Plant Science Bulletin archive

Issue: 2017 v63 No 1 SpringActions

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Pam Diggle on Careers  

Beyond the Academy...p. 17

Round-Up of Student  

Opportunities........p. 23

Star Project Award Winners 

in PlantingScience...p. 22


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                                                           Spring 2017 Volume 63 Number 1


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

This is the first issue of Plant Science Bulletin of 

2017. This new year is already proving to be a 

challenging one for many, including those of us 

who work in science and education in the Unit-

ed States. Nearly every day, scientific knowl-

edge is being disputed, groundbreaking envi-

ronmental legislation is being attacked, and the 

global network of scientists is being threatened. 

As botanists, we have the responsibility to act 

in whatever ways we can, individually and as a 

group, to mitigate the actions of an administra-

tion that is blatantly anti-science. 
Some action is underway. In January, the BSA 

co-signed a letter with 151 other scientific en-

tities protesting the Executive Order on Immi-

gration banning travel from seven Muslim-ma-

jority countries. This letter pointed out that 

scientific progress requires the flow of ideas and 

people across borders. The BSA is once again 

supporting the travel of two members to the 

2017 Biology and Ecological Sciences Coalition 

Congressional Visits Day and, in conjunction 

with ASPT, supporting local efforts with the Bo-

tanical Advocacy Leadership Award. Individual 

BSA members are planning to participate in the 

March for Science in Washington, DC in April.
It is my hope that we, the Botanical Society of 

America, will be at the forefront of this fight as 

it continues, providing avenues for action and 

support for other members and representing 

plant science within the broader scientific com-

munity. After all, as the BSA twitter feed is fond 

of reminding us, we are #notaquietscience. 

David Tank 


Department of Biological 


University of Idaho 

Moscow, ID 83844

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Are you ready for Botany 2017 ................................................................................................................2

Public Policy Awards, 2017 .........................................................................................................................3

ASPT and BSA at Plant Science Research Network ..................................................................3

Public Policy Opportunities at Botany 2017 .....................................................................................4

First Annual Botany Advocacy Leadership Grant Supports Outreach in Oklahoma .4

Convergent Evolution of National Science Education Projects:  

How BSA Can Influence Reform (Part 2) ............................................................................................6


American Journal of Botany welcomes your collaboration in 2017 .....................14

Why publish your next methods paper in 

Applications in Plant Sciences? .................15


Careers Beyond the Academy ...............................................................................................................17


Over 2000 Students Conduct Plant Science Investigations This Fall Through ......................................................................................................................................21

Visit BRIT during Botany 2017 for a Tour or Workshop ..................................................................................................21

Life Discovery Conference—Data: Discover, Investigate, Inform ..........................................22


Round-up of Student Opportunities ....................................................................................................23


Eagle Hill Institute Natural History Science 2017 Field Seminars ....................................31

Pam and Doug Soltis Awarded the 2016 Darwin-Wallace Medal .....................................31

In Memoriam  

       Thomas Norwood Taylor (1938—2016) ..................................................................................33  

      Hugh Iltis (1925–2016) .....................................................................................................................36


Conservation ....................................................................................................................................................39

Ecology ................................................................................................................................................................41

Economic Botany ...........................................................................................................................................43

Education ............................................................................................................................................................48

History .................................................................................................................................................................49

Systematics ......................................................................................................................................................51

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Dr. Ranessa Cooper started coming to  BOTANY conferences 

as an undergrad 20 years ago.  "This is my meeting,” she 

stresses. "There is no better meeting to adopt. I love to come 

because of the great people and the breadth of science."

Are you ready for Botany 2017?

Fort Worth, Texas 

June 24 -28

Plenary Lecturer - Robin Kimmerer

Emerging Leader Special Lecture - Michael Barker

Annals of Botany Special Lecture - Anna Traveset

Regional Botany Special Lecture - Barney Lipscomb 
and Jason Singhurst

What can you expect from BOTANY 2017?

  It is one of the friendliest places to present your research, make 

connections, and find collaborators.

“The size of the Botany Conferences is perfect, not too big or 

too small,” says Dr. David Gorchov. “And, I am exposed to the 

cutting edge research outside my discipline of ecology.”

Register now

You are going to love our location! 



Sundance Square and Downtown Fort Worth  

have so much to offer!  

Other than great places to eat and drink, from cheap to fancy, 

be sure to devote a few hours to walking around and visiting 

the shops, the Sid Richardson Art Museum, Bass Hall,  

the Water Gardens, and more.   

Molly the Trolley runs through downtown Fort Worth 7 days a 

week from 10am -10pm. Best of all—it’s free! 

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By Marian Chau (Lyon Arboretum University of Hawai‘i at Mā-

noa) and Morgan Gostel (Smithsonian Institution), Public Policy 

Committee Co-Chairs, along with Ingrid Jordon-Thaden (Uni-

versity of California Berkeley), ASPT EPPC Chair

Public Policy Awards, 2017

Congratulations to Andre Naranjo and Mari-

beth Latvis, Ph.D., recipients of the 2017 BSA 

Public Policy Award, and Christopher Tyrell, 

recipient of the ASPT Congressional Visits 

Day Award! Andre, Maribeth, and Christo-

pher will be traveling to Washington, DC to 

participate in the 2017 Biological and Ecolog-

ical Sciences Coalition Congressional Visits 

Day (25–26 April 2017). Look for a write-up 

of their experiences in the next issue of the 

Plant Science Bulletin!

ASPT and BSA at Plant  

Science Research Network 

The Steering Committee of the Plant Science 

Research Network (PSRN) met February 

9-10, 2017, in Tucson, AZ to discuss the cur-

rent draft of the National Plant Systems Initia-

tive (NPSI) and review progress on strategic 

planning for Plant Science, particularly in the 

areas of Training, Cyber-infrastructure, and 

Broadening Participation. The NPSI docu-

ment was created by the PSRN, which is an 

NSF-supported Research Coordination Net-

work ultimately consisting of 15 professional 

societies given the task to collectively imag-

ine the future of plant sciences and its role in 

agriculture, biodiversity, and ecosystem and 

food security into the future. This effort has 

been in progress since 2011 with the publi-

cation of the Decadal Vision (http://bti.cor-

decadal-vision/)  and the establishment of 

the Plantae community (http://www.plantae.

org/), and now is culminating in the develop-

ment of the NPSI to help direct policy, edu-

cation, and training decisions for establishing 

funding and developing research planning 

and collaboration across the plant sciences. 
Our representatives who attended this Feb-

ruary meeting from BSA and ASPT—Alli-

son Miller and Chelsea Specht, respective-

ly—along with BSA’s official representative, 

Michael Donoghue, will help our societies’ 

interests be represented in the planning and 

keep us informed on upcoming federal ini-

tiatives or opportunities for research, train-

ing, and broadening partici-

pation. Ecological Society of 

America (ESA) representative 

Evan DeLucia was also in at-

tendance, representing addi-

tional support for the fields 

of plant research supported 

by BSA and ASPT. Be on the 

lookout for more informa-


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Public Policy Opportunities at Botany 2017

Want to know how to be more involved in public policy communication for science? Sign up 

for the AIBS Communicating Science to Decision-makers workshop at Botany 2017, held on 

June 25 from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM. This three-hour workshop will be presented by Dr. Robert 

Gropp, AIBS Interim Co-Executive Director. Space is limited to 30 participants and will fill up 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the ASPT Environmental and Public 

Policy Committee or the BSA Public Policy Committee. More details are in the call for appli-


Michael Dunn sent the following thank-you 

note to the ASPT Environment and Public Pol-

icy Committee and BSA Public Policy Com-

mittee regarding the Annual Botany Advocacy 

Leadership Grant that Dunn and the Oklaho-

ma Native Plant Society received.
Thank you for your support of botanical 

public outreach by your generous award of 

$1000 as an Annual Botany Advocacy Leader-

ship Grant, through me, to the Southwestern 

Chapter of the Oklahoma Native Plant Society.
The goal of this grant is to bring together as 

many of the institutions and organizations in 

southwestern Oklahoma who are at least in 

part like-minded in that they attempt to use 

plants to enhance the quality of life of the re-

gion. And to use plants as they relate to nat-

ural history, anthropology and archeology, 

horticulture and agriculture, as well as plants 

as an excuse to simply get outside.
We are well on our way to achieving many 

of our goals with our partners including 

The Oklahoma Native Plant Society, Wich-

ita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Friends of 

the Wichita’s, Fit Kids of SW Oklahoma, The 

Medicine Park Aquarium and Science Center, 

Cameron University, Oklahoma State Univer-

sity Extension Service, The Museum of the 

Great Plains, and the Greater Southwest Okla-

homa Anthropological Society.
Our first sponsored event was 27 August 2016 

at The Museum of the Great Plains, and was 

co-sponsored by the Greater Southwest Okla-

homa Anthropological Society. Bob Blasing, a 

retired anthropologist with the Bureau of Rec-

lamation spoke on “How Early Great Plains 

Tribes used Seasonal Travel to Obtain Re-

sources”. More than 30 people attended (Fig-

ure 1), including some unexpected, but most 

welcome guests. The Secretary of Agriculture 

for the Comanche Nation attended, and he 

and I were able to discuss historical plant use 

by the Comanche Tribe. This is particularly 

exciting as the tribes here in “The Nations” 

(a.k.a. Oklahoma) have been very protective 

of their ethnobotanical heritage, and this was 

an incredible breakthrough. Our collabora-

tion continues.
On 8 October 2016, we sponsored the Annual 

Meeting of The Oklahoma Native Plant Soci-

ety. We met that morning at The Environmen-

tal Education Center of the Wichita Moun-

tains Wildlife Refuge (WMWR) and several 

field trips were available including Aquatiic 

Plants of the WMWR, and a discussion/walk

First Annual Botany Advocacy Leadership Grant Supports  

Outreach in Oklahoma

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To future recipients of 

this [Botany Advocacy 

Leadership Grant], I 

cannot express how 

rewarding it is to work 

with these grassroots 

organizations. But 

they are grassroots 

volunteer organizations 

that require patience 

and understanding, but 

believe me, that patience 

will be rewarded as you 

will be working with 

some truly dedicated 

and enthusiastic amateur 

botanists and other types 

of plant people. 

Figure 1. Bob Blasing speaking to a mixed 

crowd at the Museum of the Great Plains. The 

Secretary of Agriculture for the Comanche Na-

tion is in the fourth row, far right in a red shirt, 

hidden except for his cowboy hat.
about designing and constructing self-guided 

plant tours. Lunch was provided by the Friends 

of the Wichitas, and Susan Howell, the Visitor 

Services Coordinator for WMWR, spoke af-

ter lunch on “Maintaining the Health of the 

Mixed Grass Prairie.” The Keynote Speaker 

that evening was David Redhage from the 

Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture, who 

spoke on “Pollinators and Native Plants.”
In April or May of 2017, we will join with The 

Medicine Park Aquarium and Science Center, 

Fit Kids of SW Oklahoma, and Lawton Public 

Schools to bring eighth graders to The Medi-

cine Park Aquarium and Science Center for a 

native plant and pollinators workshop. These 

details are still being worked out.
To date most of the funds provided by the 

grant have been used to pay travel expenses 

for our speakers, but we hope to have enough 

money left to pay for the busses to bring the 

eighth graders to our workshop.
Thank you to the American Society of Plant 

Taxonomists and The Botanical Society of

America for this Botany Advocacy Leader-

ship Grant. I hope we have used, and are us-

ing your funds as you had hoped. To future r 

ecipients of this grant, I cannot express how 

rewarding it is to work with these grassroots 

organizations. But they are grassroots volun-

teer organizations that require patience and 

understanding, but believe me, that patience 

will be rewarded as you will be working with 

some truly dedicated and enthusiastic ama-

teur botanists and other types of plant people. 
-By Michael T. Dunn, PhD, Professor, Depart-

ment of Agriculture and Biological Sciences, Cam-

eron University, Lawton, Oklahoma 73505 


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The first part of Dr. Uno’s speech, taken from his 

address at the Botany 2016 conference, can be 

found at



Convergence of National 

Science Education Projects

There are multiple signs that the scientific 

community in academia has accepted science 

education as a legitimate activity in which 

colleagues can engage.  In Part 1 of my talk, I 

identified seven signs that indicate to me that 

we have reached the tipping point in science 

education.  The eighth, and last, indicator is 

the fact that several national science educa-

tion reform projects have converged on sim-

Convergent Evolution of National 

Science Education Projects: How 

BSA Can Influence Reform (Part 2)


