Botanical Society of America Awards Recipients 2020

We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020 awards provided by the Botanical Society of America. Here we provide recognition for outstanding efforts and contributions to the science of botany. We thank you for your support of these programs.

Given by SECTIONS   Given by SECTIONS

Awards for Established Scientists

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

Candace Galen, University of Missouri

James Leebens-Mack, University of Georgia

Charles Edwin Bessey Teaching Award (BSA in association with the Teaching Section and Education Committee)

No Award in 2020

Darbaker Prize
The Darbaker Prize in Phycology is given each year in memory of Dr. Leasure K. Darbaker. It is presented to a resident of North America for meritorious work in the study of microscopic algae based on papers published in English by the nominee during the last two full calendar years. This year The Darbaker Award for meritorious work on microscopic algae is presented to:

No Prize Awarded in 2020 

BSA Corresponding Members Award
Corresponding members are distinguished senior scientists who have made outstanding contributions to plant science and who live and work outside of the United States of America. Corresponding members are nominated by the Council, which reviews recommendations and credentials submitted by members, and elected by the membership at the annual BSA business meeting. Corresponding members have all the privileges of life-time members. 

No Award in 2020 


Donald R. Kaplan Memorial Lecture

Ned Friedman, Harvard University

William (Ned) Friedman is the Arnold Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University and the eighth Director of Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum. Friedman’s studies have fundamentally altered century-old views of the earliest phases of the evolution of flowering plants, Darwin’s so-called “abominable mystery.” He is also deeply interested in the history of early (pre-Darwinian) evolutionary thought and is particularly focused on the largely forgotten contributions of horticulturists and botanists. As Director of the Arnold Arboretum, Ned has worked to expand the Arboretum’s societal impact through diverse initiatives in public programming, enhanced communication between scientists and the public, the embedding of scientific scholarship within the living collections, and a reinvigoration of the long-standing relationship between the Arboretum and the biodiversity of Asia.

Jeanette Siron Pelton Award
The Jeanette Siron Pelton Award is given for sustained and imaginative productivity in the field of experimental plant morphology.

No Award in 2020 

The Grady L. and Barbara D. 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. After Barbara's passing in 2018, the award was renamed to recognize her contributions to this field of study. The American Society of Plant Taxonomists and the Botanical Society of America are pleased to join together in honoring both Grady and Barbara Webster. In odd years, the BSA gives out this award and in even years, the award is provided by the ASPT.

No Award in 2020 

The BSA Developing Nations Travel Grants

No Grants Awarded in 2020 

The BSA Professional Member Travel Grants

No Grants Awarded in 2020 

Awards for Established Scientists - Given by the Sections

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.

Rebecca Povilus, Whitehead Institute, For the Presentation: Single nucleus analysis of Arabidopsis endosperm reveals new, transcriptionally distinct cell types. Co-authors: Colette Picard, Ben Williams, and Mary Gehring

Samuel Noel Postlethwait Award
(Teaching Section)
The Samuel Noel Postlethwait Award is given for outstanding service to the BSA Teaching Section.

No Award in 2020

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.

Amanda Grusz, University of Minnesota-Duluth, For the Presentation: An environmentally-based model for the origin of obligate apomixis in ferns: insights from the pellaeid clade (Pteridaceae; Cheilanthoideae). Co-authors: Michael D. Windham, Kathryn Picard, Kathleen Pryer, Eric Schuettpelz, and Christopher Haufler

Awards for Early Career Scientists

BSA Emerging Leaders Award

Christopher Muir, University of Hawaii

Dr. Christopher Muir is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Botany at the University of Hawaii. Dr. Muir is an exceptionally talented quantitative evolutionary biologist, a passionate and committed botanist, and a true emerging leader across the fields of plant trait ecophysiology and evolution, including as a developer of community resources and organizations to support the synthesis of these fields.

BSA Public Policy Award
The Public Policy Award was established in 2012 to support the development of of tomorrow's leaders and a better understanding of this critical area.

Taylor AuBuchon, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Mary Sagatelova, The Ohio State University

Botany Advocacy Leadership Grant
This award organized by the Environmental and Public Policy Committees of BSA and ASPT aims to support local efforts that contribute to shaping public policy on issues relevant to plant sciences.

