development and Structure

Trees: A Complete Guide to their Biology and Structure .................................................................179


Venerable Trees:  History, Biology, and Conservation in the Bluegrass ...................................180

Economic Botany

The Botany of Empire in the Long Eighteenth Century .....................................................................182

Sound and Scent in the Garden ......................................................................................................................184

Tulip   ..............................................................................................................................................................................185 


The Botany of Mangroves, Second Edition ..............................................................................................186


Mosses, Liverworts, 

and Hornworts: Field 

Guide to Common 

Bryophytes of the 


Ralph Pope

2016.  ISBN-13:  



Paper, US$24.95. 384 pp.

Cornell University Press

As a field botanist, I am often drawn to and 

fascinated by nonvascular plants, but like so 

many other botanists and plant enthusiasts, 

I’ve not had much training in identifying 

them and am challenged when I try to do so.  

This summer, I was excited to add to my li-

brary Ralph Pope’s new field guide to mosses, 

liverworts, and hornworts, a resource made 

for people just like me who want to be more 

versed in these diminutive plants but need 

help getting there.  

Pope’s guide to northeastern bryophytes is a 

valuable resource for anyone who wants to 

learn to identify common mosses and other 

nonvascular plants in the eastern U.S.  [Note: 

the author acknowledges that although bryo-

phytes may not be a “proper” taxonomic term 

based on contemporary understanding of 

plant systematics, it is still a term often used 

to refer to nonvascular land plants, and for the 

sake of convenience he uses it in this way in 

the book.  For simplicity, I will do the same in 

this review.]

The target audience for this handy and 

information-rich guide is amateur naturalists 

and non-bryologist botanists, and the book is 

well-constructed for use by this audience—

one does not need to be highly trained in 

nonvascular plants to use it.  It is created with 

the intention that readers can identify the 

plants with only a hand lens (although some 

characteristics would be more easily seen 

with a dissecting microscope).  He describes 

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Book Reviews

a handy trick of putting phyllids (leafy parts 

of some bryophytes) between two slides and 

then holding up to the light with a hand lens to 

see characters such as costa and differentiated 

alar cells, which could be very useful in field 

Included in the book’s introductory material 

are: information about illustrations/

photographs, geographical and taxonomic 

coverage, species names and ranges, basic 

bryophyte biology, taxonomy, and ecology.  

The introductory chapter also includes helpful 

information about collecting and studying 

The section on bryophyte taxonomy presents 

one current taxonomic delineation (stated as 

one of several in use today), but unfortunately 

with no citation/reference for its source 

or author.  The author does call out main 

important points in the taxonomy of these 

plants, and this is useful in understanding 

current knowledge of bryophyte taxonomy, 

but the systematics of nonvascular plants is 

still uncertain and he notes this.  
Following the introductory material, there is a 

master key used to divide bryophytes into six 

major groups: hornworts, thalloid and leafy 

liverworts, Sphagnaceae, acrocarpous mosses, 

and pleurocarpous mosses.  The three moss 

groups each have a section of the book with a 

key to genera.  In some cases (especially with 

common or diverse groups), keys to species 

within genera are also included. Hornworts 

and the two groups of liverworts are placed 

together in the final section.  
The master key is very well crafted and useful.  

It only gives names of major groups to lead the 

reader to the next stage of the book; it would 

have been more useful to also include page 

numbers to lead the reader to the relevant 

section.  It is helpful that the keys in the 

book rely as little as possible on sporophyte 

characteristics as these are not always available 

(although in places it was understandably 

At the beginning of each section on the major 

groups, there is a nice, organized list of species 

included.  Each species description includes 

specific description of its characteristics, 

comparison with similar species, range and 

habitat, and information about the name 

etymology.  Each entry is abundantly illustrated 

with high-quality photos.  Drawings and 

photos focused on key characteristics of each 

species are particularly useful.  Many include 

scale bars, which are incredibly helpful.  Some 

do not, which diminishes their usefulness, 

but only slightly.  Moss species entries also 

include distribution maps for northeastern 

U.S. south to South Carolina and Georgia and 

east into Michigan (maps are not included for 

liverwort and hornwort species).  
An illustrated glossary is included in the back.  

This glossary could use even more illustrations 

of the terminology included, but it will still be 

very helpful to those new to the vocabulary of 

bryophyte structures.  The author also includes 

a list of annotated references in the back, in 

five sections: those not needing a microscope; 

those more technical where a microscope is 

required; textbooks; miscellaneous printed 

references; and websites.  Readers will find 

this list of resources useful for learning more 

about nonvascular plants beyond what is 

available in this guide.
In general, the book is very well organized and 

user-friendly.  The colored “tabs” indicating 

the four main sections of the guide will be 

very helpful in efficient use of the guide in the 

field or laboratory.  
Nonvascular plants can be very tricky to 

identify in the field for anyone not already 

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Trees: A Complete 

Guide to their Biology 

and Structure

Roland Ennos

2016.  ISBN-13: 978-1-5017-


Paper $19.95, 128 pp.