Remarks from Botany 2016 by President-Elect  

Gordon E. Uno

By Gordon E. Uno, 

BSA President-Elect 

University of Oklahoma

ilar messages to the biology community. The 

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) 

from the NRC (2013), Vision and Change

from AAAS (2011), the AAC&U’s LEAP Ini-

tiative and High Impact Practices (2011), and 

the College Board’s revision of the Advanced 

Placement (AP) Biology course in 2012 are 

just four of these large-scale projects that have 

and will continue to have great impact on sci-

ence education in the United States.  
How are these projects converging? I think 

there are five major ways these major projects 

are similar in their explicit and implicit rec-

ommendations to the science community: 
1. Student outcomes or competencies should 

be used to organize a course or program

competencies are those characteristics that 

we desire students to possess at the end of in-

struction and are measures of student learn-

ing about subject knowledge and ability to 

use important skills.  What is different from 

previous reports is that competencies help us 

determine how students should learn science 

practice skills while they are learning con-

tent; neither content nor skills are taught in 

isolation. For instance, there should not be a 

50-minute lecture on photosynthesis without 

students working with data or graphs or de-

signing experiments related to the subject. In 

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addition, we need to help students think about 

their own learning—what do they understand 

and what are they still confused about?  
2. These national science education projects 

emphasize that the investigative process 

of science, including critical thinking and 

inquiry skills and student investigations, 

should be the cornerstone of all science 

courses.  Critical thinking and inquiry skills 

(Box 1) have often been limited to laborato-

ry settings, but we know that they should be 

practiced throughout a course.  In terms of 

research, students should be able to conduct 

authentic research to the extent possible and 

be exposed to science as a process as soon and 

often as possible.  Thus, faculty need to find 

ways to allow students to practice the skills 

shown in Box 1 every day—while not all of 

them can be used on the same day, students 

should be engaged in at least one of them ev-

ery day.  
3.  Faculty should focus on student learn-

ing and understanding instead of worrying 

about what to teach, i.e., become more “stu-

dent-centered.”  This happens when a facul-

ty member is more concerned about helping 

students understand whatever information is 

taught instead of just being worried about what 

to teach.  
4.  To do all of the above, faculty are urged 

to use “evidence-based” activities (Box 2), 

those teaching methods that science edu-

cation literature indicates are effective in 

helping students learn science.  As one might 

expect, these activities are infused with inqui-

ry and critical thinking skills, and faculty are 

encouraged to use these activities every day in 

both lecture and lab.  The important issue here 

is that, although we have a good idea of what 

works in the classroom and although most 

faculty have heard about some evidence-based 

activities, few faculty have the knowledge or 


Box 1.  A List of Critical-Thinking  

and Inquiry Skills

1.  Make careful observations and ask 

good questions.
2.  Develop appropriate hypotheses and 

explain predictions.
3.  Design a controlled experiment.
4.  Collect, process, and interpret data 

(quantitative skills).
5.  Discuss ideas and draw conclusions.
6.  Infer and generalize.
7.  Distinguish between cause and effect 

vs. correlation.
8.  Recognize assumptions and biases.
9.  State, evaluate, and justify claims us-

ing evidence.
10.  Communicate science effectively 

(explain concepts in your own words).
11.  Apply knowledge to new situations; 

make connections between concepts.  

experience to implement these activities ef-

fectively.  This raises the importance of faculty 

professional development to inform facul-

ty of these methods and to let them practice 

and think about how these practices would be 

used intentionally in their classrooms.  
5.  National science education projects have 

also converged on their position regarding 

the teaching of science content; while con-

tent is essential, less is definitely more, and it 

is equally important for students to be able to 

apply the content they have learned to new 

situations and to connect ideas, facts, and 

concepts to each other.  Additionally, there 

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Box 2.  What Works:  A List of Teach-

ing/Learning Methods Demonstrated to 

Be Effective in Helping  

Students Learn Science

1. Authentic Student Research 
2. Experience Science as a Process Through-

out Course

3.  Metacognitive Activities
4.  Drawing to Explain
5.  Writing for Understanding 
6. Explaining Concepts in Their Own 


7. Creating Summaries of Content and Re-


8.  Peer Instruction
9. Communicate Science and Discuss Con-


10.  Problem Solving (problem-based learning)
11.  Making Connections 
12.  Concept Mapping
13.  Applying Knowledge to New Situations
14.  Creating a Scientific Explanation Using 


15.  Focusing on Basics First
16.  Using Themes to Organize Content
17.  Clicker Questions (some) 
18.  Critical-Thinking Skill Activities
19.  Formative Assessments (concept inven-


20.  Case Studies
21. Dealing with Misconceptions 
22. Constructivist Lessons (scaffolding 

knowledge and skills)

23.  Getting Students to Ask Questions and 

Make Careful Observations

24.  Focusing on How We Know

25.  Using Stories to Learn about Science 

is the recommendation to use themes in the 

teaching of biology courses, themes such as 

evolution or biological interactions, so that 

whatever content is taught, students are able 

to connect that information to a theme.  This 

allows students to form a framework for their 

understanding of all biology.  Finally, several 

reports recommend that attention be paid to 

the interdisciplinary nature of biology.  
While the major science reform projects were 

developed mostly in isolation from each oth-

er, they were informed by the same science 

education literature; thus it is not too sur-

prising that there was convergence on some 

of the central tenets for change.  For instance, 

the NGSS recommends that science education 

should reflect real world interconnections (as 

noted in #5 above); concepts should be inte-

grated with multiple core concepts throughout 

(the use of themes); science concepts should 

build coherently (scaffolding of skills and con-

tent); focus should be on application of con-

tent (applying knowledge to new situations); 

and science education should coordinate with 

mathematics standards (quantitative reason-

ing).  Vision and Change from AAAS recom-

mended that courses “integrate core concepts 

(themes) throughout the curriculum,” and 

“integrate scientific process skills throughout 

the course,” and that “fewer concepts should 

be taught, but in greater depth.”  Vision and 

Change also recommended that the course be 

inquiry-driven and introduce research experi-

ences as an integral component in the course.  
As with other documents, Vision and Change 

identified desirable student competencies, 

including the abilities to:  (1) apply the pro-

cess of science, (2) use quantitative reason-

ing, (3) use modeling and simulations, and 

(4) tap into the interdisciplinary nature of 

science.  The AACU’s Liberal Education and 

America’s Promise (LEAP) project identified 

essential learning outcomes for students, such 

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as their ability to:  (1) focus on Big Questions 

(problem-solving) in society, (2) focus on in-

tellectual and practical skills, (3) practice pro-

gressively more challenging problem-solving 

(scaffolding of skills), and (4) demonstrate 

application of knowledge, skills, and respon-

sibilities to new settings and complex prob-

lems.  In addition, included in the AACU’s 

High-Impact Practices (HIPs) recommenda-

tions is the focus on undergraduate research 

throughout the undergraduate program, cul-

minating in a capstone course or project that 

requires a student to synthesize all that he/

she has learned and is able to do.  Successful 

participation in HIPs has been found to:  (1) 

increase the retention and graduation rates of 

students, especially for historically disadvan-

taged students, (2) generate more positive stu-

dent attitudes about college, faculty, learning, 

and themselves, and (3) increase self-reported 

students gains in learning (Kuh, 2008).  As a 

HIPs Institute Faculty Mentor for the past four 

years, I can attest to many changes institutions 

around the country have seen in students after 

they implement HIPs into their undergradu-

ate degree programs.  
The last major project I would like to discuss is 

the revision of the College Board’s Advanced 

Placement (AP) science courses.  These 

courses are taught in high schools around 

the country, but are designed to be similar to 

a freshman-level undergraduate class.  I was 

the co-Chair of the AP Biology Development 

Committee for the last eight years; this com-

mittee helped revise the AP Biology course, 

to create a curriculum framework used by all 

the AP Biology teachers (~12,000 teachers), 

and to develop the new Biology exams.  The 

problem with the former AP Biology course 

was that it was content-driven, and students 

and teachers tried, unsuccessfully, to “cover” 

an entire college biology text in complete de-

tail.  The new course emphasizes a reduced 

breadth of content and an increased depth of 

student understanding while increasing the 

use of essential reasoning and inquiry skills.  

Also, there is now a major focus on “science 

as a process” in the course, and content is 

melded with science practice skills to create 

student learning outcomes.  The new AP Bi-

ology curriculum framework focuses on four 

“Big Ideas” (themes) that inform the content 

of the course:  (1) evolution, (2) energy and 

homeostasis, (3) information transfer, and 

(4) interactions among organisms, systems, 

and their parts.  The seven Science Practices 

(Box 3) have been adopted by all the new sci-

ence courses that AP offers, including biology, 

chemistry, and physics, and serve as the foun-

dation for all the skills that students need to 

The new AP Biology course emphasizes inqui-

ry-based and student-directed labs.  Where-

as the old course had many teacher-directed 

labs, in the new course, students generate 

their own questions for investigation, and 

design, conduct, and report on their own ex-

periments.  Not only has the course changed 

dramatically, the exam has too.  No longer are 

any low cognitive level, declarative knowl-

edge, recall questions asked, such as “What is 

the name for this structure in the cell (with a 

picture pointing to a chloroplast)?”  Now, stu-

dents must engage with evidence—either with 

evidence they produce by working with data 

or with evidence that is provided to them—to 

answer a question that incorporates both bi-

ological content and one of the seven science 

practice skills.  In addition, students are giv-

en six new “grid-in” questions, which require 

students to work with data and then to pro-

vide numerical answers that they grid into a 

template, without the benefit of any answers 

from which to choose.  The final new piece of 

the exam are six short essay questions in addi-

tion to two of the familiar long essay questions 

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Box 3. Science Practices Adopted by 

and Incorporated into Advanced Place-

ment (AP) Biology, Chemistry, and  

Physics Courses

1.  Use representations and models to com-

municate scientific phenomena and solve 

scientific problems.
2.  Use mathematics appropriately.
3.  Engage in scientific questioning to ex-

tend thinking or to guide investigations.
4. Plan and implement data collection 

strategies in relation to a particular scien-

tific question.
5.  Perform data analysis and evaluation of 

6. Work with scientific explanations and 

7. Connect and relate knowledge across 

various scales, concepts, representations, 

and domains.           

that students must answer in the second half 

of the exam.  
The immediate impact of the new AP Biolo-

gy course was that 12,000 high school teach-

ers changed the way they taught biology at 

the same time, and each May, approximately 

250,000 students take the new exam.  Many 

teachers had to replace all their laboratory in-

vestigations or incorporate many more labs 

into their course.  They all needed to incor-

porate inquiry and mathematical activities 

throughout their course, not just in a few 

labs. On one of the old AP biology exams, 

about 11% of the questions related to evolu-

tion, but because evolution is a theme of the 

new course, approximately 35% of the ques-

tions on one new exam involved evolution.  

In 2012, before the revision, about 19% of all 

students received a “5” on the exam (highest 

score), while 34.8% received a 1, and only 14% 

received a 3.  After the revision, about 5% of 

students received a “5,” 7% received a “1,” and 

“36% received a “3.”  Thus, the old exam had 

a bi-modal distribution of scores (with many 

1s and 5s), which was an exam that rewarded 

those who could memorize a lot of material, 

even if they didn’t understand the material or 

couldn’t design an experiment.  The results 

of the new exam show a normal distribution 

of students with many fewer 5s and 1s and 

many more students receiving an “average” 

(3) score.  To me, this indicates that we are no 

longer just rewarding (or penalizing) students 

based on their memory of a lot of biological 

facts, but that AP Biology is now measuring 

students’ ability to design experiments and to 

apply, connect, explain, and use information 

and data.  

How BSA Can Influence  

Educational Reform

Based on the information I have provided at 

the beginning of this article and in Part 1, I 

think there is growing acceptance of science 

education as a research discipline.  And, we 

know what works in a classroom to help stu-

dents learn science and stay committed to 

biology as a major.  Finally, we know there is 

continued relevance of plants in future basic 

and applied research.  So, it’s incumbent upon 

us to integrate these factors as we work toward 

solution to our educational problems.  The 

question is, “How can BSA help to influence 

science education reform?”  I have several rec-

First, we botanists need to keep educating stu-

dents, the public, and other scientists about 

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PSB 63 (1) 2017        


the essential nature of plants to humans and 

to the future research initiatives in the United 

States.  Also, if one of our goals is to get more 

undergraduates interested in plant biology as 

a viable career choice, then introducing more 

students at the freshmen level to the wonders 

of botany is important.  We must encourage 

the best botanical instructors to teach large, 

basic courses, and support them when they do, 

so that young undergraduates can be hooked 

on botany before they choose a different path.  
There are over 2,000,000 freshmen entering 

U.S. colleges and universities each year (U.S. 