Nina House, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, For the Proposal: Assessing Grazing Impacts on Remote Montane Meadows in the Sourthern Sierra Nevada, Tulare County, California


Outgoing BSA President

Andrea Wolfe

Outgoing BSA Program Director

Amy Litt

Outgoing Director-at-Large for Development

Ned Friedman

Outgoing Director-at-Large for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Ann Sakai

Outgoing BSA Student Representative to the Board

Ya Min

Awards for Students

Donald R. Kaplan Award in Comparative Morphology
This award was created to promote research in plant comparative morphology, the Kaplan family has established an endowed fund, administered through the Botanical Society of America, to support the Ph.D. research of graduate students in this area.

Annika Smith
, University of Florida, For the Proposal: The unique nectar spurs of the nasturtiums (Tropaeolum): Vascular architecture, tissue conflict, and synorganization

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

The J. S. Karling Graduate Student Research Award

Veronica Iriart, University of Pittsburgh, For the Proposal: The Fate of Plant Mutualisms Under Anthropogenic Stress

Hanna Makowski, University of Virginia, For the Proposal: The role of plant mating systems in colonization

The BSA Graduate Student Research Awards

Ioana Anghel, University of California, Los Angeles, For the Proposal: Species boundaries and mechanisms of divergence in sympatric species of Linanthus

Betsabé Castro Escobar, University of California, Berkeley, For the Proposal: Phylogeography and Domestication of calabash trees (Crescentia cujete) in the Caribbean

Nevin Cullen, University of Pittsburgh, For the Proposal: Can adaptation to toxic elements facilitate microbially-mediated speciation in plants?

Victoria DeLeo, Pennsylvania State University, For the Proposal: Testing tradeoffs in different components of fitness due to frugivory in the common Caribbean tree Metopium toxiferum

Estefania Pilar Fernandez Barrancos, University of Missouri-St. Louis, For the Proposal: Effects of forest restoration on the recovery of coarse woody debris and associated arthropods

Clarice Guan
, Cornell University, For the Proposal: Pieces of the puzzle: Morphological, genetic, and histological investigations of spiromonostichy, a unique phyllotactic pattern with associated helical growth in spiral gingers (Costus, Costaceae)

Katherine Holmes, Cornell University, For the Proposal: Plasticity and local adaptation of secondary metabolites to herbivory in Eutrochium maculatum

Nina House, Claremont Graduate University (Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden), For the Proposal: A Vascular Flora of the Manter and Salmon Creek Watersheds, Tulare County, CA

Yi Huang, University of California, Riverside, For the Proposal: Species delimitation in Arctostaphylos

Amanda Katzer, University of Kansas, For the Proposal: Modified-Trichome Nectary Development in Penstemon

Thomas Lake, University of Minnesota, For the Proposal: Does adaptation facilitate or impede future plant invasions?

Bing Li, Northwestern University, For the Proposal: Genetic and Morphological Changes of Oenothera organensis during Ex Situ Conservation

Martin Llano, Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia, For the Proposal: Taxonomy, phylogeny and biogeography of Anthurium section Dactylophyllium (Araceae)

Elena Loke, Northwestern University, For the Proposal: Incorporating Phased Alleles to Reconstruct a Recent and Rapid Radiation

Natalie Love, University of California, Santa Barbara, For the Proposal: Using field and herbarium collections to detect the ecological and evolutionary causes of geographic variation in pollen size and production in the California mountain jewelflower (Streptanthus tortuosus, Brassicaceae)

Victoria Luizzi, University of Arizona, For the Proposal: Investigating the potential microbial drivers of interactions between leafcutter bees (Megachile spp.) and cottonwoods (Populus fremontii)

Valerie Martin, Utah State University, For the Proposal: Microbial Facilitation of Exploitation in a Plant-Pollinator Mutualism

Susan McEvoy, University of Connecticut, For the Proposal: From genome to methylome: detection of epigenetic marks for two forest tree species

Bailey McNichol, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, For the Proposal: Characterizing plant diversity and distribution at an ecological crossroads in an era of global change