Cornell University Press, 

Ithaca, New York.

For the lay public, this 

is indeed a concise, but complete, guide to the 

biology of trees.  For professional botanists, 

it is a source of interesting connections 

and observations.  For instance, the first 

chapter is an abbreviated history of the 

evolution of vascular plants highlighting 

Rhynia, Lepidodendron, Calamites, tree 

ferns, cycads, conifers, and angiosperms 

(including monocot “trees”).  Ennos notes the 

rapid growth of fossil fern allies during the 

carboniferous with Lepidodendron reaching 

full height (about 40 m) in only 10 years.  

This growth was so successful at sequestering 

carbon that atmospheric CO


 decreased from 

20× the current levels at the beginning of the 

period to levels lower than our current 400 

The second chapter provides an integration 

of the physiology of water transport with the 

“hydrodynamic design of wood.”  An interest-

ing note is that hydraulic tension within the 

xylem can “shrink” a 20-m-tall, 30-cm-wide 

tree during the day by 1 cm in height and 1 

mm in width.  Among the structural features 

described in Chapter 3 is a comparison of fi-

berglass to wood cell walls.  However, instead 

of just a structural comparison of glass fiber 

and cellulose microfibrils surrounded by a ma-

trix, Ennos notes that embedding glass fibers 

in a matrix increases the combined strength 

1000× tougher than either component alone.  

The analogous composite of cellulose and 

lignin is about 100× tougher than fiberglass. 

Some interesting notes on “Limits to Height” 

are that stomata at the tops of tall trees close 

earlier in the day than those at lower levels, 

and that photosynthesis and new growth are 

reduced in the upper canopy, despite greater 

access to light. Chapters 5-8 focus on special-

ized groups of trees: survival strategies; trees 

in different climates; specialist trees; and trees 

of the southern hemisphere.  My favorite “tid-

bit” from these chapters is that the “drip tip” of 

rainforest trees not only help the leaf shed wa-

ter, but actually helps minimize soil erosion. 

The final chapter touches on all aspects of the 

economic botany of trees.  My favorite exam-

ple is the physics of why the English longbow 

was constructed from the join between sap-

wood and heartwood of the Yew tree.  As a 

result, arrows could be shot more than 100 m 

and penetrate body armor.
At the end of the book is a one-page glossary, 

about two dozen selected references equally 

divided between books and websites, and a 

useful index.    

well versed in their characteristics, and there 

has been a lack of easy-to-use resources for 

field identification of this group.  This book 

helps to fill that gap.  I highly recommend it 

for anyone in the eastern U.S. who wants to 

become more familiar with this fascinating 

group of plants that are so often overlooked.  

Their identification will still take careful study 

and focused investigation even with this tool 

in hand, but this guide will serve as a good 

entry point for those new to the challenge.  
-Amy Boyd, Warren Wilson College

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My only concerns were the lack of a geological 

timeline of periods and the place of families in 

the hierarchy of classification, both of which 

would provide a better perspective of the fos-

sil groups covered in the first chapter. 
“Trees” is not quite a coffee table book, with 

a 7.5- × 10-inch trim size, but it contains nu-

merous high-quality, full-color images, in-

cluding full-page images facing each chapter 

title page.  The format is much like a modern 

textbook with a single wide column of text 

and marginal figure captions.  Size and place-

ment of text figures varies throughout in an 

attractive way.  I found the book to be a pleas-

ant read and will include it on my undergrad 

reading list.  I especially encourage middle- 

and high-school teachers to request a copy for 

their libraries.  I suspect that it could provide 

an effective antidote for treating plant blind-


-Marshall D. Sundberg, Emporia State Univer-



Venerable Trees:  

History, Biology, and 

Conservation in the 


Tom Kimmerer 

2015.  ISBN-13:  978-0-


Hardcover, US$39.95. 288 


University Press of Ken-


With  Venerable Trees: History, Biology, and 

Conservation in the Bluegrass, Tom Kimmerer 

takes us on a remarkable journey that is at 

once cultural and personal, wide-ranging and 

intimate, challenging and inspirational. We 

travel across the landscape of the Bluegrass and 

Nashville Basin ecoregions, easily traversing 

the years between first settlement and today, 

and learn about a legacy ecosystem from a 

masterful guide. Kimmerer is an ecological 

detective. He pieces together physical 

evidence and historical accounts of the region 

to reveal the origin of the woodland pasture, 

“an anomalous vegetation area” still evident 

in the oldest trees alive today. Yet Kimmerer’s 

account is much more than an historical or 

ecological report. It is also a call to awareness, 

an invitation to view the disappearance of 

woodland pastures as the result of collective 

choices, as well as a prescription for improved 

management of our inheritance.
Our tour begins with a visit to a massive 

bur oak surrounded by a parking structure 

in Lexington, the sole survivor of what was 

once, not too long ago, a woodland pasture 

shaded by this oak and representatives of the 

other four venerable tree species: kingnut, 

chinkapin oak, blue ash, and Shumard oak. 