Bureau of Labor statistics, 2016), and most of 

these students are going to take an introducto-

ry biology course.  If we can infuse more bot-

any into these courses, then we have a better 

chance of having students take future botany 

courses.  Currently, over half of the students 

take their introductory biology course at a 

community college.  So, if you have finishing 

graduate students who are looking to enter the 

teaching profession, then don’t neglect the op-

portunities at a 2-year institution.  (At the 2016 

annual conference, we invited faculty from re-

gional community colleges near Savannah to 

attend a workshop on inquiry instruction that 

was led by Marsh Sundberg, Catrina Adams, 

and myself.)  Another point about commu-

nity colleges is that their student populations 

are extremely diverse, and if we value a BSA 

with membership that reflects the diversity of 

America, then we need to cultivate students 

who begin their educations at these regional 

institutions.  (In terms of diversity, the BSA 

has a wonderful program, PLANTS, that is 

funded by NSF [A. Sakai and A. Monfils, PIs, 

with BSA Staff, H. Cacanindin] and that has 

been bringing a diverse group of undergradu-

ates to our annual meeting since 2010 [http://

The higher education system in the United 

States is unique in the world in that almost all 

post-secondary institutions require students 

Although we have a good 

idea of what works in the 

classroom and although 

most faculty have heard 

about some evidence-

based activities, few 

faculty have the 

knowledge or experience 

to implement these 

activities effectively. This 

raises the importance 

of faculty professional 

development to inform 

faculty of these methods 

and to let them practice 

and think about how 

these practices would be 

used intentionally in their 


to take general education courses, including 

at least a year of science, with one lab course.  

Scientists often lament that this requirement 

is really insufficient for any college graduate 

entering a world that is impacted by science 

and technology.  However, one can also see 

this as a half-full glass and a huge opportunity 

to influence young undergraduates by placing 

the best botanical instructors in general edu-

cation courses.  For many students, including 

future politicians, journalists, citizens, voters, 

and some teachers, this may be the only bi-

ology course they ever take.  In general, BSA 

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PSB 63 (1) 2017        


should help botanists obtain faculty positions 

in biology departments.  Perhaps we can of-

fer mock job interviews and continue our re-

sumé-building workshops to help our grad-

uates gain faculty positions where they can 

have influence on students and curricula.  

We must encourage 

the best botanical 

instructors to teach 

large, basic courses, 

and support them when 

they do, so that young 

undergraduates can be 

hooked on botany before 

they choose a different 


Another important way that BSA can influ-

ence reform is if members improve our own 

botany/plant biology courses, implementing 

what we know works to help students learn 

and focusing on competencies identified as 

critical for student success.  To help facul-

ty improve, BSA can offer additional faculty 

professional development opportunities—not 

just at BSA conferences, but at other meet-

ings and at individual institutions.  Again, we 

know that some BSA members are already 

leading professional development activities 

for faculty and graduate students—perhaps 

we can advertise activities you are leading to 

promote your work and provide greater ac-

cess to them.  In terms of professional devel-

opment, one of the newest Research Coordi-

nation Networks for Undergraduate Biology 

Education (RCN-UBE) projects is the Facul-

ty Developers Network (Deborah Allen, PI; 

Uno, co-PI), and one part of this project is to 

determine what scientific societies are doing 

to help their members do a better job in the 

classroom.  BSA can contribute a lot to this 

One hidden aspect of getting more botanists 

into introductory classes is the fact that AP 

Biology conducts a “higher-ed validation” 

study to determine what topics/concepts 

should be included in the course.  A list of po-

tential topics is sent to undergraduate faculty 

who teach Introductory Biology courses, and 

if insufficient numbers of them identify plant 

topics as relevant to their course, these topics 

will be eliminated from consideration for the 

AP Biology curriculum.  This kind of unex-

pected consequence of having botanists in the 

right place at the right time can have a signif-

icant impact on what is taught in classrooms 

all across the country.  Consider working with 

national educational testing services such as 

the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to help 

develop questions for the AP and SAT exams.  

Getting more botanical questions on these ex-

ams means that pre-college teachers will de-

vote more time teaching about plants.         
I think that BSA also needs to think about 

ways to increase our outreach to the general 

public.  Perhaps we can cultivate secondary 

members—for instance, amateur botanists or 

other non-botanical professionals who are in-

terested in plants, the environment, and per-

haps even in basic plant research to become 

members or attend our conferences?  Can 

we encourage more BSA members to offer 

demonstrations and talks, and to lead field 

trips for environmental groups, Native Plant 

societies, gardeners, youth groups, and groups 

such as the Botanical Society of Washington 

(a long-standing forum for all things botani-

cal)?  I know that many BSA members are al-

ready engaged in a number of such outreach 

activities—perhaps we just need better adver-

tisement of these events so other members 

can learn about what you are doing and to use 

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PSB 63 (1) 2017        


your activity as a model.
I think that BSA must continue to collaborate 

with other scientific organizations to promote 

scientific and botanical literacy of our students 

and the general public.  BSA and the Ameri-

can Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) have 

collaborated on the development of “Core 

Concepts and Learning Objectives in Plant 

Biology for Undergraduates” 



  In addi-

tion, we are currently working with the ASPB 

and other plant societies in the Plant Science 

Research Network, a network funded through 

an NSF grant from the RCN program.  The 

purpose of the network is to discuss common 

issues that all plant biologists may experience 

as professionals, including issues related to 

funding, publishing, graduate students, and 

We have a very good Education Department 

whose work was recently rewarded with an 

NSF grant to continue ramping up Planting-

Science activities.  We must continue to sup-

port the work of the Education Department; 

perhaps you would be interested in signing 

up as a PlantingScience mentor?  This depart-

ment has several other projects that have been 

initiated or are being discussed, but this is an 

area where more BSA members can become 

engaged and more activities and projects can 

be developed.  Do you have any ideas or rec-

ommendations for the Education Department 

and BSA?     
I also think we need to engage more under-

grads in activities in our own departments 

and to bring more students to our meetings so 

they get hooked on plants and BSA at an early 

point in their career.  We can encourage and 

engage students who are interested in bota-

ny by starting a BSA Student Chapter at our 

own institution.  Currently, there are only 19 

such chapters in the United States.  Informa-

tion about how these can be started is found 


Most importantly, I encourage each of you 

to seek opportunities in which you can in-

crease your impact on students and col-

leagues, whether it is in your own classroom 

or through projects at the national level or in 

communicating science to the general pub-

lic.  I urge you to think about how you can 

promote plants and educational reform and 

improve the botanical literacy for all, and I 

would gladly accept suggestions from you for 

how BSA can continue to have an impact on 

students, botanical friends, and faculty col-

leagues.  Thank you very much.    

Literature Cited

American Association of Colleges and Universi-

ties.  2011.  The LEAP Vision for Learning:  

Outcomes, Practices, Impact and Employers’ 

Views.  Washington, D.C.:  AACU.  29 pp.  

Brewer, C. A. and D. Smith, eds.  2011. Vision and 

Change in Undergraduate Biology Education:  A 

Call to Action.  AAAS.  79 pp.  

College Board.  2012.  Advanced Placement Bi-

ology course:



Kuh, G.  2008.  High-Impact Educational Prac-

tices:  What Are They, Who Has Access to Them, 

and Why They Matter.  Washington, D.C.:  AACU.  

NGSS Lead States.  2013.  Next Generation Sci-

ence Standards: For States, By States.  Washing-

ton, D.C.:  The National Academies Press.  

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PSB 63 (1) 2017        



American Journal of 

Botany welcomes your  

collaboration in 2017

In an editorial in the January 2017 issue of the 

American Journal of Botany, Editor-in-Chief 

Pamela Diggle presented a current “state of 

the journal” and extended an enthusiastic in-

vitation to BSA members and colleagues (po-

tential future members!) to contribute to the 

success of the Society’s flagship journal.
Authors face many challenges in publishing 

these days: the growing number of publishing 

options, the importance of relating their work 

to a broad audience, Open Access policies and 

funder mandates, and changing data-sharing 

and journal standards are just some of the 

issues adding pressure on authors. This is all 

beyond doing the actual research and then 

undertaking the sometimes arduous process 

of writing a manuscript, submitting it to a 

journal, responding to reviews and revising 

it, and hoping for acceptance. (Not all papers 

are accepted at the first journal chosen, so 

sometimes the paper is reworked for another 

journal with differing requirements, different 

reviewers, etc.) And then after the acceptance, 

there is the expectation that authors will help 

promote their work and communicate their 

science, keep doing science, review papers 

from other authors, perhaps teach, travel, 

present at conferences, answer questions from 

the public, speak up (or even march) for sci-

ence—and oh, yes, have a life! 
AJB understands these challenges and wants 

to work with its authors: 
•  We are a proud Society-owned journal;
•  Our Editor-in-Chief is a well-respected sci-

entist with an impressive career, who is also 

a fellow BSA member with experience in all 

levels of publishing;

•  We have a strong and expanding group of As-

sociate Editors (

misc/edboard.xhtml) and reviewers from the 

United States and around the world;

•  We work hard for quick turnarounds (cur-

rently ~30 days) and rapid publication;

•  We have a dedicated editorial staff who can 

assist authors from pre-submission through 

publication and post-publication promotion.

The journal succeeds when we receive strong 

submissions with broad appeal to the botan-

ical community. We encourage you to sub-

mit your best work to your Society journal 


fault.aspx.  We also encourage you to consider 

submitting an essay to our “On the Nature of 

Things” (OTNOT) series (send ideas direct-

ly to the Editor-in-Chief) and participating 

in publications sessions, and conversations, 

at the annual meeting. We are open to your 

ideas for making your journal the go-to place 

for botanical science. 

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PSB 63 (1) 2017        


Look for the following AJB Special 

Issues in 2017–2018:

• “The Tree of Life,” aimed at revisiting the 

highly successful special issue on this topic 

published in 2004 with the latest results yielded 

up by phylogenomics and “big data”
• “The Tree of Death” on the critical importance 

of the fossil record in understanding the 

complete history of plants
• “Wood: Biology of a Living Tissue” based on 

a highly successful symposium at Botany 2016
• “Patterns and Processes of American 

Amphitropical Plant Disjunctions: New 

Insights,” also based on a highly successful 

symposium at Botany 2016

Dr. Diggle best summed it up in her editorial, 

“As AJB begins its 104th volume, one standard 

remains constant: our adherence to the mis-

sion of the Society and to serving our authors 

with the highest standards. The American 

Journal of Botany reflects what its authors and 

reviewers choose to make it, so I encourage all 

of you to ‘roll up your sleeves’ along with me 

to maintain and increase the strength of our 

society’s flagship journal as we enter 2017.” 

Let’s do this!

Rapid publication with fast and thorough 

peer review: Manuscripts are evaluated by 

editors within a few days of submission and 

are peer-reviewed by two to three outside re-

viewers. Average time to first decision is ap-

proximately 26 days. 
Available in major indexesAPPS is included 

in discoverability services including Web of 

Science, Journal Citation Reports, PubMed, 

WorldCat, Scopus, and Google Scholar. The 

impact factor is 0.911.
Open Access: All APPS articles are Open Ac-

cess upon publication. OA fees are kept as low 

as possible to help authors with limited fund-

ing. BSA members are charged US$450–800 

per article (depending on length of member-

ship); non-members are charged US$1400 per 


Why publish your next methods paper in  

Applications in Plant Sciences?

Society-published journal: APPS is pub-

lished by the Botanical Society of America

which maintains rigorous standards of peer 

review and is committed to working with au-

thors to strengthen their published research.
Research promoted on news and social me-

dia outlets: Press releases are prepared for 

noteworthy articles, and articles are also pro-

moted on Twitter and Facebook, which have 

over 24,000 combined followers. Research 

published in APPS has attracted attention 

from outlets including the National Science 

Foundation’s Science360, CNBC, and Sci-

APPS is a monthly, peer-reviewed, open ac-

cess journal focusing on new tools, technol-

ogies, and protocols in all areas of the plant 

sciences. APPS is available as part of BioOne’s 

background image

PSB 63 (1) 2017        


Open Access collection (

Article types and detailed Instructions for 

Authors can be viewed at http://www.botany.


