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Cheadle Applications

Keir Wefferling
  • Abstract 1 Type:
    Paper
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  • Abstract 1 Title:
    Disentangling the subalpine marshmarigold polyploid complex: Phylogeography of Caltha leptosepala s.l. (Ranunculaceae).
  • Abstract 1 Significance:

    Using morphological, molecular, and cytogenetic data, this integrative study of the Caltha leptosepala polyploid complex provides evidence for last glacial maximum persistence in southern refugia (in the Pacific Northwest of North America), and points to the Cascade-Sierra axis as the most important source for recolonization of deglaciated northern regions.

  • Faculty Advisor:
    Sara B Hoot
Alexandra Golden
  • Abstract 1 Type:
    Poster
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  • Abstract 1 Title:
    Engaging the Public in Botany Through "Treasured Trees"
  • Abstract 1 Significance:

    This work seeks to engage the public in botany and engage them in their local landscapes. I have created walking tours using native or common local tree species which I hope to use to increase interest in the landscapes of Columbia, SC. Public engagement projects are critical to the future of science, because it makes science accessible and fun for the public.

     

  • Cheadles Significance:

    Dr. Cheadle contributed to the knowledge of botanical anatomy, but his specimens which are preserved in herbaria will continue to be utilized in botanical research of all types and scopes and I think that is incredibly significant.

  • Interest in Botany Conference:

    I have become a botanist fairly recently, and I want to go to the Botany conference in order to expand my knowledge of current research in the field as well as to share my own passion for science education and outreach.

     

  • Importance of Topic:

    Botany is critically important for the 21st century. Cataloging plant species present in an area, for one, is an excellent way to gather a baseline for what a habitat looks like as well as to track invasive species and range expansion and contraction of native flora. Studying plant chemistry also derives useful compounds for modern medicine and industrial applications. Studying the plants themselves, their anatomy and taxonomy, helps elucidate the processes of evolution. Studying their natural history and their interactions with other species helps us understand how ecosystems work at fine levels.

     

  • Faculty Advisor:
    John Nelson
Farahnoz Khojayori
  • Abstract 1 Type:
    Paper
  • Abstract 1 URL:
  • Abstract 1 Title:
    CYC2-like genes elucidate floral symmetry evolution following a major biogeographic disjunction
  • Abstract 1 Significance:

    CYCLOIDEA 2-(CYC2)-like genes have been parallelly recruited in zygomorphic clades of core eudicots, and their modification associated with the reversal to actinomorphy (Hileman 2014; Martín-Trillo and Cubas 2010). Within the Malpighiaceae two paralogs of CYC2 have been identified, CYC2A and CYC2B, as a result of a gene duplication in the common ancestor of the family (Zhang et al., 2010, 2012, 2013, 2016). Comprised of nearly 1300 species, Malpighiaceae are distributed widely across the tropics with the majority of the species (~1150 species; 70 genera) residing within the ancestral habit of the New World (NW). While the remaining (150 species; 17 genera) have dispersed to the Old World (OW) through seven independent dispersal events (Davis and Anderson, 2010). Despite extensive diversity amongst species, NW Malpighiaceae display floral conservatism of floral zygomorphy and paired elaiophores on the calyx, maintained by the mutualistic relationship with oils-bees of the Tapinotaspidini and Centridini tribes (Anderson 1978; Vogel 1979; Vogel 1990; Anderson 1990; Simpson and Neff 1981; Sigrist and Sazima 2004; Davis et al. 2014). Conserved expression of CYC2A within the single dorsal and two lateral petals, and CYC2B’s restricted expression in the single dorsal petal associate with the floral morphology of NW Malpighiaceae (Zhang et al., 2010, 2012).

    Paleotropical Malpighiaceae, however, lost the association with oil-bees and thus lost the NW floral conservatism (Davis and Anderson 2010; Zhang et al., 2010, 2012, 2013; Davis et al., 2014).  Amongst these are the acridocarpoids, comprised of the African and Malagasy Acridocarpus Guillemin and Perrottet (ca. 32 species) and the Southeast Asian Brachylophon Oliver (ca. 2 species). Acridocarpoids diverged from the NW Malpighiaceae around 55 mya, with Acridocarpus now displaying a different form of zygomorphy characterized by two smaller dorsal, two lateral petals, and a single ventral petal; Brachylophon shows actinomorphy through small, white flowers. Our study elaborates on the divergence of floral morphology within an OW clade of Malpighiaceae, from both its NW sister clades and from one genus to the next.

    Previously, we found that loss of AnCYC2B and relaxation of AnCYC2A expression correlated with the pattern of zygomorphy in Acridocarpus natalitius and A. zanzibaricus (Zhang et al., 2012, 2013). However, after successfully cloning CYC2 sequences from seven additional species in Acridocarpus, we found that CYC2 gene evolution seems more complicated than previously thought. In particular, the evolution of these CYC2 paralogs in Acridocarpus seems to follow the distribution of species across the African terrain (Davis et al., 2002). Furthermore, we cloned two sequences of CYC2 from Brachylophon, BcCYC2A and BcCYC2B.  While BcCYC2A retained the NW pattern of expression, BcCYC2B presented only in the stamens.

    Our preliminary results suggest that the two genera diverged quickly upon arrival to OW. Acridocarpus flowers display floral zygomorphy different than the NW clades, and display two paired glands on the abaxial surface of the calyx, which produces sugars. Brachylophon, however, displays actinomorphic flowers with an eglandular calyx. Furthermore, both paralogs of CYC2 were maintained in Brachylophon, while in Acridocarpus evolution of CYC2 genes is more complicated with some species showing a loss of both paralogs, others maintenance of only CYC2A, and others maintenance of both CYC2A and CYC2B. Furthermore, differences in the expression patterns of CYC2 genes between Acridocarpus and Brachylophon, support the independent evolution of the two genera, quickly after arrival to the OW.  These pronounced differences are most likely the result of the response of the two genera to the pollinators in Africa and Southeast Asia, respectively. Thus our results help elucidate the impact of biogeographic disjunction on morphology through differences in selective pressures by pollinators. More than ever, our comparative genetic expression study suggests a model for floral evolution following this disjunction. 