Heather Phillips, Cornell University, For the Proposal: Quantifying the Ontogeny of Development of Fused Structures in the Zingiberales

Brandie Quarles, Duke University, For the Proposal: Phenological Tracking via Dormancy: Facilitating Survival and Adaptation to Climate Change

Maryam Sedaghatpour, University of California, Berkeley, For the Proposal: Silene (Caryophyllaceae) of mediterranean Lebanon

Elena Stiles, University of Washington, For the Proposal: Linking cordilleran uplift and landscape aridification in the northeastern Andes

Amy Waananen, University of Minnesota, For the Proposal: Time is the Longest Distance: Temporal Outcrossing in a Fragmented Environment


Vernon I. Cheadle Student Travel Awards (BSA in association with the Developmental and Structural Section)

This award was named in honor of the memory and work of Dr. Vernon I. Cheadle.

No Award in 2020 

Triarch "Botanical Images" Student Travel Awards
This award provides acknowledgement and travel support to BSA meetings for outstanding student work coupling digital images (botanical) with scientific explanations/descriptions designed for the general public.

No Award in 2020 

The BSA Undergraduate Student Research Awards
The BSA Undergraduate Student Research Awards support undergraduate student research and are made on the basis of research proposals and letters of recommendation.

Michael Daines, Brigham Young University-Idaho, For the Proposal: Distribution of Astragalus amnis-amissi, a Plant Endemic to East-Central Idaho

Jonathan Hayes, Bucknell University, For the Proposal: Genetic diversity & connectivity of Chasmanthium latifolium (Poaceae) in Pennsylvania & the effect on conservation status

Aaliyah Holliday, Cornell University, For the Proposal: Evolution of the Monocot Inflorescence

I. Jason Rose, Cornell University, For the Proposal: Inflorescence Structure And Development In Liliales: What Is The Ancestral State Of The Liliales Order?

Diamanda Zizis, Bucknell University, For the Proposal: Solanum dioicum and Solanum ultraspinosum: A morphometric analysis of hybrid offspring from parents with different breeding systems

The BSA Young Botanist Awards
The purpose of these awards is to offer individual recognition to outstanding graduating seniors in the plant sciences and to encourage their participation in the Botanical Society of America.

Ava Adler, Oberlin College, Advisor: Dr. Michael J. Moore

Ariel Antoine, Bucknell University, Advisor: Dr. Christopher T. Martine

Sarah Ashlock, University of California, Santa Cruz, Advisor: Dr. Kathleen M. Kay

Jeannine Barr, Indiana University Southeast, Advisor: Dr. David Winship Taylor

Michele Beadle, College of Saint Benedict, Advisor: Dr. Stephen G. Saupe

Grace Brock, Miami University, Advisor: Dr. Robert L. Baker

Jennifer Davis, Bucknell University, Advisor: Dr. Christopher T. Martine

Rosemary Glos, Cornell University, Advisor: Dr. Shayla Salzman

Aaron Lee, The College of New Jersey, Advisor: Dr. Wendy Clement

Luisa McGarvey, Oberlin College, Advisor: Dr. Michael J. Moore

Grace McGee, Connecticut College, Advisor: Dr. Chad Jones

Samantha Mehl, Miami University, Advisor: Richard C. Moore

Elise Miller, College of Saint Benedict, Advisor: Dr. Stephen G. Saupe

Eastyn Newsome, Miami University, Advisor: Dr. Robert L. Baker

Lydia Soifer, Davidson College, Advisor: Dr. Christopher Thawley

Alexis Sullivan, Weber State University, Advisor: Dr. Bridget E. Hilbig

The BSA PLANTS Grant Recipients
The PLANTS (Preparing Leaders and Nurturing Tomorrow’s Scientists: Increasing the diversity of plant scientists) program recognizes outstanding undergraduates from diverse backgrounds and provides travel grant.