Please contact the editorial office (apps@bota- with questions.
-By Theresa Culley (Editor-in-Chief), Univer-

sity of Cincinnati
Editorial office contact: Beth Parada, Manag-

ing Editor,


What do authors think about the ex-

perience of publishing in


“Thank you for such a quick turn-around 

on our submitted manuscript. This is the 

most efficient journal editing any of the 

authors have experienced!”
“I was impressed by the quality and speed 

of your publishing services, and I am 

looking forward to seeing the article in 

press. “
“It has been a pleasure working with you 

on this review article. We truly appreci-

ate your time and attentiveness and are 

thrilled with the final result.”
“I just saw the press release for my paper 

on ScienceDaily and all over the internet. 

Thanks a lot!”

Press releases for recent articles published in APPS

Measuring trees with the speed of sound:
Drones take off in plant ecological research:
HybPiper: A bioinformatic pipeline for processing #pageenrichment data: http://bit.

To view all of APPS  recent press releases, visit


background image



By Pamela Diggle

Professor, Department of 

Ecology and Evolutionary 


University of Connecticut


ast year, I was honored to be invited by the 

BSA Graduate Student Representatives, 

Rebecca Povilus and Angela McDonnell, to 

give the keynote presentation at the “Interac-

tive Career Panel & Luncheon” during Botany 

2016 in Savannah, Georgia.  They suggested 

that I share my thoughts on choosing a career 

in botany and on making the most of a degree 

in the plant sciences.  As I pondered what I 

might have to contribute on those topics, I 

realized that I didn’t really choose a career 

in botany—it chose me.  The most important 

thing that I’ve learned along the way is to do 

what you love, and #iamabotanist.
My passion for plants has dictated most of 

my career and choices along the way.  It may 

sound trite or self-indulgent: do what you 

love. But I find that by focusing on what I per-

sonally find most rewarding, I am at my most 

creative and I have my best insights.  It also 

helps me withstand those long hours of things 

that are not so fun (insert your most dreaded 

task here), like the gazillionth plant part that 

Careers Beyond the Academy

you have measured or weighed.  But how does 

identifying what you find rewarding translate 

into a career?  
As an academic at a research 1 university, 

mentoring graduate students is part of my job.  

And it is a terrific part of my job that has giv-

en me an opportunity to interact with amaz-

ing people who share my love of plants.  Over 

the years, however, I have come to understand 

that not all students—creative, accomplished, 

and driven as they may be—aspire to careers 

in academia.  I also realized, however, that 

I was ill equipped to help graduate students 

navigate the world outside of academia, given 

that other than a brief interlude after college, I 

have only ever been an academic.  How can I 

advise and mentor students who aspire to jobs 

beyond the academy?
As I continued to contemplate this topic of ca-

reers in botany, and particularly jobs outside 

of academia, I was struck by the juxtaposi-

tion of two articles published just over a week 

apart in the New York


“So Many Re-

search Scientists, So Few Openings as Profes-

sors,” and “The Incalculable Value of Finding 

a Job You Love.” 
The first article, by Gina Kolata,  highlights 

Emmanuelle Charpentier, who is widely 

known for her role in deciphering the mech-

anisms of the CRISPR-Cas9 system (https://


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PSB 63 (1) 2017        


as-professors.html).  She recently became the 

leader of the Max Planck Institute for Infec-

tion Biology, but had spent the previous 25 

years moving through non-tenure track po-

sitions, in nine institutions, in five countries.  

The article paints a fairly gloomy picture of 

the outlook for new PhDs.  It focuses more on 

biomedical science, which has been particu-

larly hard hit by job shortages, but resonates 

across the life sciences.  The article’s author 

summarizes a commonly held view (emphasis 


“The lure of a tenured job in academia is 

great—it means a secure, prestigious posi-

tion directing a lab that does cutting-edge 

experiments, often carried out by under-

lings. Yet although many yearn for such 

jobs, fewer than half of those who earn 

science or engineering doctorates end up 

in the sort of academic positions that di-

rectly use what they were trained for.

Others, ending up in industry, business 

or other professions, do interesting work 

and earn lucrative salaries and can con-

tribute enormously to society. But by the 

time many give up on academia—four to 

six years or more for a Ph.D., a decade or 

more as a postdoc—they are edging to-

ward middle age, having spent their youth 

in temporary low-paying positions get-

ting highly specialized training they do not 


These kinds of statements encapsulate com-

monly held assumptions about graduate 

school: they assume that being a professor and 

researcher with a giant lab is the ultimate goal 

of all graduate students, that anyone in any 

other job is an inferior also-ran, and that ac-

ademia trains you for nothing but academia.  

All of which, in my experience, are false and 

didn’t merit much further thought.  But I was 

motivated to explore the last assumption, that 

academia prepares you for only academia.

What kinds of preparation are employers in 

non-academic professions looking for?  In 

all that I read, and in discussions with people 

in the private sector and various government 

agencies, I heard over and over again that it 

is easy enough to learn hard skills on the job 

(various lab techniques, for example), and for 

many non-academics, the job they have did 

not exist when they were in graduate school, 

so they could not have trained for it anyway.  

The critical skills that non-academic employ-

ers are looking for include:

• Initiative
• Creativity
• Leadership skills
• Organization
• Project management
• Budget and finance
• Communication, both written and spoken
• Social media creation management
• Flexibility

Clearly, completing and publishing your dis-

sertation research requires all of these skills 

and more.  But you have to be able to demon-

strate this to a prospective employer.  Com-

ing up with a dissertation project requires 

initiative and creativity, problem solving, in-

sight, and thinking on your feet.  What are 

some specific examples from your research?  

Non-academic employers look at a CV very 

differently than a search committee in aca-

demia and will want specific examples of each 

of the attributes listed above.  In this day of 

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PSB 63 (1) 2017        


highly collaborative work, it is critical that you 

clearly establish ownership and take the intel-

lectual lead on your dissertation research. You 

need to be able to demonstrate that you know 

how to ask and answer original questions and 

follow through until you get an answer.  What 

experiences do you have that most clearly il-

lustrate these qualities?
Employers are looking for leadership skills.  

Did you direct a team of undergrads?  How 

did you ensure quality control?  How did you 

deal with problematic students?  Did you take 

the lead in a collaboration?  How did you ne-

gotiate maintaining leadership within a group 

of peers?
Organizational skills.  Have you managed 

large data sets?  Complex experiments?  Bud-

get and finance?  You raised grant funding and 

managed the budget for your research.  Com-

munication?  You give seminars and write pa-

pers for publication.  Many of you teach and 

do outreach.
Flexibility!  Flexibility was valued highly by 

everyone I spoke with: be flexible in where 

you might live, how you see yourself, what 

you view as science, what might be fulfilling.  

For example, I had an interesting conversation 

with a Zeiss Microscope representative.  He 

has a PhD in microbiology and says he never 

saw himself as a sales person (and was perhaps 

a bit disdainful of this career).  But as a grad 

student, he became an expert on many differ-

ent types of microscopy, primarily through 

troubleshooting and problem solving as need-

ed for his research. Now he has a career solv-

ing microscopy issues for others.  His career 

combines his deep knowledge of biology with 

his talent for optics and problem solving and, 

he says, it is deeply satisfying.
You certainly gain skills from your disserta-

tion research that are valuable well beyond 

academia.  But, beyond your research, I also 

encourage you to do other stuff!  Everyone I 

spoke to about careers outside of academia 

emphasized that networking is critical and so

Many faculty and 

graduate students view 

as ideal the research 

fellowship that allows 

you to devote your 

attention to research full 

time with no need for 

the distraction and time 

commitment  of  a  TA.    

This view is reminiscent 

of a “trade-school” 

mentality; that graduate 

school trains you to “be” 

a research scientist and 

nothing else.  I prefer 

to think of graduate 

school as an opportunity 

to develop the kinds of 

skills that you need for 

the career you want.

is serendipity.  Take advantage of opportuni-

ties to meet people and enhance your “soft 

skills.”  Serve as a teaching assistant, even if 

you are not required to and even if you find 

it difficult at first.  Teaching enhances your 

communication, management, organization-

al, and leadership skills.  Go to department 

seminars no matter what the topic and sign 

up to meet with the speaker.  If nothing else, 

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PSB 63 (1) 2017        


the seminar will give you a greater knowledge 

base that increases your ability to connect 

with other people, and talking with the speak-

er will enhance your networking skills.  And 

you can never predict who that person knows.  

Take a leadership role in something outside of 

your department, such as a professional so-

ciety or an advisor to an undergraduate club.  

Use LinkedIn to find people with interesting 

jobs and ask them questions.  Contact people 

who do interesting things and ask if you can 

shadow them for a day.  People are generally 

accommodating and often happy to be asked.  

Take advantage of your university alumni as-

sociation to make contacts with people who 

have interesting careers.
Many faculty and graduate students view as 

ideal the research fellowship that allows you 

to devote your attention to research full time 

with no need for the distraction and time 

commitment of a TA.  And, many faculty ad-

vise their students not to get “distracted” with 

extra courses or activities.  This view is rem-

iniscent of a “trade-school” mentality; that 

graduate school trains you to “be” a research 

scientist and nothing else.  I prefer to think of 

graduate school as an opportunity to develop 

the kinds of skills that you need for the career 

you want.
Which takes me to the second article, which 

I highly recommend: “The Incalculable Val-

ue of Finding a Job You Love” (https://www.


do.html) by Robert H. Frank.


There are many thoughtful resources 

concerning careers for PhDs in  

academia and beyond.   

A few of these include:

• The Chronicle of Higher Ed “Vitae” 

section (


• Nature and Science have jobs sections 

with interesting essays on careers in 

the sciences (

naturejobs/science/news;  http://www.

• Alumni associations and career ser-

vices at your university

• "Next Gen PhD: A Guide to Career 

Paths in Science" by Melanie V. Sinche 



You have already found something that you 

love doing, or you would not be in graduate 

school.  For those of you who are consider-

ing career options beyond kinds of R1 institu-

tions where you are now, this article suggests 

that rather than compiling a list of jobs that 

are out there, think hard about what aspects 

of graduate school bring you the most satis-

faction.  When you are really “in the zone,” so 

absorbed that you haven’t even looked at your 

phone for hours, what are you doing?  What 

would it be like to do more of that?  Then seek 

out the kinds of experiences and contacts that 

you will need for that career path.

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By Catrina Adams,  

Education Director

BSA Science Education News and Notes is 

a quarterly 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

Over 2000 Students Conduct 

Plant Science Investigations This 

Fall Through

This past fall marked our largest Planting-

Science session ever. Thousands of students 

worked with scientist mentors on their own 

plant science investigations. Serving this 

many students is only possible thanks to our 

long-awaited new website, developed using 

Purdue’s science collaboration platform HUB-

Zero. Thanks to all of our mentors, new and 

experienced, who are volunteering their time 

to inspire the next generation of plant scien-

tists. If you have been thinking about volun-

teering, next fall would be a perfect time to 

join us. We’re expecting to double our num-

bers for fall, and we can use all the mentors we 

can get. It’s a small time commitment, but you 

can make a big impact on middle- or high-

school students. Most plant scientists had a 

plant mentor at some point in their early lives, 

someone who sparked an interest in plants 

through their own enthusiasm. Through 

PlantingScience you can be that plant mentor 

that sparks a lifelong interest and enthusiasm 

for plants. Sign up or direct your colleagues to to sign up. 
Congratulations to the Fall 2016 Star Project 

teams (see the following page)! Each session 

we choose 10 to 15 projects to feature in our 

Star Project gallery. These projects represent 

projects that have excelled in one of several 

categories. Check out our Star Project Gallery


lery to see what makes these 15 projects ex-


Visit BRIT during Botany 2017 

for a Tour or Workshop

The Botanical Research Institute of Texas 

(BRIT) will be welcoming Botany 2017 at-

tendees to join them for a tour. Keep your eyes 

on the schedule for times and details. Join 

Gordon Uno and Marshall Sundberg for a 

Sunday morning workshop, “Planting Inquiry 

in Science Classrooms,” hosted at BRIT to learn 

many practical techniques and activities you can 

use to support your students’ active learning. At-

tendees at the workshop will receive a free print 

copy of the book “Inquiring About Plants.

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PSB 63 (1) 2017        


Science Education

Life Discovery Conference— 

Data: Discover, Investigate, Inform  

(October 19-21, 2017)

Please consider joining us at this year’s Life Discovery Conference, a stand-alone education 

conference for high school and undergraduate biology educators. The 2017 conference will 

be held at the University of Oklahoma. This year’s theme is on data and quantitative literacy, 

and will feature a number of workshops, field trips, and short presentations around best prac-

tices and tested activities for bringing data into your classroom. Have an activity under development 

yourself that you’d like to share? We’re accepting proposals for the Education Share Fair where you can share 

your in-progress ideas and get feedback from your peers. This is a great conference for networking with others 

passionate about biology education, and there is lots of time to get to know other participants. For more infor-

mation, visit

Hope to see you there!