     

  • Cheadles Significance:

    In his homage to Dr. Cheadle, Dr. Evert paints a picture of a dignified and exemplary man, who rose from humble beginnings to pave the way for all. His encomium demonstrates the exuberant passion and love for a man, who inspired, educated, and bestowed precious life lessons to all who met him. Thus in my opinion, Dr. Cheadle’s most significant contribution to Botany was his legacy of humanity. He serves as inspiration for all aspiring students, such as myself, through his dedication to science, his accomplishment as a human being, and his inspiration as an educator. His work at University of California Davis to elevate the research standards and prestige of the university by building strong relationships with students is utterly inspiring; particularly, his resilient support for students and their success, as demonstrated through his habitual breakfast meetings with students. Furthermore, Dr. Cheadle resilience during the turbulent events of the Civil Rights movements, and his generation of the first Chicano Studies program, exemplifies his fortitude as a man and his benevolence as a human being, entrusted with responsibility to safeguard all people. Nonetheless, his most noteworthy contributions to botany include his immense collection of specimens and his meticulous study of plant physiology, structure, and diversity. Particularly, his paper with Dr. Esau on “Size of pores and their contents in sieve elements of dicotyledons” is a body of work on which most of the knowledge about the vasculature and anatomy of plants is built upon. From the painstaking microscopy images of plant vasculature to sophisticated development of nomenclature, Dr. Cheadle’s work builds the foundation of the development and structural section in botanical sciences. His attention to detail exemplified in the aforementioned work, elucidates on the significance of development and intricacies of plant anatomical structures. Furthermore, his demonstrates the developmental process of vasculature structures and their associated functions in transfer of plant hormones and maintenance of plant structural integrity. 

     

  • Interest in Botany Conference:

    The Botany Conference is the annual meeting of the Botanical Society of America. It is a unique and venerable opportunity to meet a diverse congregation of students and professionals driven by their passion and curiosity in the field of botanical sciences. It is an opportunity to share the work in our lab and discover the current advances in the frontiers of science, while generating a conversation on preserving diversity of life, establishing novel techniques, and pushing the boundaries of knowledge. Most importantly, though, it is an opportunity to formulate friendships and collaborations, to learn from peers, and develop relationships with mentors. Personally, attending the Botany Conference will be most beneficial to my growth as a student, professional in botanical sciences, and a human being dedicated to the preservation of our planet. The institution in which I am conducting my studies, Virginia Commonwealth University, is a research 1 institution. However, the predominant focus of research is in animal and human fields, with a very limited number of individuals studying plants. Thus the Botany Conference will be a crucial event, for me personally, to share our research with fellow botanist, build friendships, and most importantly learn about the frontiers in plant sciences. In particular, I am very excited to attend the symposium hosted by Drs. Madelaine Bartlett and Chelsea Specht, that will address “the Role of Boundaries in Plant Diversification”. Their symposium embodies the study of development and structure by elucidating the multi-tiered and interdisciplinary approaches required for studying plant development and evolution, and the congruence of the two for plant diversification. 

     

  • Importance of Topic:

    As stated by Wilson, “Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction”. Observation of plant morphology reveals unique, elaborate, and highly sophisticated morphological adaptations, not seen in other multicellular organisms. Further study on the form and function of these intricate floral adaptations reveals highly elaborate pathways guided by natural selection and pollinator selection, which in combination with the plasticity of plants allows for exquisite morphological systems. As such plants provide a unique system for the study of the role of development and its mutualistic and perhaps antagonistic relationship with evolution. Specific plant adaptations allow for the sustenance of animals, development of habitats and niches, serve roles in pharmaceuticals, and help sustain levels of the primary molecules required for life. Study of these adaptations helps address the issues raised by climate change, increased world populations, and environmental shifts. For instance, loss of the main pollinator in Malpighiaceae, caused reversals to floral actinomorphy amongst paleotropical species, as well as loss of the stereotypical oils produced by their neotropical sisters. Therefore, study of the structure and elaboration of the narrative behind the structure through study of development, evolution, ecology, taxonomy, genetics, and much more allows us to understand these traits and later formulate plans for their conservation and maintenance. Particularly, in the current day and age, a comprehensive understanding of a trait, its evolution, and maintenance, which may be best discovered in the field of development and structure, will allow for better discourse on preserving our biodiversity and sustaining human intelligence. Therefore, botany is a necessary and exquisite field of study for the preservation of our habitats, communities, and basic sustainable conditions of life. 

     

  • Faculty Advisor:
    Dr. Wenheng Zhang
Aniket Sengupta
  • Abstract 1 Type:
    Paper
  • Abstract 1 URL:
  • Abstract 1 Title:
    Of central importance: control of carpel zygomorphy in tribe Antirrhineae by CYCLOIDEA-RADIALIS interaction.
  • Abstract 1 Significance:

    Fruit symmetry is an important systematic character for the tribe Antirrhineae. Though several decades of research has revealed the genetic basis of petal symmetry in the tribe, symmetry of carpels and fruits has received limited attention from molecular biologists. Similarly, though the diversity in morphology of fruit symmetry has been thoroughly described in Antirrhineae, the evolutionary history of this interesting diversity has received no modern phylogenetic treatment. We first reconstruct the history of fruit symmetry in the tribe, and then describe the molecular and developmental mechanisms that control two contrasting types of fruit symmetry. We provide the first holistic assessment of genetic basis and evolution of fruit symmetry in this group.

  • Cheadles Significance:

    Dr. Vernon Irving Cheadle’s contributions to botany are many, and well-known. I, however, will not mechanically catalogue the oft-repeated individual scientific accomplishments. I think his single greatest contribution to his field was changing the very way it was done.

    His work on monocotyledon vascular system was monumental. Monumental not merely because it was exhaustive (325 species) but also because it ushered a southern wind of change in angiosperm anatomy. For the longest time, monocot vasculature was considered simple, probably because it lacked woodiness and did not have ground tissue differentiated into multiple layers. Cheadle’s paper mainstreamed monocots into anatomical research and made them fashionable.

    Study of anatomy was mostly limited to the study of final forms of vascular elements up to early 1900s. Studying developmental progression was limited to size and shape of vascular elements (proto-, metaxylem, etc.). Cheadle, along with Katherine Esau, was one of the earliest to track the developmental changes in greater details. He was quick to grasp the utility of electron microscopy when they first became available commercially in 1950s­–1960s and used them to study finer ultrastructural details. This allowed him to focus on the cytological changes that accompanied developmental events in larger anatomical features. Anatomy was now not constrained to the study of cell wall and its activity; cytoplasm, membranes and organelles were getting there due recognition as well. By 1970s, this had become the standard practice.

    Around a century from his birth, people still dedicate their articles to Cheadle (Rice and McArthur 2004, Water Flow Through Xylem: An Investigation of a Fluid Dynamics Principle Applied to Plants.  The American Biology Teacher 66(2): 120–127).

  • Interest in Botany Conference:

    I have always been a botanist: my earliest fully formed memories are of looking at mossy walls in awe, and I was doing cross-species decapitation-and-grafting experiments as a pre-schooler. I feel at home in a community of botanists. In my graduate research, I look into developmental genetics of flower symmetry evolution. I employ tools from a wide array of botanical/biological fields to answer the questions I am asking. This puts my research at cross-roads of morphology, phylogenetics, molecular biology, and reverse-genetics. Botany 2018 has an audience diverse enough accommodate the entire breadth of my research. But it also has scope for the well-defined field of floral evo-devo. Science is becoming ever more collaborative, Botany Conference allows me to network with other scientists with similar, and (more interestingly) divergent research interests.