Christina Andreski, Plymouth State University, Advisor: Diana Jolles

Juan Angulo, University of Georgia, Advisor: James Leebens-Mack

Sarah Ashlock, University of California, Santa Cruz, Advisor: Kathleen Kay

Trinity Depatie, Florida Atlantic University, Advisor: James K. Wetterer

Kandiss Dowdell, Montana State University Billings, Advisor: Jason Comer

Miyauna Incarnato, The College of Wooster, Advisor: Jennifer Ison

Maia Jones, California Academy of Sciences, Advisor: Nathalie Nagalingum

Sofia Ocampo, Florida International University, Advisor: Suzanne Koptur

Michelle Pham, University of California, Los Angeles, Advisor: James Cohen

I. Jason Rose, Cornell University, Advisor: Chelsea D. Specht

Vida Svahnstrom, University of St Andrews, Advisor: Susan Healy

Awards for Students - Given by the Sections

Genetics Section Student Research Awards
Genetics Section Student Research Awards provide $500 for research funding and an additional $500 for attendance at a future BSA meeting.

No Award in 2020

Isabel Cookson Award (Paleobotanical Section)
Established in 1976, the Isabel Cookson Award recognizes the best student paper presented in the Paleobotanical Section

Keana Tang, University of Kansas, For the Presentation: Cunonicaceae from the Late Cretaceous of North America and its paleobiogeographic implications. Co-authors Brian Atkinson and Selena Smith.  

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

Cecilia Zumajo, New York Botanical Garden and CUNY, For the Presentation: Evolution of the seed coat. Co-authors: Dennis Stevenson and Barbara Ambrose

Physiological Section Li-COR Prize

(This year the Physiological Section awarded just one award for the combined Best Oral Paper & the Li-COR prize.)

Anna Jiselle Ongjoco
, California State Polytechnic University, Ponoma, for the Presentation: Strategies Utilized by Pinus coulteri and Pinus attenuata for Surviving at Low Elevations in the San Bernardino Mountains. Co-authors: Edward G. Bobich, Frank E. Ewers, and Erin J. Questad

Physiological Section Student Poster Award

Simone Lim-Hing, University of Georgia, For the Presentation: Untangling the micronutrient status and defense responses in loblolly pine (Pinus taeda). Co-authors: Kamal J.K. Gandhi, Brittany F. Barnes, Lawrence Morris, Elizabeth McCarty, and Caterina Villari

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, 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 systematics and evolution of angiosperm taxa, especially waterlilies. (PSB, Spring, 2003). 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.

Aleca Borsuk
, Yale School of the Environment, For the Presentation: Structural organization of the spongy mesophyll in laminar leaves with reticulate venation. Co-authors: Adam Roddy, Guillaume Theroux-Rancourt, and Craig Broderson

Ecological Section Student Presentation Award

Veronica Iriart, (Graduate), University of Pittsburgh, For the Presentation: Herbicide drift reveals species-level variation in stressor resistance and weakens co-flowering interactions in 25 wild plant species. Co-authors: Regina Baucom, Tia-Lynn Ashman

Jenni Velichka, (Undergraduate), Queen's University, For the Presenation:  Intraspecific variation in seed dispersal strategies between annual and perennial ecotypes of Mimulus guttatus. Co-author: Jannice Friedman


Ecological Section Poster Awards

Aleah Querns, (Graduate), North Carolina State University, For the Poster: The evolution of thermal tolerance and clines in native vs. invasive populations of Mimulus guttatus. Co-authors: Rachel Cooliver, Mario Vallejo-Marín, Seema Sheth


Genetics Section Student Presentation Award

No Award in 2020

A. J. Sharp Award - ABLS/Bryological and Lichenological Section

Bryan Piatkowski, Duke University, For the Presentation: Carbon Storage and Niche Preference Track Phylogeny in Sphagnum (peat moss). Co-authors: Joseph Yavitt, Merritt Turetsky, and Jonathan Shaw.

Honorable Mention:
Katherine Whitaker
, University of Tennessee, For the Presentation: Exploring Sporophyte Transpiration Rates in Mosses. Co-author: Jessica Budke

Developmental & Structural Section Student Travel Awards

No Award in 2020

Ecological Section Student Travel Awards

No Award in 2020

Economic Botany Section Student Travel Awards

No Award in 2020

Genetics Section Student Travel Awards

No Award in 2020

Pteridological Section & American Fern Society Student Travel Awards

No Award in 2020