The “Power Plant Girlz,” one of 15 Star Project winners for the Fall 2016 Planting-

Science Session, conduct leaf disk flotation experiment around how different colors of 

light affect photosynthesis. See more from the team on their Star Project Gallery Page at

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By Becky Povilus and James McDaniel 

BSA Student Representatives

It’s a new year! You may be trying to figure 

out what you can do in 2017 to help you reach 

your education, research, and career goals. 

Gathered here are upcoming opportunities 

you might be interested in. Some deadlines 

may have already passed, but they might be 

things you’ll want to keep in mind for 2018!
We have four categories below for easy brows-

ing: Grants and Awards, Broader Impacts, 

Short Courses and Workshops, and Job Hunt-


Round-up of Student Opportunities

Grants and Awards 

Grants and awards can fund your research, 

provide assistance for travel related to train-

ing or fieldwork, and even contribute to your 

cost-of-living and tuition expenses (e.g., fel-

lowships). Additionally, applying for grants 

and awards is a great opportunity to plan and 

articulate your research. Lastly, remember to 

check with your department or university for 

internal grants that you can apply for.

BSA Graduate Student Research Awards


Botanical Society of America

Research Funds

Support and promote graduate student research in the botanical sci-

ences. Includes the J.S. Karling Award.

Deadline: mid-March
More info:

BSA Undergraduate Student Research Awards


Botanical Society of America

Research Funds

Support and promote undergraduate research in the botanical sci-


Deadline: mid-March

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PSB 63 (1) 2017      

 Student Section


More info:

BSA Student Travel Awards

Variable, up to $500 Botanical Society of America
Travel (conference)

Several awards support student travel to the annual BOTANY con-


- Cheadle Student Travel Awards  

- BSA Section awards

Deadline: early-April, 


More info:

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

$32k/yr + tuition aid National Science Foundation
Stipend & Tuition

Support outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported disciplines 

who are pursuing research-based Master’s and doctoral degrees at 

accredited U.S. institutions.

Deadline: October

More info:

NSF Doctorial Dissertation Improvement Grant

up to $13,000

National Science Foundation

Research Funds

Provide partial support of doctoral dissertation research for improve-

ment beyond the already existing project (check that your project 

falls within the scope of associated Divisions).

Deadline: October

More info: 

Click the “Funding” tab at 

Torrey Botanical Society Fellowships and Awards

up to $2,500

Torrey Botanical Society

Research Funds & 


Support research/education of student society members (fund field 

work, recognize research in conservation of local flora/ecosystems, 

fund  course  attendance  at  a  biological  field  station).  There  are 

awards for graduate students and undergraduates.


More info:

Prairie Biotic Research Small Grants

up to $1,000

Prairie Biotic Research, Inc.

Research Funds

Support the study of any species in U.S. prairies and savannas.


More info:

Botany In Action Fellowship


Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Research Funds

Develop new, science-based plant knowledge and chronicles tradi-

tional knowledge of plants. BIA promotes interactive scientific edu-

cation about the importance of plants, biodiversity, and sustainable 




More info:


The Lewis and Clark Fund for Field Research

up to $5,000

American Philosophical Society

Research Funds

Encourage exploratory field studies for the collection of specimens 

and data and to provide the imaginative stimulus that accompanies 

direct observation.

Deadline: early  


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PSB 63 (1) 2017      

 Student Section


More info:

ASPT Graduate Student Research Grants

up to $1,000

American Society of Plant Taxonomists

Research Funds

Support  students  (both  master’s  and  doctoral  levels)  conducting 

fieldwork, herbarium travel, and/or laboratory research in any area 

of plant systematics.

Deadline: early 

More info:

Richard Evans Schultes Research Award

up to $2,500

The Society for Economic Botany

Research Funds

Help  defray  the  costs  of  fieldwork  on  a  topic  related  to  economic 

botany, for students who are members of the Society for Economic 


Deadline: mid-March

More info:

Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid of Research

up to $1,000

Sigma Xi

Research Funds

By encouraging close working relationships between students and 

mentors, this program promotes scientific excellence and achieve-

ment through hands-on learning.

Deadline: mid-March 

and October
More info:

Young Explorers Grant

up to $5,000

National Geographic Foundation

Research Funds

Support research, conservation, and exploration-related projects 

consistent  with  National  Geographic’s  existing  grant  programs.  In 

addition, this program provides increased funding opportunities for 

fieldwork in 18 Northeast and Southeast Asian countries.

Deadline: mid-March 

and October

More info:


Systematics Research Fund

up to $5,000

The Systematics Association & The Linnean Society

Research Funds

Besides research focused on systematics, projects of a more general 

or educational nature will also be considered, provided that they in-

clude a strong systematics component.

Deadline: Mid-Feb-

More info:

The Exploration Fund Grant

up to $5,000

The Exploration Fund Grant

Research Funds

Provides grants in support of exploration and field research for those 

who are just beginning their research careers.

Deadline: mid Octo-

More info:

CIC Smithsonian Institution Fellowship

$32,700 for 1 year

CIC & the Smithsonian Institution


One-year fellowships to support research in residence at Smithso-

nian Institution facilities. All fields of study that are actively pursued 

by the museums and research organizations of the Smithsonian In-

stitution are eligible. 



More info:

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PSB 63 (1) 2017      

 Student Section


Ford Foundation Fellowship Programs

$24k-45k, for 1-3 


Ford Foundation


Three fellowship types are offered: Predoctoral, Dissertation, and 

Postdoctoral. The Ford Foundation seeks to increase the diversity of 

the nation’s college and university faculties.


More info:

The Arnold Arboretum Awards for Student Research


The Arnold Arboretum

Research Funds 

Multiple awards or fellowships are offered for graduate students and 

for undergraduates, with topics that focus on Asian tropical forest 

biology and comparative biology of woody plants (including Chi-

nese-American exchanges).  Check website for full information on 

each award. 



More info:

Garden Club of America Scholarships


Garden Club of America

Research or Training 


Many awards are offered to support botanical research, with foci 

ranging from public garden history/use, field botany, medicinal bota-

ny, and horticulture. Check website for full information on each award.


January - February
More info:



National Science Foundation and Botanical Society of America

Travel (conference)

The PLANTS program will pay the expenses of up to 12 undergradu-

ates to participate in the BOTANY meetings as well as provide men-

toring from both peer and senior mentors in the plant sciences. 

Deadline: March 1

More info:

SMART Program

$25-38k/yr + tuition

American Society for Engineering Education

Stipend &  Tuition

The SMART Program aims to increase the number of scientists and 

engineers in the U.S. Department of Defense. The program is par-

ticularly interested in supporting individuals that demonstrate an ap-

titude and interest in conducting theoretical and applied research.



More info:

The Mohamed Bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund

up to $25,000

The Mohamed Bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund

Research Funds

The Mohamed Bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund is a new and 

significant philanthropic endowment established to directly support 

the cause of species conservation. It is open to applications for fund-

ing support from conservationists based in all parts of the world deal-

ing with plant and animal species.

Deadlines: February 

28, 2017 & June 30, 


More info:

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PSB 63 (1) 2017      

 Student Section


Fulbright U.S. Student Program


U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

Travel (abroad)

Offers a variety of grants for one year of study or research abroad to 

over 100 countries. Applicants must have proficiency in the written 

and spoken language of the host country.

Deadline: Septem-


More info:

STAR Graduate Fellowships

$44k/yr + tuition

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Stipend & Tuition

EPA’s  STAR  Graduate  Fellowship  program  supports  Master’s  stu-

dents and doctoral candidates in environmental studies. 

Deadline: between 

April and May
More info:



What it is:

A learning community where scientists provide online mentorship to 

student teams as they design and think through their own inquiry proj-


What you can do:  Interact with grade school-to-college students online, as they work on 

plant-focused learning modules in the classroom.

More info:

Science Olympiad

What it is:

Competitions are like academic track meets, consisting of a series of 

23 team events in each division (middle school or high school). Each 

year, a portion of the events are rotated to reflect the ever-changing na-

ture of genetics, earth science, chemistry, anatomy, physics, geology, 

mechanical engineering, and technology.

What you can do:  Mentor local students in person on a variety of science and engineer-

ing–oriented topics and skills; help organize and run competitions

More info:

Local Arboretums, Parks, Museums, and Herbaria

What it is:

These institutions often depend on volunteers to donate their time and 

expertise to help people of all ages enjoy their collections and grounds. 

They may already have programs in place that allow you to lead tours 

or interact with visitors at special events, so that you can share your 

interests and passion.

What you can do:  Lead tours; help organize and run events
More info: 

Look up local parks/arboretums/museums/herbaria online, or inquire at 

visitors’ centers.

Broader Impact Opportunities 

These opportunities are not just for NSF grants! Sharing your passion for plants 

and science with a wide range of audiences will help develop speaking skills as 

well as help you reconnect with why you decided to go to grad school. 

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PSB 63 (1) 2017      

 Student Section


Advanced Field Botany

University of Idaho This two-week course is open to upper division undergraduates and 

early career graduate students. In the course, you’ll gain valuable ex-

perience and botanical knowledge in the field. You’ll also get acquaint-

ed with the flora of Idaho in the Inland Northwest. Interested students 

should look for an announcement in the spring. 

June or July

More info:

Tropical Botany Summer Course

University of Flor-


This course highlights the biology and systematics of tropical plants, 

specifically the extensive holdings of tropical vascular plants at Fair-

child Tropical Garden, The Kampong of the National Tropical Botani-

cal Garden, and the Montgomery Botanical Center. Field trips will also 

be offered to the Everglades, the Florida Keys, and other adjacent 

natural areas. Be on the lookout for an announcement during the win-

ter months.

June or July

More info:

OTS Courses in Tropical Field Biology

Organization for 

Tropical Studies

Courses through the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) are a 

well-renowned way to spend a summer or semester in the field, learn-

ing about the biology of tropical ecosystems in Costa Rica and South 

Africa. Course offerings include Tropical Plant Systematics, but check 

their website for the full list of offerings.

Variable dates

More info:

microMORPH & Arnold Arboretum Short-Course in Organismic Plant 


Arnold Arboretum 

of Harvard Univer-


microMORPH summer short-courses give students a 2-week immer-

sive learning experience amid the expansive living collections and the 

state-of-the-art microscopy facilities of the Arnold Arboretum. The top-

ic for 2017 is Plant Anatomy: Development, Function, and Evolution, 

and applications are due by mid-April. 

July 30 – August 12

More info:

Molecular Evolution Workshop

Marine Biological 

Library at Wood’s 


This 10-day course features a series of lectures, discussions, and 

bioinformatics exercises. Included are sessions on phylogenetic anal-

yses, population genetics analyses, databases and sequence match-

ing, molecular evolution, and comparative genomics. Applications for 

participation are due on April 7, 2017.

July 17-27

More info:

Short Courses and Workshops 

These are a great way to learn new research skills, which can also be added to your CV or resume. 

Here are a few of the many options available to grad students for part of a semester or summer.

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PSB 63 (1) 2017      

 Student Section


Bodega Bay Applied Phylogenetics Workshop

UC Davis and the 

Bodega Marine 


This week-long course will cover topics in statistical phylogenetics and 

give students the opportunity to complete a project during the course. 

The schedule will likely include sessions on Bayesian interference, 

divergence-time estimation, MCMC diagnosis and model selection, 

biogeography, continuous and discrete trait evolution, species tree in-

ference, and rates of lineage diversification.

March 11-18

More info:

The R Basics Workshop

Missouri Botanical 


This workshop is one way to get exposure and experience working 

with R, a powerful statistical software package. No dates are currently 

set for the next 3-day crash course, but it is likely that it will be taught 

again next May in St. Louis by scientists from the Center for Conser-

vation and Sustainable Development. Look out for a formal announce-

ment in December or January and watch the website.

To be announced

More info:

edX: Data Analysis for the Life Sciences


edX, a free online course provider, offers a 7-part course on data anal-

ysis for the life sciences (PH525.1-7). These courses are a self-paced 

way to learn R for statistical analysis, starting with basic R use to deal-

ing with genomic datasets. These courses combine video lectures, 

practical exercises, and a discussion board monitored by course de-


Variable times

More info:

Search “PH525” on


Masters/PhD/Post-Doctoral Opportunities

These types of jobs are easily searchable on the “EvolDir” website under “PostDocs” and 

“GradStudentPositions”. Click the icon, and listings will pop up in a list from the newest to the 

oldest. This site shows positions from across the biological sciences, but it is a great option 

for plant evolutionary biologists.