    Another important issue that draws me to Botany is that it increasingly works to provide platform towards minority groups. The conference has events and meetings tailored towards communities and allies of women, LGBTQ+, and racial minorities. Given my own background, I appreciate the opportunities Botany provides to minorities like me.

  • Importance of Topic:

    We are finally (re-)entering an era where botany has captured popular imagination; many widely-viewed space sagas now have major botanical “heroes” (for example, The Martian, The Expanse). The last time this happened was in the 18th-19th century where reports of exotic plants (insectivores, and such) inspired the European mind. To assess the importance of developmental and structural botany in this century, one has to keep in mind what has already been accomplished in the preceding ones. Since the age of exploration, botanists have painstakingly recorded the diversity and distribution of plant forms in intricate details. The big question in the botanical world now has changed from what and where (diversity and distribution) to how and why (genetic regulation and evolution). It falls on researchers specializing in plant genetics, molecular biology, and evo-devo to elucidate what generates and maintains the amazing diversity of plant-life on this planet.

    The implications of such endeavors will not remain restricted to academia but will impact the broader civilization as well. Two major areas where genetics in botany will be crucial are:

    1. Agriculture and global change
    2. Bioprospecting

    Agriculture is the mainstay of human population. With the rapid climatic challenge ahead of us, it falls on the botanists to identify existing plant varieties or engineer new ones that are desiccation and high temperature tolerant. First genomes of plants with CAM photosynthesis are already here and they will be key to understanding how plants survive aridity. Much work is being done towards developing resistant varieties through conventional breeding and genetic engineering. A similar bioprospecting effort to identify cheaper alternatives sources for plant-based medicine will need botanical and genetic expertise. Human population is expanding rapidly and the climatic change makes it an unprecedented challenge. Plant genetics will the key to confronting these concerns and fundamental to science and society in this century.

  • Faculty Advisor:
    Dr. Lena Hileman
Glen Morrison
  • Abstract 1 Type:
    Paper
  • Abstract 1 URL:
  • Abstract 1 Title:
    Testing the utility of morphological traits in delimiting a variable subspecies group, the Arctostaphylos glandulosa complex.
  • Abstract 1 Significance:

    Understanding patterns of variation within species is a long-held goal in biology and consequently the rank of subspecies has often been used to describe apparent groups within a species. The basis for such descriptions is primarily morphological. While advances in next-generation sequencing (NGS) for non-model species have increased the power of studies interrogating diversity within species, morphology is often studied less intensively in such investigations, or not all. Studies that do not adequately address morphology are limited in their ability to connect their findings to the morphological variation that motivated earlier studies of within-species diversity. By focusing efforts on both indepth morphological sampling, within individuals and within populations, and NGS sequence analyses, this investigation can directly test the hypotheses of diversity articulated by a morphological subspecies taxonomy. Additionally, this integrative approach has great power to assist meaningful conservation action, as we can potentially uncover important genetic diversity and provide the morphological information needed for field identification and protection.

  • Cheadles Significance:

    Anyone who has taken an introductory course in plant anatomy has benefitted from the foundational knowledge that Vernon I. Cheadle’s contributed to the field of botany through his research on the vascular anatomy on the monocots. The unique ways that xylem and phloem are arranged and develop in the monocots are one of the key features that demonstrate how the group differs from other angiosperms. Cheadle’s discoveries thus provide a very clear example of how different forms have evolved across the major groups of the flowering plants. This has both a large academic value, and large pedogolic value in teaching evolution. The dual value of Cheadle’s discoveries to both the botanical researcher and the classroom teacher is fitting as Vernon Cheadle himself was devoted to both the advancement of botanical science and to providing quality education at the universities where he taught and served as a leader. His career thus stands as a motivating example to botanists like myself who are early in their career and pursuing a future in research and education.

  • Interest in Botany Conference:

    As first year PhD student of plant biology, I am committed to building the large professional network I will need to become a more capable and insightful botanical researcher and find the opportunities I will need to advance in my career. I am working towards a career as a professor at a education-focused university, where I can teach courses in botany, evolution and quantitative methods, while continuing a research program focused on the development of student researchers. I am broadly interested in questions about the nature of genetic and phenotypic variation in plant species, and how this variation generates and reflects evolutionary diversification, while sometimes also clouding the recognition of diversification. Attending last year’s Botany meeting as a recent graduate on a PLANTS travel grant, I saw interesting new research and formed new professional relationships that have already helped me in my first year of PhD research. By attending Botany 2018 and presenting there I hope to grow and strengthen my professional network while giving back to the PLANTS program by serving as a graduate student mentor. The funding provided by the Vernon I. Cheadle travel grant will make the cost of attending less prohibitive and help me make the most of Botany 2018.

  • Importance of Topic:

    Botany has always been, and will always be an important scientific field. Plants are the foundation of almost all terrestrial ecosystems, are the direct or indirect source of every agricultural food product and many industrial products, and are a valuable source of natural products for pharmaceuticals - all these realities ensuring that botany will remain vital in the 21st century. Additionally, research performed with plants has repeatedly resulted in major biological breakthroughs: e.g. the discovery of (Mendelian) genetic inheritance, the discovery of transposable elements, etc. Botany also stands as one of the most highly accessible fields within biology, as plants are all around and generally easy to catch, making botany well suited to benefit from increasing interests in citizen science. Because society and science will continue to rely on the benefits of botany as our populations continue to grow on Earth, I suspect that botany has a promising future.

  • Faculty Advisor:
    Amy Litt
Ramhari Thapa
  • Abstract 1 Type:
    Paper
  • Abstract 1 URL:
  • Abstract 1 Title:
    The Development and Use of Microsatellite Markers for Investigating Clonal Diversity and Parental Origins in Complex Polyploid Species
  • Abstract 1 Significance:

    In this research, using the information from the next generation sequencing data, I have developed Microsatellite (SSR) markers specific to Antennaria species and used them to study the genetic diversity and parentage analysis in one of the polyploid agamic complexes, A. rosea.  Antennaria species are native to North America with center of diversity in the western rocky mountains of the USA. The genus is unique with characters like dioecious nature, occurrence of excessive polyploidy forms, and apomixis. SSR primers specific to Antennaria species have not been developed, and the SSR primers developed in this study will be useful for other research scholar trying to study the genetic diversity at the populations and species level in the genus. The primers will also be efficient in the study of parentage analysis for all the polyploid agamic complexes. As most of the markers are developed form the conserved regions, they might also be transferrable across other closely related genera. Study of genetic diversity and parentage analysis using microsatellite markers in polyploid species/ complexes is intricate compared to the use of these markers in the study of diploid species.  Here, the study serves as a good model for other studies using SSR markers in the polyploid species/complexes.