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Kimmerer dubs the burly giant the “St. Joe 

Oak” and, by naming the tree, acknowledges 

the importance of its long life as a member of 

a larger community that eventually included 

the humans who demanded its preservation. 

The St. Joe Oak, and the other named trees 

and groves that grace the pages of Venerable 

Trees, reminds us of a landscape that predates 

human settlement and our present-day 

structures, a landscape that we now glimpse 

with the help of our able guide.  
Large portions of the Bluegrass and Nashville 

Basin, we learn, were once mosaics of 

woodland pastures, forest, and meadows of 

cane and grasses. The botanist E. Lucy Braun, 

studying the region in the 1950s, was uncertain 

of its origin, believing that the environmental 

conditions there should have produced a 

continuous forest. Kimmerer deftly disputes 

the hypothesis that early settlers thinned the 

once-dense forests and instead investigates 

the interaction of several key factors over 

a longer time period that encompasses the 

settlement era. He weaves together natural 

history and memoir, biogeography, and 

dendrochronology to demonstrate that 

“today’s landscape is the direct descendant 

of the mosaic created by karst, drought, and 

bison.” The effect of clearing, fire, and Native 

American activities were not as relevant here 

as in other regions of the eastern United States.
Kimmerer’s ecological analysis is the heart 

of  Venerable Trees. His interpretation of the 

origin of woodland pastures is accompanied 

by a comparison with the analogous “wood 

pastures” of England. This comparison serves 

to not only strengthen his analysis, but also 

fuels the subsequent discussion of how best 

to conserve the ancient giants and remnant 

pastures that exist today. We continue touring 

the landscape with visits to several locations 

that exemplify good management and several 

in which management was an afterthought 

or development was prioritized. We see 

that woodland pastures can be maintained 

in agricultural areas with key changes to 

animal management, and in urbanizing areas, 

awareness and care can extend the lives of 

isolated trees. Kimmerer uses living examples 

such as the Old Schoolhouse Oak and the 

Elmwood Trees to suggest several “general 

rules of management” that reflect our current 

state of knowledge about tree reproduction 

and establishment and their susceptibility 

to root damage caused by construction and 

suburban lawn care.
For those of us encountering the Bluegrass 

and Nashville Basin for the first time, perhaps 

not having an investment of familiarity and 

connection in these particular trees, we meet 

with the challenge of considering how well we 

know our own regional landscape. Kimmerer 

indirectly asks us to consider the way in which 

natural landscape elements are gradually but 

permanently altered by human actions. His 

words are a subtle call for an integrated human-

nature landscape and for understanding the 

needs of that which we value.  Many venerable 

trees remain because people learned to value 

the park-like atmosphere that they created in 

cemeteries and preserved estates. Others were 

the focus of active campaigns to protect them 

during construction or to care for them after 

lightning strikes or disease.  
This impressive synthesis of several fields of 

study is clearly the result of many decades 

of research and exploration. Readers new 

to these topics will find food for thought 

in Kimmerer’s technical detail about mast 

fruiting, dendrochronology, the effect of 

lightning strikes, and range shifts in response 

to climate change. The more experienced 

reader may find inspiration in the author’s 

thoughtful discussion of ecological 

management and restoration planting. All 

who appreciate trees will enjoy the dozens of 

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Book Reviews

color photographs and the species list with 

habitat notes. Just as venerable trees increase 

as we move away from city centers, our view 

enlarges as we move away from “what is” and 

consider “what might be.”  
The promise of this book’s title is fulfilled. A 

venerable being, Webster’s dictionary tells 

us, is one that “calls forth respect through 

age, character, and attainments.” The story of 

the woodland pasture trees not only evokes 

a respectful awareness, but also suggests the 

profound relationships we are capable of 

having with long-lived species able to shelter 

many generations of our own.
-By Andrea Kornbluh, Rowan University


The Botany of Empire 

in the Long Eighteenth 


Yota Batsaki, Sarah Burke 

Cahalan and Anatole 

Tchikine, Eds. 

2016.  ISBN-13: 



Hardcover, US$90.00, 


, €81.00. 406 pp.