Academic Teaching Positions

Check the BSA website:  click on the “Careers/Jobs” tab, and you can select the “Post-doctor-

al, Fellowship, and Career Opportunities” link to see a current list of a variety of job postings. 

The BSA website is a great resource for one-stop-shopping for careers and other opportuni-

ties in a variety of botanical sciences. Another good resource for finding jobs (including post-

doctoral opportunities) can be found through AAAS, at the Science Careers site.
Botanical Society of America

What’s Next: Looking for a Job in Botany 

Before you complete your degree, or if you are looking to switch jobs, it is important 

to consider your next step—whether it be finding a PI and lab to work in for continu-

ing your education, finding a post-doctoral research opportunity, or finding a job that 

suits your goals and skills. Finding out about jobs often happens through personal 

contacts, but there are great online resources as well.

AAAS Science Careers

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PSB 63 (1) 2017      

 Student Section


Government Positions and Non-Academic Jobs

Searches for government jobs can begin at and A good re-

source for non-academic jobs is the Conservation Job Board; this site allows you to search 

within various fields by state and is updated regularly. Networking sites like LinkedIn and 

ResearchGate will help you connect with and organize your professional contacts—be sure 

keep you profile pages updated and polished!

Government Positions

Conservation Job Board

Use your University!

Many academic institutions have offices that focus on helping alumni succeed after gradu-

ation. Check with your department or institution for resources on job announcements, work-

shops focused on personal development (such as CV/resume writing or getting a teaching 

certificate), and networking opportunities.




60 years ago: “The vote on the question posed in the Oct. 1956 number of PSB, namely, should PSB be contin-

ued beyond its two-year trial period, now stands at 293 in favor of continued publication, 2 opposed to contin-

ued publication. While this vote does not represent a majority of Bot. Soc’s. members, it doubtless represents 

a fair sample of the opinions of our members. Thus, publication of PSB will doubtless continue, although the 

Council has not yet had the opportunity to render an official decision.”

-Future of the Plant Science Bulletin PSB 3(1): 6

50 years ago: “Flora North America, as the project will be called, was officially launched on January 30, 1967 

when the newly formed Editorial Committee held its first meeting at the Smithsonian Institution in Washing-

ton, D.C. This three-day meeting, convened by William L. Stern (Smithsonian), Chairman pro terra. of the 

Steering Committee, was attended by all members of the Editorial Committee.”

-Shetler, Stanwyn G. Flora North America Launched PSB 13(1): 5.

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Eagle Hill Institute Natural 

History Science 2017 Field 


Eagle Hill Institute, located on the eastern 

coast of Maine, will host seminars and work-

shops focusing on natural history during 

Summer 2017.  These workshops are in sup-

port of field biologists, researchers, field natu-

ralists, faculty members, students, and artists 

with interests in the natural history sciences.

Courses include “Sedges and Rushes: Identi-

fication and Ecology”; “Identification, Biol-

ogy, and Natural History of Ferns and Lyco-

phytes”; “Field Botany and Plant Ecology of 

the Eastern Maine Coast”; “Bogs and Fens: 

Maine Peatlands”; “Mosses: Structure, Ecol-

ogy, and Identification”; “Survey of Grasses: 

Their Structure, Identification, and Ecology”; 

and “Field Botany and Plant Ecology of the 

Eastern Maine Coast”, among many others. A 

full list of 2017 seminars and workshops, as 

well as registration information, can be found 



Pam and Doug Soltis 

Awarded the  

2016 Darwin-Wallace Medal

Doug and Pam Soltis have been awarded the 

2016 Darwin-Wallace Medal. This award, 

presented by the Linnean Society of Lon-

don, recognizes their groundbreaking work 

in the study of evolution and diversification 

in angiosperms, including in phylogeny re-

construction, genome evolution, phylogeog-

raphy, and many other topics.  The official an-

nouncement of this award can be found in The 

Linnean 32(2): 35-36.

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PSB 63 (1) 2017        


Plant Evolution

An Introduction to the History of Life

Karl J. Niklas

“In a true tour de force, Niklas assays the mechanisms and 

patterns of evolution, from molecules to ecosystems, using 

plants as examples. Must-reading for plant scientists,  

Plant Evolution will both delight and challenge everyone  

who peers into the heart of biology.”—Andrew Knoll,  

Harvard University  

Paper $45.00









The Chicago Guide to  

Communicating Science

Second Edition

Scott L. Montgomery

“Montgomery acknowledges that the training of sci-

entists, unlike higher education in the humanities, has 

long excluded the formal development of writing, oral 

presentation, and editing. But he sets out to dispel  

the notion that scientists are inherently less skilled  

at the art of communication. . . . Armed with a little 

more knowledge of the basic tenets of writing, he says,  

any scientist can write with eloquence.”—Science 

Paper $25.00





Phylogeny and Evolution  

of the Angiosperms

Revised and Updated Edition

Douglas Soltis, Pamela Soltis, Peter Endress,  

Mark Chase, Steven Manchester, Walter Judd,  

Lucas Majure, and Evgeny Mavrodiev

“Excellent. . . . Highly recommendable for anyone involved in  

plant systematics.”—Plant Science Bulletin, on the first edition  

Cloth $80.00

Forthcoming in August

The University of Chicago Press

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PSB 63 (1) 2017        


In Memoriam

Thomas Norwood Taylor 


It is with profound sadness that we acknowl-

edge the passing of Dr. Thomas N. Taylor, 

Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor of 

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the Uni-

versity of Kansas, Curator of Paleobotany in 

the Biodiversity Institute and Natural History 

Museum at University of Kansas, and senior 

paleobotanist in the National Science Foun-

dation U.S. Antarctic Program.  Tom died at 

home in Lawrence, Kansas on April 28, 2016 

after several years of battling cancer, and in so 

doing has left his discipline, his students, and 

his colleagues far poorer for his loss.  In char-

acteristic fashion for his indomitable person-

ality, Tom was to be seen working at his desk 

less than a month before his death.

Tom Taylor was an Ohio boy, who earned his 

B.A. in Botany at Miami University (of Ohio) 

in 1960, and his Ph.D. in paleobotany in Wil-

son Stewart’s lab at the University of Illinois 

in 1964.  He then moved to Theodore Delevo-

ryas’ lab at Yale University for postdoctoral 

work in 1964 and 1965.   At that time, coal 

ball studies were among the most active areas 

of paleobotanical investigation, and Tom fo-

cused his studies on the morphological and 

anatomical characterization of ovules assign-

able to medullosans and other seed ferns, on 

ferns, and on equisetophytes.  In 1965, Tom 

accepted an Assistant Professorship at the 

University of Illinois at Chicago Circle, where 

he continued his studies of anatomically pre-

served Pennsylvanian and Mississippian age 

plants.  During that period Tom worked close-

ly with Donald A. Eggert, who he recruited 

from the University of Iowa and with whom 

he built massive collections and an extremely 

active program to study permineralized fos-

sil plants at U.I.C.C.  During those early years 

Tom began focusing on the ultrastructure of 

pollen and spores, for which he pioneered use 

of the scanning electron microscope in botan-

ical studies, and developed many of the trans-

mission and scanning electron microscopy 

techniques that are in common use today. 
Although he had been promoted to Professor 

of Biological Sciences by 1971, Tom moved 

his laboratory and students to Ohio Univer-

sity in 1972, and then moved onto the Ohio 

State University in 1974, where he chaired the 

Department of Botany until 1978.  In 1982 he 

joined the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio 

State, and began characterizing the Permian, 

Triassic, and Jurassic vegetation of Antarctica, 

a loving endeavor that he continued to pursue 

for the rest of his life.  

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PSB 63 (1) 2017        


Originally stimulated by the early Antarctic 

work of James Morton Schopf, Tom’s studies 

of the late Paleozoic and Mesozoic plant bio-

tas of Antarctica have dramatically expanded 

our knowledge and understanding of plant 

evolution and vegetational turnover on the 

continent of Gondwana.  Also beginning in 

the 1980s, Tom hosted Argentine senior sci-

entist Sergio Archangelsky, as well as post-

doctoral researchers Georgina del Fueyo, Ana 

Archangelsky, Ruben Cuneo, and Ignacio Es-

capa.  Those studies dramatically broadened 

the scope of studies on the South American 

biotas of Gondwana and produced life-long 

collaborations with Argentine colleagues. 
In 1981, Tom hosted a sabbatical leave for 

his close friend and chytridalean mycologist, 

Charles E. Miller of Ohio University.  That 

collaboration spurred his interest in fos-

sil fungi, and laid the groundwork for Tom’s 

pioneering development of the discipline of 

paleomycology.  Initially focusing on fungi 

in Pennsylvanian age coal balls, Tom’s inter-

ests quickly extended to the Lower Devoni-

an Rhynie Chert, which he first studied with 

Winfried Remy.  For more than 30 years Tom 

collaborated extensively with Hans Kerp, Ha-

gan Hass, Michael Krings, and others to fun-

damentally reinterpret the scope of biological 

interactions that can be inferred from the fos-

sil record.  Those efforts have recently been 

compiled in the first comprehensive paleomy-

cology textbook, “Fossil Fungi” (2015), which 

Tom co-authored with Michael Krings and 

Edith Taylor. 
In 1995 Tom retired from The Ohio State 

University, but in characteristic “Taylorian” 

fashion, he did not retire from scholarship.  

Rather, Tom moved to the University of Kan-

sas, where he accepted the positions of Dis-

tinguished Professor in Botany, Curator of 

Paleobotany in the Biodiversity Institute and 

Natural History Museum, and Courtesy Pro-

fessor in Geology.  Following establishment of 

the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary 

Biology at KU, Tom served as chair of the new 

department for three years before focusing 

his seemingly boundless energy on research, 

student mentoring, fieldwork, and classroom 

Along the way, Tom found the time to deliver 

several hundred papers at scientific meetings, 

publish 468 peer-reviewed journal articles 

and book chapters, edit four books of scien-

tific contributions, and author four textbooks, 

including three paleobotany textbooks and 

the first comprehensive compendium on fos-

sil fungi.  Tom’s mentorship is legendary for 

the numbers of students graduated (M.S. = 11, 

Ph.D. = 14), postdoctoral researchers super-

vised (19), long-term researching guests to his 

laboratory (26), and for the creativity of his 

advice, the high level of his expectations, and 

the continuing support he generously provid-

ed to all.  For his students, colleagues, and col-

laborations, he became both an inspirational 

colleague and a steadfast friend.

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Tom was extremely proud of the nearly 60 

externally funded research grants, including 

more than 50 years of continuous support 

from the National Science Foundation.  More 

importantly, however, he was most gratified 

that such funding allowed him to offer unpar-

alleled support for the mentoring of students 

and for the development of collaborations 

with colleagues from around the globe.  While 

Tom took in stride his own unparalleled suc-

cess in plant paleontology and paleobiology, 

his colleagues did not, and he was the recipi-

ent of numerous awards and honors.  Among 

those that are most illustrative of the stature in 

which he is held are the Distinguished Teach-

ing Award from The Ohio State University 

(1989) that recognized his commitment to 

students, the Alexander von Humboldt Senior 

Research Award (1994–1996) that initiated 

Tom’s work on the Rhynie Chert, and the Pa-

leobotanical Section of the Botanical Society 

of America Award for a lifetime of contribu-

tions to Paleobotany (2012).  His colleagues’ 

appreciation for his service is also reflected in 

his election as President of the International 

Organisation of Palaeobotany (1994–1997), 

and the National Science Board recognition 

he received for outstanding service to science 

(2006–2012).  On the flight back from Mc-

Murdo Base in Antarctica in 1994, Tom re-

plied to my prediction that he would soon be 

elected to the National Academy of Sciences 

by saying that he was far too independent to 

ever be accepted into that group.  Only three 

months later we received the announcement 

that he had, indeed, been so elected.
Tom Taylor is clearly one of the most influ-

ential plant scientists of our time. Through 

his indomitable pursuit of excellence, his 

tireless development of new approaches and 

techniques, his thoughtful establishment of 

awards and programs to benefit students, his 

continuous contributions to the development 

of scientific societies and institutions, and his 

steadfast support of colleagues, Tom Taylor 

has dramatically elevated the quality and stat-

ure of paleobiological inquiry.  
On a personal note, I shall always be grateful 

that in 1967 Tom accepted into his laboratory 

a masters student of rather equivocal poten-

tial, and also for the subsequent 50 years of 

guidance, support, criticism, encouragement, 

and inspiration that he continued to offer.  I 

am delighted to recall that his passion for life 

was equaled by his fierce loyalty to those he 

loved.  Tom was a devoted husband to his wife 

Edith Taylor, and a loving father to his seven 

children, and his grandchildren.  Biological 

or scholastic, we were all family to Tom.  It 

is hard to realize that I can no longer call his 

office to hear the familiar “Taylor” that would 

signal the beginning of a warm and enlighten-

ing conversation with my trusted mentor and 

fast friend.   He is badly missed.
By Gar Rothwell 

Ohio University, and 

Oregon State University

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PSB 63 (1) 2017        


Hugh Iltis  


Hugh H. Iltis, Ph.D., 91, passionate and out-

spoken advocate for preservation of the natu-

ral world, died December 19, 2016, after a long 

and full life. A larger-than-life figure to all who 

knew him, Iltis was born in Brno, Czechoslo-

vakia on April 7, 1925. His father, Hugo, was a 

botanist, educator, and biographer of Mendel, 

the founder of genetics. Because Iltis’s father 

was Jewish and a left-wing political activist, he 

was targeted by the Nazis and, with the help 

of Albert Einstein, the family left Brno for the 

United States in 1938, settling in Virginia. 