  • Cheadles Significance:

    Dr. Cheadle was a renowned botanist, an educator, and a productive research scientist. His research interest was in the study of vascular system in plants, especially monocots. He is known for his contributions explaining the evolution of sieve tubes and vessels in metaphloem and metaxylem respectively. His research work figured out the order in which vessel s are developed in the monocots, starting from the roots to the leaves and flowers.  His collaborative work with Dr. Katherine Esau has produced much research in the study of secondary phloem in dicots, which along with other anatomical studies, has produced thousands of precious microscopic slides. As a successful educator and an administrator, he is well remembered for his contributions in the Rhode Island State College and The University of California at Santa Barbara.  

  • Interest in Botany Conference:

    Botany Conference has always been a learning experience for me, and I have been attaining it every year since 2015. In the conference, I get the opportunity to meet research scholars with diverse research interest both from the USA and abroad. The conference also helps me to keep updated with the latest techniques and the methodologies introduced in my field of study, and help me gain new ideas to further my research work. The interactive workshops and the field trips are also very interesting and fruitful. These all the activities make Botany Conference one of the topmost priorities for me.

  • Importance of Topic:

    We require plants for our own existence; however, plants do not require us for their survival. In the 21st century, botany has become an important scientific field of study as degradation and disappearance of natural ecosystems, loss of habitats and hence biodiversity, loss of ethnobotanical knowledges etc. have affected the very essence of this science. It is a high time that the botanists from around the world bring together their knowledge and expertise in order to meet these challenges and preserve the biodiversity.

    With the advent of sophisticated technologies like next generation sequencing, advanced microscopy etc., and also the expansion of disciplines, Botany in the 21st century offers many interesting and challenging areas for the research.  Working with genes and genomes allows us to understand how plants have adapted to diverse habitats over a long period of time; reduced representation sequencing, target enrichment sequencing etc. allows us to confirm or reconstruct the phylogeny of different lineages etc. Similarly, studying different defense mechanisms, stress memories developed by plants etc. would allow us to understand the truth behind interesting and intricate life processes.

  • Faculty Advisor:
    Dr. Jennifer R. Mandel
Serena Macias
  • Abstract 1 Type:
    Paper
  • Abstract 1 URL:
  • Abstract 1 Title:
    Phylogenomics of Passiflora sect. Decaloba reveals strong biographic structuring of clades
  • Abstract 1 Significance:

    Passiflora section Decaloba is an important clade (ca. 120 spp.) in one of the new world's richest angiosperms plant families (Passifloraceae). Relationships within Section Decaloba remain ambiguous even after a considerable research effort that includes Sanger sequencing and curatorial herbarium work. The best approach to start disentangling the species limits and phylogenetics in such a diverse group is intensively sampling the species in this large clade. This research is unique in the sense that sampling across a diverse young clade, like Decaloba, covers a large geographical range. This study, to my knowledge, is one of few to have exclusively included herbarium samples using a 2b-RAD sequencing approach.  It is clear the success rate of extracting high quality DNA from herbarium samples is much lower compared to fresh dried material. Nevertheless, I find the fact that I am recovering supported phylogenetic relationships from species that are only represented in herbarium material, and whose field collections would be unfeasible, encouraging.

  • Cheadles Significance:

    I think Dr. Cheadles was a pioneer in plant anatomy and an outstanding precursor in science education. His work in vascular tissue elements has served as guidelines and cornerstone for a deeper understanding of angiosperms vascular tissue. The detail of his research in the phloem and xylem is fascinating. The effort he did to characterize as many species as possible is not commonly done, not even in the present times. His legacy will persist in plant anatomy, physiology research as well as in any taxonomic treatment and even in evolutionary studies.

  • Interest in Botany Conference:

    I think scientific conferences are an essential component of outreach for the scientific community. To attend to the Botany conference is relevant because Botany gathers together one of the biggest plant sciences researchers crowds in the continent. As a result of the high quality and innovative research being done in North America, the Botany conference has become a key event to be exposed to new ideas and approaches in the plant science field. I consider my work to be a good contribution to the diversity of projects to be presented in Botany. Its tropical species emphasis and the new perspective of using herbarium specimens with a high throughput sequencing will certainly be interesting for some participants of the conference.

    I haven’t yet had the chance of participating in a Botany conference.  I would love to be able to interact with researchers in the field of plants sciences. This year’s conference would be the ideal moment for me to participate in the conference because I am ahead of my last year in my Ph.D. program and I will have my first dissertation chapter ready by July. The opportunity of attending Botany would also allow me to look for potential post-docs and other collaboration opportunities. Lastly, as an international student from an underdeveloped country, I haven’t been in any major conferences; this would probably be the last chance for me to attend the Botany conference.

  • Importance of Topic:

    Botany encompasses such a huge diversity of research disciplines that is challenging to simplify its importance. I think botany will always be important to study because it provides the baseline information for many biological questions and hypotheses. Per example, any ecological research about land ecosystems has to start with a vegetation description component. Furthermore, without plants, life as we know it would not exist. Plants are one of the main biological components of our system earth and studying them is essential for the progress of ecology, evolution and human survival. Finally, I think the earth system is most likely going to suffer big climatic changes during the 21st century and botanical knowledge will play a vital role in protecting and preserving ecosystems, species and crops.

  • Faculty Advisor:
    Christine Edwards
Kali Mattingly
  • Abstract 1 Type:
    Paper
  • Abstract 1 URL:
  • Abstract 1 Title:
    Assessing the extent of hybridization between the invasive species Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife) and the horticultural species L. virgatum
  • Abstract 1 Significance:

    Despite being one of the most harmful invasive plant species in Eastern North America, genetic resources for studying Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife) have lagged (a handful of isozyme and AFLP studies have been undertaken). Our research fills this gap by developing SRAP (sequence related amplified polymorphism) markers for studying population structure in this species, and for distinguishing Lythrum salicaria from the closely related Lythrum virgatumLythrum virgatum can hybridize with L. salicaria to produce fertile offspring, and it has been hypothesized that introgression from L. virgatum to L. salicaria may promote invasiveness, as has been demonstrated in other systems. For purple loosestrife, the questions of whether introgression is occurring in the wild and, if so, to what extent are pertinent for management and for understanding genetic mechanisms of species invasiveness. We are currently using the genetic markers we have developed to examine wild populations for evidence of L. virgatum introgression. Detection of even a small degree of L. virgatum introgression would have major policy implications, because L. virgatum remains unregulated in many states.