Dumbarton Oaks Symposia 

and Colloquia, Dumbarton 

Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC.

The Botany of Empire is a lavishly illustrated 

and carefully documented volume, extending 

presentations from a symposium marking the 

fiftieth anniversary of the Rare Book Room at 

the Dumbarton Oaks Research Center. The 

editors are long-time affiliates of Dumbarton 

Oaks: Yota Batsaki is Executive Director; 

Sarah Burke Cahalan is Director of the Marian 

Library, University of Dayton, formerly special 

projects and reference librarian at Dumbarton 

Oaks; Anatole Tchikine is Assistant Director 

of Garden and Landscape Studies, Dumbarton 

Oaks. Nearly all images reproduced are from 

volumes held in the Dumbarton Oaks Rare 

Book Collection; if from elsewhere, they are 

for purposes of comparison. 
This endeavor spearheads strengthening 

connections to the history of science. 

It documents widespread exploration 

worldwide, and derives from the massive 

increase in collection of botanical specimens, 

taxonomic breakthroughs, and horticultural 

experimentation during the 18th century. 

Contributors to this volume compare the 

impact of those new developments and 

discoveries as several regions broadened their 

geographical possessions beyond the better-

branded British, Dutch, French, and Spanish 

empires. These studies examine the botanical 

ambitions of 18th-century empires; some 

notable botanical explorers; links between 

imperial ambition and the impulse to survey, 

map, and collect botanical specimens in 

“new” territories; and the relationships among 

botanical knowledge, personal motivations, 

and material culture. Organizationally, the 

contributions are divided into four parts that 

follow the Editors’ Introduction. Chapter titles 

are provided here.
Part I: Botanical Ambitions, features 

“Botanical Conquistadors: The Promises 

and Challenges of Imperial Botany in the 

Hispanic Enlightenment,” establishing that 

botanical exploration was a global enterprise 

with high economic stakes that relied on 

institutional networks and received strong 

state support in the quest for new raw 

materials; “The Geography of Ginseng and 

the Strange Alchemy of Needs,” wherein a 

Jesuit account of Chinese ginseng published 

in Paris, read by a missionary in Quebec, 

led to the unlikely discovery of the plant 

in North America; “Weeping Willows and 

Dwarfed Trees: Plants in Chinese Gardens 

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under Western Eyes,” communicates Jesuit 

accounts showing the Chinese garden as the 

product of an enlightened empire, worthy of 

imitation due to its informal aesthetic and 

low cost, although that view was subsequently 

reversed, considering it perhaps as perverse 

manipulation of nature; “Echoes of Empire: 

Redefining the Botanical Garden in 

Eighteenth-Century Tuscany,” offers a concise 

trajectory of the botanical garden.
Part II: Agents of Empire? scrutinizes 

the notion of botanist as agent of empire 

through several case studies. “The Politics 

of Secular Pilgrimage: Paul-Émile Botta’s 

Red Sea Expedition, 1836–39,” indicates that 

Botta’s success rested on his knowledge of 

area languages and geopolitics, and his ability 

to establish local connections and navigate 

local conflicts, then highlights the extent to 

which botanical practices were enmeshed in 

other areas of expertise (e.g., in this example, 

archaeology and diplomacy); “François Le 

Vaillant: Resistant Botanist?” reveals his 

criticism of botanical illustration for its two-

dimensionality, and its deplorable neglect 

of indigenous knowledge of indigenous 

ecosystems; “Thomas McDonnell’s Opium: 

Circulating Plants, Patronage, and Power in 

Britain, China, and New Zealand, 1830s–50s,” 

displays how metropolitan centers connected 

activities on the periphery.
Part III: Botanical Itineraries, conveys 

“On Diplomacy and Botanical Gifts: France, 

Mysore, and Mauritius in 1788,” tracing some 

interpersonal trajectories of 18th-century 

colonial botany featuring nutmeg, cloves, 

and cinnamon, spices not native to France; 

“From Local to Global: Balsa Rafts and a 

Bountiful Harvest from Ecuador,” advances 

an appreciation of river transport; “’In 

Imperio Rutheno’: Johann Amman’s Stirpium 

rariorum (1739) and the Foundation of 

Russia’s Botanical Empire,” assesses Russian 

imperialist aspirations especially where they 

came in conflict with Ottoman and Safavid 

Part IV: Cultivating Identities, includes 

“Ornamental Exotica: Transplanting the 

Aesthetics of Tea Consumption and the Birth 

of a British Exotic,” explores the cultural 

effects of tea as commodity by focusing on 

how tea consumption in England penetrated 

its commerce and sensory experiences; 