After a year at the University of Tennessee, Iltis 

entered the U.S. Army during WWII, spend-

ing 1944-46 in Europe as a medic, interroga-

tor of captured German officers, and later as 

an intelligence officer, preparing documents 

for the Nuremburg trials. He received his B.A. 

degree from the University of Tennessee and 

his Ph.D. at Washington University and the 

Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. 
Following three years of teaching at the Uni-

versity of Arkansas, Iltis spent nearly 40 years 

(1955–1993) as Botany professor and Direc-



o cr


it t

o B


t N




tor of the Herbarium at the UW-Madison, 

growing the herbarium to house over 1 mil-

lion dried plant specimens. His taxonomic re-

search focused on Capparidaceae and on Zea, 

working primarily in Mexico and the tropics. 

Iltis led numerous expeditions to many parts 

of the world to search for new plant species, 

travelling on mule or horseback when neces-

Teaching his courses with enthusiasm and 

dramatic flair, he educated students on the 

importance of integrating taxonomy, bioge-

ography, ecology, and evolution. He advised 

36 graduate students, many of whom have 

gone on to impressive research and academ-

ic careers in botany. The lobby of Birge Hall 

for a few years was filled (to the dismay of 

some administrators) with donated scientif-

ic books and journals, ultimately filling two 

semi-trailer trucks, bound for the University 

of Guadalajara. In later years, he turned his 

book donating primarily to the UW-Madison 

Iltis authored dozens of scientific papers and 

book chapters, environmental writings, and 

the Atlas of the Wisconsin Prairie and Savanna 

Flora, co-authored by Ted Cochrane. 
In defense of the flowers, butterflies, birds and 

children, Iltis spoke out forcefully against the 

mindless consumption of material posses-

sions, the heedless destruction of biological 

diversity, and the unsustainable increase in 

human population, the root cause of our en-

vironmental crisis. He was a strong support-

er of abortion rights. His role in all aspects of 

his career was to stir up people, to confront 

people with the hard reality of what must be 

done to preserve the quality of the natural en-

vironment for human survival and for scien-

tific study. 
Of the world’s nine known species of toma-

toes, Iltis discovered two of them when he 

travelled to Peru on a $20,000 NSF grant 

from November 1962 to February 1963 ac-

companied by then wife Carolyn Merchant 

and Ph. D student Don Ugent and his wife. 

One of those two wild tomato species discov-

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PSB 63 (1) 2017        


ered, proved 17 years later to be worth many 

millions of dollars a year to the industry—an 

over ten-thousand-fold sensational return on 

a small research investment, which may ulti-

mately be dwarfed by the yet-unknown value 

of the over 20,000 specimens collected on that 

trip including many new endemic species. 

It is thus all the more inexcusable that while 

much of the world’s biodiversity is disappear-

ing overnight before we even know what has 

been lost, funding for basic scientific research 

continues to face sharp cuts.
His preservation efforts were successful in 

Wisconsin, Hawaii, and Mexico. Iltis was 

co-founder in 1960 of the Wisconsin Chap-

ter of the Nature Conservancy. In 1967 he 

instigated formulation of Hawaii’s Natural 

Areas Law, which was enacted in 1970, and 

on the 20


 anniversary (1990) he was recog-

nized “for outstanding service to the Hawai-

ian environment.” In 1968 he was part of a 

small group, including Hugh’s colleague Orie 

Loucks, whose activism led to the outlawing 

of DDT in Wisconsin, which led, ultimately, to 

a national ban. Following his sensational dis-

covery with Mexican botanist Rafael Guzman, 

of Zea diploperennis (perennial teosinte, and 

close relative of cultivated corn, Z. mays) in 

Mexico in 1977, he played a pivotal role in es-

tablishing the 345,000-acre Sierra de Manant-

lan Biosphere Reserve in the State of Jalisco, 

the first time an international biosphere re-

serve was founded around the site of a rare, 

endemic species whose germplasm holds the 

only known source of genetic resistance to 

various corn viruses and corn rust disease and 

thus is of potentially enormous economic val-

ue. The Sierra de Manantlan is two thirds the 

size of the Great Smoky Mountains Nation-

al Park, another place that Iltis loved and to 

which he led field trips. For this effort, in 1987 

he received the Republic of Mexico’s Presiden-

tial Award from then President De La Madrid. 

More importantly, it has launched the further 

education of a number of accomplished Mexi-

can botanists and environmentalists. 
Other awards that Iltis received during his 

career were the Sol Feinstone Environmental 

Award (1990), National Wildlife Federation 

of Merit Award (1992), Society for Conser-

vation Biology Service Award (1994), the Asa 

Gray Award by the American Society of Plant 

Taxonomists (considered the top award in the 

field of taxonomy) (1994), the Merit Award 

from the Botanical Society of America (1996), 

the University of Guadalajara’s Luce Maria 

Villareal de Puga Medal (1994), and an hon-

orary degree from the University of Guadala-

He always shared liberally, be it authorship of 

papers, credit for discoveries, or even a place 

to live—as a number of Mexican students who 

gained Masters or Ph.D. degrees at the UW 

lived in his home for sometimes months at a 

time. He worked with dozens of institutions in 

Latin America, making a strong contribution 

to the development of science, and developing 

strong collaborative ties with researchers in 

those countries. 
As early as 1964, Iltis argued that the most 

profound reason why we should preserve the 

natural world was human’s innate need for 

natural beauty and diversity. The cover page of 

his copy of E. O. Wilson’s Biophilia bears Wil-

son’s inscription, “To HHI, the pioneer in the 

field.” Iltis loved prairies, studied them, and 

wrote and spoke passionately in their defense. 

Two prairie and savannah areas in Wisconsin 

now bear his name. 
Hugh is survived by his four sons, Frank and 

Michael of Madison, David of Salt Lake City, 

and John of Minneapolis, and friends and 

colleagues. He was preceded in death by his 

father, Hugo; mother, Anni; brother, Wilfred; 

and wife, Sharyn Wisniewski. 
It is suggested that contributions in Hugh Il-

tis’s name be directed to the Wisconsin Chap-

ter of the Nature Conservancy or to The Prai-

rie Enthusiasts.


-By Michael Iltis

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PSB 63 (1) 2017        


Taylor A. Steeves, University of 

Saskatchewan, and Vipen K. Sawhney

University of Saskatchewan

•  The first comprehensive account of developmental 

plant anatomy on the market in years

The main aim of this book is to provide a 

developmental perspective to plant anatomy.

Authors Steeves and Sawhney provide fundamental 

information on plant structure and development to 

students at the introductory level, and as a resource 

material to researchers working in nearly all areas of 

plant biology including plant physiology, systematics, 

ecology, developmental genetics, and molecular 

biology. The book is focused on angiosperm species 

with some examples from different groups of plants.

Claim your 

30% discount

 when you order online today*




Ordering Details



For more information about postage charges and delivery times visit

*only when you order directly via, adding promotion code ASPROMP8 to your shopping basket.   
Discount valid until 31/07/2017.  Limit 10 copies per transaction. This offer is only available to individual (non-trade) 
customers . This offer is exclusive and cannot be redeemed in conjunction with any other promotional discounts.

The specifications in this leaflet, including without limitation price, format, extent, number of illustrations, and month of publication, were as accurate as possible at the time it went to press.

JANUARY 2017 | 184 PAGES  

978-0-19-065705-5 | HARDBACK   






Essentials of Developmental Plant Anatomy

The late Professor Taylor A. Steeves served as the department 

head for many years of the Biology Department at the 

University of Saskatchewan. 

Vipen K. Sawhney is Professor Emeritus and former Head of 

the Biology Department at the University of Saskatchewan. 

Both Professors Steeves and Sawhney are internationally 

known developmental botanists and have received several 

awards including the Lawson medal from the Canadian 

Botanical Association, and Master Teacher Award from the 

University of Saskatchewan.

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Complexity: The Evolution of Earth's Biodiversity and the Future of Humanity ..........39


Plant Functional Diversity: Organism Traits, Community Structure, and Ecosystem 

Properties ............................................................................................................................................................41

On the Forests of Tropical Asia: Lest the Memory Fade .......................................................43

Economic Botany

Handbook of Cucurbits: Growth, Cultural Practices, and Physiology ...............................45

The Book of Spice: From Anise to Zedoary ...................................................................................46


A Botanist’s Vocabulary: 1300 Terms Explained and Illustrated .........................................48


Plant: Exploring the Botanical World ....................................................................................................49


Name Those Grasses: Identifying Grasses, Sedges and Rushes .....................................51

Agaves, Yuccas, and Their Kin: Seven Genera of the Southwest .....................................53

Guide to the Vascular Flora of Howell Woods, Johnston County,  

North Carolina, U.S.A. ....................................................................................................................................54

Native Plants for Southeast Virginia, including Hampton Roads Region ........................54


Complexity: The Evolu-

tion of Earth's Biodiver-

sity and the Future of 


William C. Burger


ISBN-13: 978-1-63388-193-8 

Hardcover, US$26.00. 380 pp.

Prometheus Books, Amherst, 

New York, USA

Complexity describes the background of bio-

diversity on our planet, and, as the book’s 

subtitle states, the future of humanity. In fact, 

when I came across it, this subtitle made me 

curious and prompted me to read and review 

this book. Who is the author? William C. 

Burger is a biologist, botanist, ecologist, writ-

er, and has been Chair and Emeritus Curator 

of Botany at the Field Museum of Natural 

History in Chicago. He is highly qualified to 

write a book on this topic, and he claims to be 

a pessimist. 
From the beginning, Complexity is different 

from standard ecological textbooks because 

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PSB 63 (1) 2017        


Book Reviews

the author tries to involve interested readers 

with a general educational background as well 

as scientific peers. To do so, and to capture 

his audience´s attention, the author starts at 

comparably low level of biology, and proceeds 

stepwise to higher levels of complexity. The 

problem with complexity and biodiversity is 

that related research is rooted in many differ-

ent disciplines. Systematics, phylogeny, bioge-

ography, and ecology have to be covered, as 

well as conservation biology, biochemistry, 

and, when humans are involved, paleontolo-

gy, anthropology, and cultural sciences. The 

author collects examples and insights from all 

these disciplines, keeping the reader fascinat-

ed, not at least because he is a dedicated teach-

er, as well as a brilliant researcher with ample 

experience abroad from many expeditions to 

unravel biodiversity.
Subdivided in 12 chapters, the book builds up 

stepwise like a series of lectures, covering ba-

sic knowledge in Chapters 1 to 6 and moving 

to more branched and outreaching aspects in 

Chapters 7 to 10. The first 200 pages cover the 

evolution of life on earth and the catastrophes 

that have shaped diversity in chapters that 

could well stand alone as essays.
In the end, the gentle reader has been guided 

through all kinds of different biomes or hab-

itats, through the whole field of biodiversity, 

from billions of beetles to trillions of transis-

tors. While the latter is not really biodiverse, 

but rather a technological means to under-

stand its complexity, it is indispensable to un-

derstand human superiority on this planet. 