  • Cheadles Significance:

    Any survey of plant evolution is basically a primer in how plants took over land. Evolution of vascular tissue allowed land plants to overcome one of the primary challenges of land--growth and transport in opposition to gravity. Often underappreciated by plant evolution classes, but illuminated by Dr. Cheadle, is the amazing the diversity of ways plant taxa diversified in terms of vascular tissue, evolving distinct arrangements of vessel elements and pith patterning. I also remember learning that monocots do not have "real" wood--that is their vascular elements are inferior to those of eudicots. I accepted this until seeing the magnificent palms in an oasis at Joshua Tree National Park last summer. These are the clear dominant species in this system and tower over the lowly shrubby eudicots nearby. I think Dr. Cheadle would agree that the vessels of monocots are underappreciated, having evolved convergently to those of eudicots to solve the same pressing issue of opposing gravity on land.

  • Interest in Botany Conference:

    I have never attended the Botany Conference, and look forward to becoming a part of this research community and networking with scientists in the field. I also welcome the opportunity to share my research and receive feedback, especially since the genetic methods I am learning are a new frontier for me. Finally, I am looking forward to exploring the interesting flora of the bluff country around Rochester along with fellow botanists.

  • Importance of Topic:

    From an applied perspective, botany encompasses so many things relevant to understanding our changing world, from signatures of climate change on plants that can't track their climates to novel species assemblages in urban systems. Plants, at the bottom trophic level, interact directly with the ecosystems that humans manipulate, so botanical indicators often act as first responders to anthropogenic impacts.

    From a pure scientific perspective, plants have always been the best systems for studying ecological and evolutionary processes because they are sessile, can be manipulated easily, and can provide much higher sample sizes than can be achieved than with mammals, for example. More scientists should be botanists.

  • Faculty Advisor:
    Steve Hovick
Farahnoz Khojayori
  • Abstract 1 Type:
    Paper
  • Abstract 1 URL:
  • Abstract 1 Title:
    CYC2-like genes elucidate floral symmetry evolution following a major biogeographic disjunction
  • Abstract 1 Significance:

    The Malpighiaceae family is one of the most diverse families of Angiosperms. Comprised of nearly 1300 species in 77 genera, the Malpighiaceae exhibit an extensive diversity in fruit morphology, habit, and distribution. However, despite their diversity, the majority of these New World(NW) show a highly conserved floral morphology that is associated with their oil-bee pollinators. The flowers of the NW Malpighiaceae are characterized by floral zygomorphy, which is established by a single dorsal banner petal, and oil-producing glands that are found in pairs on the abaxial surface of the sepals. Interestingly, this family originates in the NW, where the majority of the species are found, but nearly 150 species are dispersed in the Old World (OW) as a result of seven independent dispersal events. These OW clades show a loss of the stereotypical NW floral morphology, as a result of a loss of their association with their NW oil-bee pollinators. The oldest OW clade, the acridocarpoid clade, is comprised of two genera--Acridocarpus and Brachylophon. The species rich Acridocarpus is widely distributed across Africa and Madagascar, whereas the species poor Brachylophon is predominantly found in Southeast Asia. Interestingly, the flowers of Acridocarpus are characterized by a divergent floral zygomorphy, that is characterized by two small dorsal petals and three large ventralized petals, whereas Brachylophon is completely actinomorphic. Thus this presents a case in which two closely related genera, display independent modifications to their floral morphology as a result of the loss of their association with their oil-bee pollinators. Our use of evolutionary developmental techniques, to study the floral symmetry development of these two genera, elucidates on the mechanisms of floral symmetry evolution followed by a major biogeographic disjunction. Specifically, our results suggest that despite their diverse floral morphologies, these two genera may have shared a common genetic modification in their most recent common ancestor after their arrival to the OW. This conclusion is mainly supported by the conservation of both copies of CYCLOIDEA genes in these two genera, and an overlapping expression pattern of one of the copies. Thus our study demonstrates how evolutionary developmental techniques can shed light on floral symmetry evolution, specifically the evolution of the modification of the genetic mechanism following a major biogeographic disjunction.

  • Abstract 2 Type:
    2
  • Abstract 2 URL:
  • Abstract 2 Title:
    Floral ontogeny of Krameria lanceolata Torrey (Krameriaceae)
  • Abstract 2 Significance:

    The Krameriaceae family is a species poor family hat has long suffered in a debate regarding its taxonomic and systematic position. However, the most notable feature of this family is their floral zygomorphy and production of oil-glands, which are associated with the oil-bee pollination syndrome of the New World. These synapomorphic traits are also found in the Malpighiaceae family, which is much older than the Krameriaceae. Interestingly, both families exhibit floral zygomorphy and oil-producing glands, however the strategy for that display is different in each respective family. In the Malpighiaceae, floral zygomorphy is established mainly by the corolla whorl, in which a single dorsal petal distinguishes itself from the remaining petals, creating a single plane of symmetry. In the Krameriaceae, floral zygomorphy is established by a petaloid calyx and a flag in the adaxial position, comprised of the single dorsal and two lateral petals of the corolla. In addition, the Malpighiaceae oil-glands are found in pairs on the abaxial surface of the sepals, while in Krameriaceae the oil-glands are found as epithelial glands on the modified ventral petals. This demonstrates a convergence of traits, due to selection of a similar suite of pollinators. A thorough study of the development and genetic mechanisms of these traits has been done in the Malpighiaceae. However, little is known about the development of the flowers of Krameriaceae. Here, we provide the first study of the floral development of Krameriaceae flowers, based on the representative species Krameria lanceolata. In particular, our study focuses on observing the development of the flag, which results from a fusion of three petals, to attract and provide structural support for their oil-bee pollinators, who latch on with their mandibles to the thickened stalk of the flag and extract the oils from the ventral petals with their mid- and hind-legs. We hope that our use of scanning electron microscopy (SEM), will allow us to develop a better understanding of the floral development of these species and from there explore the underlying genetic mechanisms responsible for these adaptive traits.

  • Cheadles Significance:

    In his homage to Dr. Cheadle, Dr. Evert paints a picture of a dignified and exemplary man, who rose from humble beginnings to pave the way for all. His encomium demonstrates the exuberant passion and love for a man, who inspired, educated, and bestowed precious life lessons to all who met him. Thus in my opinion, Dr. Cheadle’s most significant contribution to Botany was his legacy of humanity. He serves as inspiration for all aspiring students, such as myself, through his dedication to science, his accomplishment as a human being, and his inspiration as an educator. His work at University of California Davis to elevate the research standards and prestige of the university by building strong relationships with students is utterly inspiring; particularly, his resilient support for students and their success, as demonstrated through his habitual breakfast meetings with students. Furthermore, Dr. Cheadle resilience during the turbulent events of the Civil Rights movements, and his generation of the first Chicano Studies program, exemplifies his fortitude as a man and his benevolence as a human being, entrusted with responsibility to safeguard all people. Nonetheless, his most noteworthy contributions to botany include his immense collection of specimens and his meticulous study of plant physiology, structure, and diversity. Particularly, his paper with Dr. Esau on “Size of pores and their contents in sieve elements of dicotyledons” is a body of work on which most of the knowledge about the vasculature and anatomy of plants is built upon. From the painstaking microscopy images of plant vasculature to sophisticated development of nomenclature, Dr. Cheadle’s work builds the foundation of the development and structural section in botanical sciences. His attention to detail exemplified in the aforementioned work, elucidates on the significance of development and intricacies of plant anatomical structures. Furthermore, his demonstrates the developmental process of vasculature structures and their associated functions in transfer of plant hormones and maintenance of plant structural integrity.