“Allegories of Alterity: Flora’s Children as 

the Four Continents,” examines Robert 

Thornton’s Temple of Flora that personifies 

each plant, assigning to each racial and 

cultural characteristics associated with 

its territory in a hierarchical scheme that 

privileges Europe as the locus of culture and 

power, but tainted ideological associations 

with plants from Africa, America, and Asia; 

“Ottoman Horticulture after the Tulip Era: 

Botanizing Consuls, Garden Diplomacy, 

and the First Foreign Head Gardener,” 

brings to learned European audiences a 

more sophisticated picture of Ottoman 

culture than those found in conventional 

“Orientalist” accounts; “Making ‘Mongolian’ 

Nature: Medicinal Plants and Qing Empire 

in the Long Eighteenth Century,” contrasts 

Linnaean taxonomy with its multiethnic 

and multilingual form; “William Bartram’s 

Drawing of a New Species of Arethusa (1796): 

Portrait of a Life,” interprets Bartram’s drawing 

as “a historical reflection reminding those 

who might choose to interpret the young 

nation—or the course of their own lives—as 

the product of a revolutionary break with the 

past that the present and future are, in fact, 

embedded in historical relationships that are 

continuous and ever-binding,” or as sculptor 

Richard Berger (1997) more succinctly stated: 

“History Never Lets Go.” 
As with other books in this scholarly series, 

the volume unearths substantial historical 

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artworks from Dumbarton Oaks’ rare book 

collections: 174 exquisite color illustrations, 6 

halftones, 1 line drawing, 1 map, 1 table; each 

article is thoroughly researched, evident from 

the abundant endnotes; the writing is precise 

and the arguments are well-defined; and it 

closes with a 14-page author and subject 

Index and Contributors’ biographies. Readers 

who enjoy botanical chronicles, as well as 

contemporary plant explorers, will appreciate 

these diverse approaches that enrich our 

knowledge about the historic pursuit of green 


Literature Cited

Berger, Richard. 1997. History Never Lets Go. 

Plexiglas, Lights and Motors.

–By Dorothea Bedigian, Missouri Botanical 

Garden, St. Louis, Missouri

Sound and Scent in 

the Garden 

D. Fairchild Ruggles, Ed. 

2017.  ISBN-13: 978-0-


Hardcover, US$65.00, 

£51.95, €58.50. 362 pp.

Dumbarton Oaks Symposia 

and Colloquia, Dumbarton 

Oaks Research Library and 

Collection, Washington, DC.

The 2014 Dumbarton Oaks symposium in 

Garden and Landscape Studies was based on 

the theme of sensory perception. Presentations 

explored the ways that historical encounters 

with sound and scent can be reclaimed, and 

explained the implication of those essences 

for landscape design. In what ways are plants, 

gardens, and landscapes shaped to stimulate 

the senses and to promote healing? The 

Editor’s Introduction closes with the proposal 

that the volume’s lasting contribution may be 

to show the wide variety of approaches that 

we can apply to the study of sensory history, 

signifying that audition and olfaction have 

always been important dimensions in the 

experience of gardens.
Although visitors may generally consider 

gardens as places for visual experiences, Sound 

and Scent in the Garden explores selected, 

more elusive encounters of sound and smell, 

that stimulate the sensations of humans 

mightily. Sounds of fountains, footsteps, 

raindrops, wind, bells, and birdsongs mingle 

with scents of fragrant flowers, sunbaked 

soil, bitter medicinal herbs, earthy leaf litter, 

humus, or mushrooms to become soothing or 

stimulating, while their sources are subtle and 

distant with low visibility.
Strikingly, the titles of several contributions 

are evocative and poetic, e.g., “Perfuming 

the Heart: A Study of a Seventeenth-Century 

Perfumery Treatise from Islamic India”; “The 

Scent of Power: Flowers, Fragrance, and 

Ephemerality in the Gardens of Louis XIV”; 

“Sounds and Scents of Monsoon in the Late 

Medieval Gardens of Rajasthan”; “Lilac and 

Nightingale: A Heritage of Scent and Sound at 

Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill.”
Imagery to delight the imagination abounds 

in this volume: Visitors to an ancient Chinese 

garden found zither music; the recipe for 

preparation of aloeswood incense (ūd) 

instructs the reader to break up 1 kg of the best 

quality aloeswood into small pieces, and soak 

these pieces for three days and three nights in 

rose water strengthened with petals of Rosa 

damascena. The chips of aloeswood are to 

be dried in the shade and later crushed very 

fine. Sugar syrup, in which ambergris soaked 

in rose water, and the crushed aloeswood are 

combined, and the whole is set aside to cool. 