  • Interest in Botany Conference:

    The Botany Conference is the annual meeting of the Botanical Society of America. It is a unique and venerable opportunity to meet a diverse congregation of students and professionals driven by their passion and curiosity in the field of botanical sciences. It is an opportunity to share the work in our lab and discover the current advances in the frontiers of science, while generating a conversation on preserving diversity of life, establishing novel techniques, and pushing the boundaries of knowledge. Most importantly, though, it is an opportunity to formulate friendships and collaborations, to learn from peers, and develop relationships with mentors. Personally, attending the Botany Conference will be most beneficial to my growth as a student, a professional in botanical sciences, and a human being dedicated to the preservation of our planet. The institution in which I am conducting my studies, Virginia Commonwealth University, is a research 1 institution. However, the predominant focus of research is in animal and human fields, with a very limited number of individuals studying plants. Thus the Botany Conference will be a crucial event, for me personally, to share our research with fellow botanists, build friendships, and most importantly learn about the frontiers in plant sciences. In particular, I am very excited to attend the symposiums on the role of fossil plants in evolutionary and developmental techniques and implications of next generation sequencing on future studies of plant evolution. The talks by Drs. Pamela Soltis and Douglas Soltis on Angiosperm evolution are most intriguing, especially their overview of the 1000 Plants project and its implications on studies of plant evolution, development, and morphology.

  • Importance of Topic:

    Every form of life on earth depends on the plant kingdom. From the ecological roles of plants to provide oxygen and store nitrogen to provision of resources (such as fruits, oils, nectar), plants provide invaluable and irreplaceable resources for entire ecosystems and the biosphere as a whole. A deforestation in small area of Brazil reduces diversity of plants life and causes irreparable damage to the organisms dependent on them, such as insects, animals, and even humans, as well as detrimental effects for the entire ecosystem. One such consequence of anthropogenic and environmental modification of ecosystems, is the rapid extinction of diverse life forms. These extinctions lead to loss of highly specialized relationships between plants and animals, which can lead to drastic changes in the morphology and maintenance of either. For instance, the Malpighiaceae family is pollinated through a highly specialized relationship with New World oil-bees. Loss of this relationship, in species of Malpighiaceae that dispersed to the Old World has led to drastic changes in the morphology and diversity of these species. Specifically, loss of the association with oil-bees has caused these Old World species to completely lose their oil-production and develop new floral morphologies in response to the pollinators available in their ecosystem. This is one example of structural variation as a result of changes in environment and loss of highly specialized relationships. Therefore, it is incumbent upon scientists know, more than ever to understand the origins, development, and structural significance of traits in an ever changing world. It is through these discoveries that we may better understand the life around us and strive to preserve the diversity of life forms. But to answer these questions, we must combine study of structure and its development in order to understand the step-by-step processes that lead to the prized traits responsible for maintaining the species. Plant morphologies have captured the attention of botanists since the dawn of time, and led to copious notes on the mesmerizing beauty of plant traits. From large carnivorous flowers to the fine haustoria of parasitic plants to the specialized relationships between plants and pollinators, an extensive catalogue of plant diversity has been created. But it was not until the emergence of genetic tools, as early as Gregor Mendel’s research, that inarguable data was generated to categorize and connect traits amongst disparate plant groups based on shared, innate characterisitcs. Since then, sophisticated genetic tools have provided exponential data on the genetic code of plants. But sometimes what is in the code of a plant does not necessarily connect to the observed trait. Thus the field of development was born, to elucidate on the process and pathway from genes to traits. It is through development that a meaning is formed for each code of the genome and the ultimate morphological trait, by providing a step-by-step connection from genes to the product. Evolutionary development not only compares the inherent genetic condition of plants, by their morphology across time and across species to create a narrative depth both spatially and temporally. In order to achieve this, however a thorough understanding of the morphology, development, structure, environment, ecology, and genetics must come together to paint a clear narrative on the evolution and development of the structure. Personally, I am fascinated by the utilization of targeted and specific questions in combination with novel techniques to resolve the mysteries of the plant world and stories they hide.

  • Faculty Advisor:
    Dr. Wenheng Zhang
Rob Brandt
  • Abstract 1 Type:
    Paper
  • Abstract 1 URL:
  • Abstract 1 Title:
    Title 1
  • Abstract 1 Significance:

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  • Abstract 2 Type:
    1
  • Abstract 2 Significance:

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  • Cheadles Significance:

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  • Interest in Botany Conference:

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  • Importance of Topic:

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  • Faculty Advisor:
    Heather Cacanindin
Alexander Scharfstein
  • Abstract 1 Type:
    Paper
  • Abstract 1 URL:
  • Abstract 1 Title:
    Liquidambar-like infructescences from the Upper Cretaceous (Coniacian) Eden Main Quarry, Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
  • Abstract 1 Significance:

    This discovery of a Liquidambar-like infructescence, or fruiting head, in a calcium carbonate concretion from the Late Cretaceous of Vancouver Island has allowed a detailed comparative morphological and anatomical study with extant members of the family Altingiaceae and previously described fossils.  The new fossil infructescence adds to the earliest evidence of stem lineage Altingiaceae from the Late Cretaceous. We have updated the previously published morphological cladistic analysis of Altingiaceae and its closest relatives with an emphasis on reproductive structures. Incorporating this fossil in a cladistic analysis allows us to examine the patterns of character evolution and diversification of the Altingiaceae in the context of climatic and geographic distribution.

  • Cheadles Significance:

    In my opinion Dr. Cheadle's most significant contribution to the botanical community and the scientific community at large is his work on vessels. The importance of this work on water conducting cells in plants cannot be understated, and his extensive work on vessels is a major contribution to the field. In fact, Cheadle’s studies of monocot vessels from the 1940’s are still widely cited and used today. His work on secondary phloem, both alone and with Katherine Esau, is well-known and fundamental to our knowledge of the phloem of monocots and basal angiosperms.

  • Interest in Botany Conference:

    As this is my first time attending the conference, I would love to just find out what it's like to attend a scientific conference, to present my ideas to experts in the field, and to receive feedback. It is important for me to network with people, to exchange ideas about new research topics, and make discoveries about my scientific community.