Finally, small balls, each the size of a grape, 

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are formed from this paste, dried in the shade 

in a china dish, and burned when required, 

to scent a space or perfume one’s apparel. The 

writer observed in 1996 that this is a ritual still 

practiced in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
The architectural element of the pavilion 

features prominently in the monsoon gardens 

of Rajasthan. The moonlight garden was an 

essential part of all Rajput palaces, as the 

gardens would mostly be enjoyed at night 

in the summers and during the monsoons. 

Water features were abundant: canals, tanks, 

cascades, and water under pressure that 

would pass with considerable force through 

pipes embedded in hollow pillars of the 

structure, helping to rotate iron balls to create 

the artificial sound of thunder. 
Water structures of the Italian Garden are 

conspicuous as well, described in itineraries 

from the 16th century as “murmuring,” 

“whispering,” “pattering,” and “humming” 

streams, in “The Expulsion of the Senses,” 

which includes lavish photographs by author 

Anatole Tchikine. His Appendix translates 

a 1931 cultural manifesto that remains a 

foundational statement of the Fascist “garden 

of reason,” a product of the artistic subjugation 

of nature constructed on purely rational lines.
This admirable tome was edited by D. Fairchild 

Ruggles, Professor in the Department of 

Landscape Architecture at the University of 

Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. As with other 

books in this scholarly series, the endeavor 

unearths substantial historical artworks from 

rare books, including the Dumbarton Oaks 

collection, delivering 13 color illustrations, 

113 halftone and color photos, and 4 line 

drawings. Each article is well-researched, 

evident from the abundant endnotes; the 

writing is clear and the arguments are well-

presented; and the book closes with a 14-page 

author and subject Index and Contributor 

biographies. Historians who admire garden 

architecture, connoisseurs of scented and 

aesthetic gardens, innovative professional 

landscape installers, as well as contemporary 

perfumers will appreciate these diverse 

approaches that deepen our learning about 

the world’s botanical and cultural heritage. 
–By Dorothea Bedigian, Missouri Botanical 

Garden, St. Louis, Missouri


Celia Fisher 

2017.  ISBN-13: 



Hardcover, £16.00. 224 


Reaktion Books, London. 

Celia Fisher’s Tulip 

presents a concisely 

written account of 

various wild tulips, 

from their origins in the mountains of Central 

Asia, to their cultivation in the gardens of 

Mughal, Persian and Ottoman rulers, and 

their transfer along the silk route. Tulip  is 

an appropriately illustrated botanical and 

cultural history of this beloved bulb. It depicts 

tulip representations on a trove of art treasures 

across diverse formats, including charming 

patterns on tiles from Iznik, Turkey, lacquer 

book bindings, bedsheets, fabric designs, 

manuscripts, paintings, and the august 

painting from Thornton’s Temple of Flora, 

a grand scale reproduction of it adorning 

the reading room of the Missouri Botanical 

Garden’s Peter H. Raven Library.  
Fisher is a freelance art historian and plant 

specialist who has written several stylistically 

popular books on natural history, plants, and 

gardens in art, including “Flowers and Fruit: 

National Gallery Pocket Guide (2000),” “The 

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Medieval Flower Book (2007),” “Flowers of 

the Renaissance (2011),” “Flower: Paintings 

by 40 Great Artists (2012),” “The Golden Age 

of Flowers: Botanical Illustration in the Age of 

Discovery 1600-1800 (2013),” and “The Magic 

of Birds (2014).”
Fisher’s Acknowledgements reveal that she 

relied heavily on Diana Everett’s salient 2013 

volume, reviewed in these pages (Bedigian 

2014), from which she acquired 11 illustrations 

of tulips in their natural habitats, as well as 

substantial scientific details. The contents 

include wild tulips; Turkish tulips; the 

economics of “Tulipomania,” during which 

the frenzy that rare tulips inspired among 

ostentatious collectors caused an economic 

bubble; links with artists’ tulips, and literature 

that tulips have roused, from Dutch Masters 

to Alexandre Dumas’ novel, “The Black 

Tulip.” Botanists, florists, plant hunters, and 

nurserymen are all are counted in brief.
Fisher’s book joins the ranks of numerous 

other writings about tulips aimed at amateurs; 

a subject search of non-fiction titles in 

WorldCat® related to tulips uncovers 781 

books, 85 serials, and 7 articles. Fisher’s 

Tulip contains 107 illustrations, 104 in color, 

reproduced on high-quality paper stock, 

printed and nicely bound in China; it closes 

with a short Timeline beginning with the year 

1070 AD when Seljuk Turks began to conquer 

eastern Anatolia, creating the first ceramic tiles 

that feature tulips, simultaneously with the 

Persian poet Omar Khayyam’s compositions 

of verses in his Rubaiyat, the first literature 

to mention tulips. Fisher’s Tulip can appeal 

to weekend gardeners, horticulturalists, 

and history buffs who admire or grow this 

fashionable flower. 
–By Dorothea Bedigian, Missouri Botanical 

Garden, St. Louis, Missouri


The Botany of Man-

groves, Second Edition

P. B. Tomlinson

2016.  ISBN-13: 978-1-107-


Hardcover, US$84.99. 418 


Cambridge University Press, 

Cambridge, U.K.