  • Importance of Topic:

    Plants make up around 80% of earth's biomass, and are cornerstones in many food webs and ecosystems. We have a responsibility to continue researching plants in our rapidly changing climate. It is essential to track the past and predict the future of our environment if we are to thrive. Plants will always be a part of our lives, and the studying them is vital for our long term success and survival as a species.  

  • Faculty Advisor:
    Ruth A. Stockey
Matias Köhler
  • Abstract 1 Type:
    Paper
  • Abstract 1 URL:
  • Abstract 1 Title:
    Phylogenomics of a prickly history: new insights into the evolution of Opuntia (Cactaceae)
  • Abstract 1 Significance:

    My research focuses on the understanding of evolutionary relationships of plants through the use of molecular phylogenetic methods, as well as morphology and cytology, testing questions regarding the biogeographic history, morphological evolution, origins of species and species boundaries within groups. Opuntia (Cactaceae), the prickly pear cacti, has been the focus of this work, as the group exhibits a high frequency of hybridization often associated with polyploidy. The prickly pears cacti have a huge economical and ecological importance as food for human and animals. In this paper, we used plastome data to infer the evolution history of this group of plants. So, understanding this, we can provide useful information and new insights to the development of a variety of different studies on the prickly pear biology. My research focuses on the understanding of evolutionary relationships of plants through the use of molecular phylogenetic methods, as well as morphology and cytology, testing questions regarding the biogeographic history, morphological evolution, origins of species and species boundaries within groups. Opuntia (Cactaceae), the prickly pear cacti, has been the focus of this work, as the group exhibits a high frequency of hybridization often associated with polyploidy. The prickly pears cacti have a huge economical and ecological importance as food for human and animals. In this paper, we used plastome data to infer the evolution history of this group of plants. So, understanding this, we can provide useful information and new insights to the development of a variety of different studies on the prickly pear biology.

  • Cheadles Significance:

    I consider the research of Dr. Cheadle on the comparative structure of secondary phloem in dicotyledons is one of the most significant contributions to Botany.

  • Interest in Botany Conference:

    The Botany Conference is a great opportunity to meet pairs and exchange information regarding the ongoing projects that are being developed. As a PhD student, it is a huge opportunity to share the results that I am getting with my research, and being able to make new partnership and collaborations.

  • Importance of Topic:

    Botany is one of the major disciplines for the comprehension of living world. Plants are the base for food, medicine, wood, wear, air to breathing, everything. Besides that, being a Brazilian student, I am plenty aware of the urgent needed for research on our flora, one of the most biodiverse of the world, since there a lot of ecological and taxonomical information to be discovered.

  • Faculty Advisor:
    Lucas C. Majure
Zebadiah Yoko
  • Abstract 1 Type:
    Paper
  • Abstract 1 URL:
  • Abstract 1 Title:
    Teasing apart the scale of quantitative trait differences for restoration across heterogeneous landscapes
  • Abstract 1 Significance:

    My research focuses on genetically-driven differences in physiological, morphological, and stomatal traits across the range of prairie smoke (Geum triflorum Pursh), with the broader goal of informing restoration efforts by elucidating impacts of seed source on restoration success.

  • Cheadles Significance:

    I believe Dr. Cheadle's most significant contribution to Botany is his extensive work categorizing and compiling the collective knowledge of vascular tissue. In his special issue to AJB in 1956 he summarized the knowledge at the time and in his conclusion had a very well-stated call for further study of anatomy and morphology of plants to add to the literature. With the importance placed on water usage and efficience in the face of a shifting climate today, having a long tradition of study in plant morphology will be very important going in to the future.

  • Interest in Botany Conference:

    I am looking forward to attending this conference because I intend to graduate early in the fall so this will be the last chance to represent NDSU as a student. Additionally, it will be a great way to culminate my master’s research experience. I look forward to networking with and learning about the current research of the many like-minded professionals in the field.

  • Importance of Topic:

    While beginning my career as a young ecologist it was impressed upon me early how crucial botanical communities are. This was further inculcated while working at a wildlife refuge where one of the major duties was vegetation monitoring. I learned more about plant communities, and due to their importance, how well monitored they can and should be. This inspired me to pursue a master's degree (the research of which I am presenting at this conference), to better understand the botanical community, the impact plants have, and how, through ecological restoration, we can preserve the diverse communities we see all across the landscape. During my thesis research I have learned more about the important considerations managers need to consider when conducting restorations, particularly the importance of sourcing genetically-appropriate seed materials.

  • Faculty Advisor:
    Dr. Jill Hamilton
Megan Nibbelink
  • Abstract 1 Type:
    Paper
  • Abstract 1 URL:
  • Abstract 1 Title:
    Exploring zosterophyll diversity in the Emsian (Early Devonian) permineralized assemblages of the Battery Point Formation (Québec, Canada)
  • Abstract 1 Significance:

    ​​​​​​My abstract describes several new zosterophyll fossils from the Early Devonian of Canada. While these fossils are undeniably ancient, they are currently applicable to the understanding of our modern flora as well as that which inhabited the earth many millions of years ago. Zosterophylls are thought to be ancestors of the Lycophytes and at first glance are similar to fossils basal to Euphyllophytes. However, upon closer inspection of their anatomy, we find that these similarities are only superficial, with our fundamental division of Zosterophylls from the other group partially reliant on stele type. Other anatomical features of these plants, like cell size and stele shape, aid in determining the identity of each species. It is through these anatomical studies that we are better able to determine what the Emsian landscape of Canada looked like. Additionally, one of these fossils demonstrates a swirling pattern of Gosslingia-type tracheids that may represent a crozier which may lend some insight on the development of these plants.

  • Cheadles Significance:

    ​​​​​​Over the course of his tenure at two University of California campuses, Dr. Cheadle, along with Dr. Katherine Esau, amassed a diverse botanical collection and developed a far more intensive understanding of plant structure than had previous researchers, laying the foundation for today’s plant anatomy research.. Dr. Cheadle and Dr. Esau made tremendous headway in our understanding of a number of facets of plant anatomy, including landmark work on the ultrastructure of phloem. In fossils, oftentimes the vasculature is all of or most of what has persisted over the course of time. From this paleobotanical perspective, Dr. Cheadle and Dr. Esau’s contributions to these anatomical principles show enduring relevancy in recognizing the anatomy of extinct groups based on their vasculature. Personally, I find the enduring collaboration between Dr. Cheadle and Dr. Esau to be deeply important to our current understanding of plant anatomy. Their research is still relevant to anatomical studies performed today. Dr. Cheadle’s contributions as an educator were also a significant contribution. Frequently, a scientist’s contributions to education are overlooked in comparison with their research, but Dr. Cheadle’s work at University of California at Davis, University of California at Santa Barbara, and Rhode Island State College are also important to his legacy. While research is of tremendous importance in academia, interest in students is frequently overlooked. It is this kind of interest which cultivates the next generation of scientists. Through teaching, Cheadle undoubtedly played a role in his student’s futures.  

  • Interest in Botany Conference:

    ​​​​​​I am excited to participate in the 2019 Botanical Society of America conference this year because I am excited to share my findings with others. I have been deeply passionate about understanding the world around me since I was very young, and am looking forward to my first conference presentation. This fall, I will start my graduate studies, and BSA 2019 represents an opportunity for me to build connections with fellow botanists and explore current research.

  • Importance of Topic:
  • Faculty Advisor:
    Mihai Tomescu
Alexander Bippus
  • Abstract 1 Type:
    Paper
  • Abstract 1 URL:
  • Abstract 1 Title:
    Uncovering Mesozoic polar bryophyte diversity: A permineralized haplolepideous moss gametophyte from the Late Cretaceous of the north slope of Alaska
  • Abstract 1 Significance:

    I am describing a new species of moss from the Late Cretaceous of the north slope of Alaska. This fossil provides a rare glimpse of polar moss diversity in the Cretaceous. Very few moss fossils are known from pre-Cenozoic rocks, and even fewer are known from polar regions. Today mosses are major components of polar ecosystems. However, we know almost nothing about polar moss communities in geologic past. The Alaskan fossil has several morpho-anatomical adaptations for ectohydry, also seen in modern polar mosses. Therefore, it reveals that polar mosses have been exploiting the same adaptations to survive in harsh polar conditions for at least the last 80 million years.

  • Cheadles Significance:

    Dr. Cheadle made significant contributions to our knowledge of the differentiation and structure of vascular tissues in a wide variety of plant groups including basal angiosperms, monocotyledons, and dicotyledons. His work on the development and structure of sieve plate pores with Dr. Katherine Esau has proved to be particularly important. Several of Dr. Cheadle's papers with Dr. Esau were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and have remained to be foundational works in our understanding of phloem structure and differentiation. Some of Dr. Cheadle's studies with Dr. Esau also demonstrated the utility of transmission electron microscopy for understanding plant development at the ultrastructural scale. This approach has proved vital for understanding processes which lead to plant cell differentiation. Today, the molecular underpinnings of phloem differentiation are beginning to be unraveled, while the differentiation of sieve plate pores remains somewhat mysterious. The phloem remains a difficult to understand tissue using standard molecular techniques as mutations in phloem structure are often lethal. However, none of this knowledge would be possible without the painstaking pioneering work conducted by Dr. Cheadle.

  • Interest in Botany Conference:

    I have attended the Botany Conference for the last several years, and every time the experience has renewed my passion for my research and fostered new collaborations. It is a fantastic opportunity to get feedback from and speak with many scientists in my field. Every time that I have attended the conference, I have received respectful and helpful feedback on my research which has dramatically improved the quality of my work. Additionally, attending the conference has helped me to develop relationships with a wide variety of people in the botanical community. This connection to a larger community has helped support me through difficulties within my graduate school experience and has provided me with a network of mentors to turn to when I need help and support.  

  • Importance of Topic:

    Botany is a critical field for the 21st century because plants are vital to most aspects of human life. A rigorous understanding of plant life is critical in the face of climate change, habitat loss, and increasing demands on the global agricultural system. Innovative solutions for how human kind can flourish in the 21st century without further damaging the environment will require a generation of scientists well versed in botany. Information regarding plant organismal biology will continue to be important throughout the 21st century as this kind of knowledge is critical for the interpretation of large geospatial and molecular datasets.

  • Faculty Advisor:
    Ruth A. Stockey
Annika Smith
  • Abstract 1 Type:
    Paper
  • Abstract 1 URL:
  • Abstract 1 Title:
    How many ways are there to make a nectar spur? Studies in the nasturtiums (Tropaeolum).
  • Abstract 1 Significance:

    In my dissertation, I am exploring the evolution of floral diversity in Tropaeolum. Much of that diversity is found in the shape or size of the nectar spur of Tropaeolum, and is associated with shifts between hummingbird and bee pollination.

    In the process of reviewing the literature of the previous anatomical and developmental work done with Tropaeolum, I was surprised to learn that the question of the developmental origin of its spur was not resolved. I also realized that understanding the spur’s development is foundational to the study of the evolution of floral diversity in Tropaeolum, and that it was something I needed to explore in the course of my dissertation.


    The anatomical work I have done is significant because it is the first to trace the formation of vasculature through all stages of development in multiple species of Tropaeolum. My work merges the classical botanical histology techniques with new developments in image analysis that allow for 3-D visualization, throwing new light on the development of these enigmatic spurs, unique among flowering plants.

  • Cheadles Significance:

    I had not been familiar with the work of Dr. Cheadle before I began reading about him, and was surprised to hear how much he contributed to my understanding of plant structure, such as in his studies of secondary phloem. The American Journal of Botany's memorium for him explains not only his contributions to academic contributions, but also his dedication to his students, and his good character.

    https://botany.org/newsite/awards/Detail/VernonCheadle.php

  • Interest in Botany Conference:

    In my time as a graduate student, I have been able to attend the 2017 Botany Conference in Fort Worth), presenting research in the evo-devo section, and also attending all of the talks in the Anatomy & Morphology section (besides many others).

    I am looking forward to have the opportunity again to meet and converse with researchers whose work I follow, as well as to catch up with other botanical colleagues from institutions far from my own. I also realize the profound effect that the conference had on my trajectory as graduate student. I was exposed to ideas, methods, (and plants!) that I had not known before, and I can trace parts of my dissertation to inspiration from specific posters, presentations, and casual conversations.

  • Importance of Topic:

    I think that this is a very exciting and integrative time in Botany. As vast amounts of genetic data is more easily accessible, a key challenge is to understand how genomic changes underlie the stunning diversity of plant forms. The way to do this is through an understanding of the development and anatomy of plants, which link together evolution, genetics, epigenetics, and ecology.

  • Faculty Advisor:
    Drs. Pamela and Douglas Soltis
Amelia Neely
  • Abstract 1 Type:
    Poster
  • Abstract 1 URL:
  • Abstract 1 Title:
    Poster Title Test
  • Abstract 1 Significance:

    Testing Abstract 1 significance 

  • Abstract 2 Type:
    1
  • Abstract 2 URL:
  • Abstract 2 Title:
    Paper Title Test
  • Abstract 2 Significance:

    Testing Abstract 2 significance 

  • Cheadles Significance:

    He wore great hats

  • Interest in Botany Conference:

    To get away from it all

  • Importance of Topic:

    Plants rock

  • Faculty Advisor:
    Linus Neely