Thirty years ago, I wrote my first grant pro-

posal to study mangroves and began an odys-

sey through mangrove ecology that continues 

to this day. Six months earlier, P. B. Tomlin-

son had published The Botany of Mangroves

which, despite scant reviews (I can only locate 

two: one written by Ong Jin-Eong [1987] for 

Trends in Ecology & Evolution, and the oth-

er by Alwyn Gentry [1987] for Annals of the 

Missouri Botanical Garden), was welcomed 

worldwide as the go-to reference for floristics, 

biogeography, and especially its unified treat-

ment of, and identification guide to, “true” 

mangroves and mangrove “associates.” Al-

though not a formal taxonomic monograph, 

the first edition of The Botany of Mangroves 

more than fulfilled its intended goal of intro-

ducing mangroves and mangrove ecosystems 

(“mangal”) to a much broader audience of sci-

entists, foresters, conservation biologists, and 

restorationists. I relied heavily on The Botany 

of Mangroves to ground my fanciful proposals 

in the reality of working in dense Belizean for-

ests of “walking trees.”

Literature Cited

Bedigian, D. 2014. Plant Science Bulletin 60(3): 

170-172. The Genus Tulipa. Tulips of the World. 

Diana Everett. 2013. Kew Publishing, Royal Bo-

tanic Gardens, Kew.

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The first edition of The Botany of Mangroves 

was re-issued in a paperback edition (1994) 

with minor updates in a seven-page Appen-

dix. Now, nearly a quarter-century later, the 

second edition provides more comprehen-

sive updates to chapters in the first section 

(“General Account”) on biogeography, shoot 

and leaf systems, structural biology, and in-

teractions with people. Most notably, this first 

section includes a new first chapter—“His-

torical Prelude”—reviewing Georg Everhard 

Rumpf’s (a.k.a. Rumphius; 1627–1702) early 

description of 19 species of true mangroves 

(“Mangium legitimum”) from the Dutch col-

ony of Amboina (now Ambon Island in In-

donesia). The material in this chapter is based 

on Beekman’s (2011) six-volume translation 

of Rumphius’ Herbarium Amboinense and is a 

most welcome introduction to the long history 

of botanical explorations of mangroves (sum-

marized in Kathiresan and Bingham, 2001). 

Rumphius, Tomlinson, and all other students 

of mangroves recognize that “mangrove” is 

not a taxonomic grouping, but an ecological 

one that provides seemingly endless opportu-

nities for studying convergent evolution. 

In terms of literature review and synthesis, 

however, the other 10 chapters in the first 

section leave much to be desired. As in the first 

edition, and reflecting the author’s expertise 

in anatomy, physiology, and functional 

morphology, ecology and conservation are 

given short shrift. A thorough review of 

mangrove ecology and conservation—of 

which >10,000 articles have been published 

since 1987 alone—deserves its own book, 

which remains to be written (excellent 

reviews of that literature, uncited in The 

Botany of Mangroves, include Kathiresan and 

Bingham, 2001; Walters et al., 2008; Feller 

et al., 2010; Sandilyan and Kathiresan, 2012; 

and Lopez-Angarita et al., 2016). At the same 

time, the still-burgeoning literature on other 

aspects mangrove “plant science”—more than 

1000 articles published 1987–2015—is only 

cursorily reviewed; for his updates of new but 

basic information, Tomlinson apologetically 

(p. xii) relies on only a few dozen primary 

articles or reviews published in the last 15 years.
The second section, occupying nearly 60% of 

the book, is a detailed description of the 36 

families that include true mangroves (trees 

characteristically found growing in tidal 

swamps that have anatomical, physiological, 

and morphological specialization for living in 

salt water) and mangrove associates (trees and 

shrubs, and a few herbs, that grow in mangal 

but are not restricted to it). These botanical 

descriptions reflect systematic and nomencla-

tural changes that have occurred since 1987. 

The most notable are in the Rhizophoraceae 

and  Avicennia (Avicennicaceae) and reflect 

Duke’s (2006) treatment of Australian man-

groves. A handful of hybrids, some of which 

were hypothesized in the first edition of The 

Botany of Mangroves, have been confirmed 

by molecular methods and are fully treated 

in the second edition. Unlike in the first edi-

tion, the treatment of each family begins on 

its own page, making it much easier to read. 

This section easily supplants that of the first 

edition as the standard reference for students, 

researchers, and practitioners working with 

mangroves in the field.
The Botany of Mangroves is copiously illus-

trated, but the numerous photographs and 

line drawings, so crucial to identifying, un-

derstanding, and appreciating mangroves, are 

a mixed bag. On the very positive side, the 

second edition includes an expansive section 

of 24 color photographic plates illustrating 

many aspects of mangrove flora and fauna. 

(Full disclosure: I took 9 of the 177 individu-

al photographs.) Mangroves are enlivened by 

the stunning photographs of bark and roots; 

fruits, flowers, and leaves; the unusual vivipa-

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rous seedlings; microscopic details of leaf and 

wood anatomy; and the forests and the people 

living and working in them. On the downside, 

however, the line drawings and most of the 

black-and-white photographs that are placed 

throughout the text appear simply to have 

been scanned at low resolution from the first 

edition, and then enlarged to the somewhat 

larger format of the second edition. The result 

is a substantial fuzziness and loss of details 

crucial for accurate identification of species. 

Some of the enchanting humor has been lost, 

too. In the first edition, but not the second, 

Tomlinson quoted Watson’s (1928) descrip-

tion of Avicennia alba fruits as “resembling a 

gorged leech” that “as spent swimmers, that 

do cling together and choke their art.”
From Nearchus and Theophrastus, through 

Plutarch, Abou’l Abass, and Rumphius, and 

down to the present day, mangroves have 

fascinated scholars, authors, and travelers 

(Kathiresan and Bingham, 2001). Rumphi-

us (fide Beekman, 2011) admired the “man-

gi-mangi” for their ability to live in salt water 

and their novel anatomy and morphology, 

whereas Steinbeck (1951) referred to them 

as places of “stalking, quiet murder.” Tomlin-

son’s The Botany of Mangroves is a must-read 

for anyone starting out in studying mangroves 

and mangal, and a key reference for all of us 

actively working on these amazing plants and 

the ecosystems that they build.

—Aaron M. Ellison, Harvard University, Har-

vard Forest, Petersham, Massachusetts, USA; 

Literature Cited

Beekman, E. M. 2011. The  Amboinese  Herbal

An English Translation of Georgius Everhardus 

Rumphius (Georg Eberhard Rumpf, 1627–1702). 

Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.

Duke, N.C. 2006. Australia’s Mangroves: The Au-

thoritative Guide to Australia’s Mangrove Plants

University of Queensland Press, Brisbane, Australia.

Feller, I. C., C. E. Lovelock, U. Berger, K. L. 

McKee, S. B. Joye, and M. C. Ball. 2010. Bio-

complexity in mangrove ecosystems. Annual Re-

view of Marine Science 2: 395–410.

Gentry, A. 1986. Review: The Botany of Man-

groves. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 

74: 460–462.

Kathiresan, K., and B. L. Bingham. 2001. Biology 

of mangroves and mangrove ecosystems. Advanc-

es in Marine Biology 40: 81–251.

Lopez-Angarita, J., C. M. Roberts, A. Tilley, J. P. 

Hawkins, and R. G. Cooke. 2016. Mangroves and 

people: lessons from a history of use and abuse 

in four Latin American countries. Forest Ecology 

and Management 368: 151–162.

Ong, J.E. 2987. Mangrove systematics. Trends in 

Ecology & Evolution 2: 111.

Steinbeck, J. 1951. The Log from the Sea of Cor-

tez. Penguin Books, New York, New York, USA.

Sandilyan, S., and K. Kathiresan. 2012. Mangrove 

conservation: a global perspective. Biodiversity 

and Conservation 21: 3523–3542.

Walters, B. B., P. Ronnback, J. M. Kovacs, B. 

Crona, S. A. Hussain, R. Badola, J. H. Primave-

ra, et al. 2008. Ethnobiology, socio-economics 

and management of mangrove forests: a review. 

Aquatic Botany 89: 220–236.

Watson, J. G. 1928. Mangrove forests of the Ma-

lay Peninsula. Malay Forest Records 6.

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Plant Science Bulletin

                                                                                     Fall 2017 Volume 63 Number 3

It was another fantastic conference!

This wordle, taken from BOTANY 2017 survey results, 

displays the important factors that make our confer-




One important word that may get lost here is CAN. The 

conference opens doorways for collaboration, for learn-

ing, and for camaraderie—these things CAN be possi-

ble through the work and spirit of conference attendees.  

We'll see you at BOTANY 2018  

in Rochester, MN 

July 21-25!

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Rochester, Minnesota

Join these Societies for the  

Premier Scientific Conference of 2018!

Rochester, Minnesota 

July 21-25

Plenary Speaker 

Dr. Walter Judd

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