Did you know that gymnosperms are not very 

clever, and why that is the case? You´ll learn 

about that in this book. You will also learn why 

life on earth permanently opposes the second 

law of thermodynamics, or why you can mow 

your lawn but not your petunias. Or how bi-

pedalism and swinging arms made our brains 

larger. Filled with impressive examples, some-

times purposefully redundant, with anecdotes 

and quotations from key publications on the 

topic, the book is more than fun to read—it is 

truly impressive. On one page, the author re-

ports on being bitten in tender regions of his 

body by protective ants, a literary highlight 

in itself. Elsewhere, he describes how he has 

witnessed unexplainable but severe damage to 

old preserved forest reserves around the Great 

Lakes, and the loss of biodiversity due to the 

loss of pollinators in the Great Prairies. Even 

more important, William Burger´s book pro-

vides a plethora of facts about why our evo-

lutionary history can never support a six-day 

creation 10,000 years ago.
Written in a colorful style and using bril-

liant examples, the first 10 chapters provide 

the foundation for Burger´s main argument. 

Hence, after having presented the reader 

with an outline of the evolution of diversity 

on earth, in Chapter 11 Burger summariz-

es the contents of the first 10 chapters in the 

book before focusing in Chapter 12 on hu-

man development and human prospects in 

an ever-challenging world. This last chapter 

is of utmost importance. We are adding more 

complexity to this world, and we are expand-

ing the information content of the planet by 

exploiting all available resources, and perma-

nently inventing or improving novel technol-

ogies. Burger describes optimistic viewpoints 

of fellow scientists, but nevertheless pres-

ents a pessimistic view of human future and 

development. Here he turns away from the 

biodiversity- or ecology-driven focus of the 

book—human complexity develops as our 

technologies emerge. In a modern society, 

the most important driver is information and 

the complexity within this information. He 

is afraid, as every insightful biologist should 

be, that our sheer numbers, the ever-increas-

ing birthrates and the thoughtlessness of our 

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PSB 63 (1) 2017        


Book Reviews

technologies are eroding the planet´s diversity 

so that we are, without any doubt, undermin-

ing the base of our own survival on the blue 

planet in the long term.
The monstrous volumes of coal and oil, the in-

credible amounts of minerals and ores that we 

consume daily, and the enormous energy that 

we use combine to dash hopes of reducing 

carbon footprints or stopping climate change. 

Burger is severely concerned about human life 

and future, and throughout the book, specif-

ically in Chapters 10 to 12, he provides proof 

for his pessimistic view.
One shortcoming can be found, and that is 

the lack of explanatory figures throughout the 

book. Nowadays, the general public and our 

students are used to obtaining much infor-

mation from pictures or other visuals. Com-


 comes up with its first figure on page 

170, and this is a poor representation of what 

the author describes. The second figure, about 

skull size and brain development in primates, 

is not much better. 
For me as a non-native speaker, the book, be-

sides providing a plethora of scientific infor-

mation and an exhaustive section of notes, has 

been a treasure of interesting phrases, from 

colloquial language and idioms up to biolog-

ical terms. I enjoyed following its leitmotif, 

the development of its admittedly pessimistic 

plot, and the extraordinarily careful plotting 

of Burger´s argumentation. In a nutshell, the 

book is absolutely worth reading, is a valu-

able source of interesting facts on biodiversity 

and complexity of our home planet, and gives 

many examples for why mankind should act 

more responsibly to save the planet.
But what a pessimistic perspective we are 

given in the end: together with roaches and 

rats, our species will probably muddle on and 

survive even the next man-induced environ-


Plant Functional Diver-

sity: Organism Traits, 

Community Structure, 

and Ecosystem Prop-


Eric Garnier, Marie-Laure 

Navas, and Karl Grigulis

2016. ISBN-13: 978-0-19-


Paperback, US$59.95. xxii + 

231 pp.

Oxford University Press, Oxford, United Kingdom

Plant functional diversity has increasingly 

become the focus of attempts to understand 

organization of plant communities and eco-

system functioning. The promise of this “trait-

based” plant ecology is one of generalized 

prediction across organizational and spatial 

scales, independent of taxonomy. While tax-

onomic and phylogenetic aspects of biodi-

versity remain pertinent to answering many 

ecological questions, the functional approach 

provides many promising and often more 

cause-effect revealing alternatives. The use of 

functional traits, i.e., measurable attributes of 

organisms linked to their fitness, has a rela-

tively long tradition in plant ecology, dating 

back to Warming, Schimper, and Raunki-

mental catastrophes. Burger recognizes clear-

ly that our inherent difficulties are the direct 

consequence of our best intentions. Hence, 

his book can only shed a dim light on the fu-

ture of humanity, and personally, I would be 

even more pessimistic than the author, who 

leaves us with the message that these coming 

times might be “interesting.” 

–Peter Schröder, Helmholtz Center Munich, 

German Research Center for Environmental 

Health, Neuherberg, Germany

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PSB 63 (1) 2017        


Book Reviews

aer. However, the ever-increasing number of 

journal publications in this field over the past 

20 years has become almost overwhelming. 

Interestingly, the modern trait-based plant 

ecology has been developing at about the 

same speed in many countries simultaneous-

ly (e.g., Argentina, Canada, Czech Republic, 

Estonia, France, New Zealand, Spain, United 

Kingdom, United States). The level of inter-

national cooperation in this field is really im-

pressive. The recent article on the global plant 

trait spectrum (Diaz et al., 2016) is one of the 

best examples. Under these circumstances, 

it is surprising that recently published books 

have covered this research field only partial-

ly or idiosyncratically (Craine, 2009; Shipley, 

2010; Grime and Pierce, 2012; Pla et al., 2012; 

Šmilauer and Lepš, 2014; Pawar et al., 2015). 

The book under review is the first attempt 

to summarize current achievements in trait-

based plant ecology, from organisms to eco-

systems. It is based on Diversité Fonctionelle 

des Plantes, published by the first two authors 

in 2013, but is substantially enriched and up-

The book starts with a glossary and table of 

abbreviations that clarify the terminology 

and symbols used throughout the book. The 

text is divided into 10 major chapters, each 

summarized in four to six key points and 

supplemented by an extensive list of relevant 

references. Here are the major questions ad-

dressed by individual chapters: Chapters 1 

and 2—What is a trait, and in what ecological 

context are traits used? Chapter 3—What are 

the appropriate traits to use in a given ecolog-

ical context? Chapters 3 and 8—How do traits 

vary along environmental gradients? Chap-

ters 5 and 8—What are the determinants of 

trait variability in a community? Chapter 5—

What are the rules of community assembly 

in terms of traits? Chapters 6, 7, and 8—How 

do the values and variability of traits affect 

the functioning of ecosystems and the deliv-

ery of ecosystem services to human societies? 

Chapter 9—How are data on traits stored and 

accessed? Chapter 10—What are the most de-

sirable future research directions?
Meaning, methods of actual quantification, 

and relationships among several important 

traits and ecosystem properties (e.g., specific 

leaf area, relative growth rate, residence time 

of nutrients, net primary productivity) are 

presented in sufficient detail. Verbal compar-

ison of 13 indices used to describe the func-

tional structure of communities (Table 5.1) is 

useful. However, if we want to know how to 

combine species data, trait data, and environ-

mental data tables in meaningful multivariate 

analyses, how to choose among multi-trait 

indices, how to deal with missing trait data, 

how to compare the among- and within-spe-

cies extent of trait dissimilarity, or how exactly 

we should test for biotic effects on community 

composition, we have to use more technical 

literature (e.g., de Bello et al., 2012, 2016; Pla 

et al., 2012; Šmilauer and Lepš, 2014). Two 

non-exclusive hypotheses have been proposed 

to explain the effects of plant functional di-

versity on ecosystem properties: (1) the dom-

inance hypothesis, which states that traits of 

dominant species will be most influential, and 

(2) the functional complementarity hypothesis, 

according to which it is primarily the presence 

of different species (with different trait values) 

that use environmental resources in a comple-

mentary manner that will influence ecosystem 

properties. Many instructive examples of ex-

perimental tests of these two hypotheses are 

provided (pp. 119–147). The authors conclude 

that there is currently stronger support for the 

dominance hypothesis than for the comple-

mentarity hypothesis. However, the relative 

importance of complementarity effects re-

mains to be established, and this importance 

may vary between systems an ecosystem prop-

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PSB 63 (1) 2017        


Book Reviews

On the Forests of 

Tropical Asia: Lest the 

Memory Fade 

Peter Ashton

2014. ISBN-13: 978-1-84246-


Hardcover, US$180.00. 670 


Kew Publishing, Royal Bo-

tanic Gardens, Kew, United 


With its large format, abundant color plates, 

and poetically tinged title, this work might at 

first glance be taken for a coffee table picture 

book intended for casual browsing. Closer in-

spection will quickly disabuse the reader of 

such a notion. This is a heavyweight treatise 

that details the major currents of research on 

Asian tropical forests, focusing on the trees 

and their community formations. The text is 

as dense as the forests described. It is packed 

with data, analyses, summaries, and italicized 

key questions for future research, with the 

look of a major scientific treatment that will 

be an essential reference for those who study 

tropical forests. 
The book begins with a chapter on the physi-

cal environment of Asian forests, with discus-

sions of the region’s paleogeographic history, 

climate, geology, soils, and so forth. This chap-

ter is particularly rough going for the outsider. 

There is no political-geographic map provid-

ed, which is problematic for those who don’t 

already know the locations of, say, Sulawesi, 

Halmahera, Palawan, the Makassar Straits, the 

Western Ghats, etc. You can look them up in 

the place names index in the back of the book; 

there you’re given a boldface number that will 

identify the locality on the rainfall map on the 

inside front cover, if you can find the corre-

sponding number. But it will be much easier 

to get hold of a National Geographic (or simi-

lar) map of Asia and keep it on hand. 

erties. A unique feature of this book is a sepa-

rate chapter dealing with functional diversity 

in agriculture (grasslands and crop weeds).
Trait-based plant ecology is a quickly devel-

oping field. Inevitably, this book only provides 

a snapshot of the field in 2015. Still, it will be 

an extremely useful source of information for 

both students and many advanced researchers 

for several years to come.  

–Marcel Rejmánek, Department of Evolution 

and Ecology, University of California, Davis, 

California, USA


Craine, J. M. 2009. Resource Strategies of Wild Plants. 

Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, USA.

de Bello, F., J. N. Price, T. Münkemüller, et al. 2012. 

Functional species pool framework to test for biotic ef-

fects on community assembly. Ecology 93: 2263-2273.

de Bello, F., C. P. Carmona, J. Lepš, et al. 2016. Func-

tional diversity through the mean trait dissimilarity: 

Resolving shortcomings with existing paradigms and 

algorithms. Oecologia 180: 933-940.

Diaz, S., J. Kattge, J. H. Cornelissen, et al. 2016. The 

global spectrum of plant form and function. Nature 

529: 167-171.

Grime, J. P., and S. Pierce. 2012. The Evolutionary 

Strategies that Shape Ecosystems. Wiley-Blackwell, 

Chichester, United Kingdom.

Pawar, S., G. Woodward, and A. I. Dell. 2015. Trait-

Based Ecology: From Structure to Function. Advances 

in Ecological Research, Vol. 52. Academic Press, San 

Diego, California, USA.

Pla, L., F. Casanoves, and J. Di Rienzo. 2012. Quan-

tifying Functional Biodiversity. Springer, Dordrecht, 


Shipley, B. 2010. From Plant Traits to Vegetation 

Structure. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 

United Kingdom.

Šmilauer, P., and J. Lepš. 2014. Multivariate Analysis 

of Ecological Data Using Canoco 5. 2nd ed. Cam-

bridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

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Book Reviews

A distinctive feature of the Asian tropics, we 

learn here, is that its characteristic vegetation 

extends well outside the geographical trop-

ics to the southern Himalayan foothills and 

coastally as far north as the southern islands 

of Japan. This is attributed in large part to a 

vast low-pressure system atop the Himalayan 

Plateau, which draws the moist tropical air 

masses—in particular, the southwestern and 

northeastern monsoons. The next chapters 

describe the lowland tropical vegetation and 

the complex interplay of light, moisture, nu-

trients, and disturbance patterns that sustain 

either a perpetually moist or a seasonal for-

est type. A following chapter details the lower 

and upper montane vegetation of the cloud 

forests, their development in relation to the 

cloud belt, and the transition to the subalpine 

zone. The diverse and fascinating interactions 

with pollinators and seed dispersers are then 

given attention in the chapter “Trees and their 

Mobile Links.” That discussion is followed 

by one entitled “The Palimpsest of History,” 

which analyzes distributions of species and 

higher taxa in the context of long-term climat-

ic, geological, and tectonic history. A note-

worthy theme here is that most angiosperm 

families comprising the tropical Asian forest 

flora actually originated in Gondwana in the 

late Cretaceous, reaching the region chiefly 

via the rafting of the Indian subcontinent onto 

Laurasia in the early Tertiary. A discussion of 

the dynamic factors that maintain and modify 

diversity in contemporary forests follows. The 

book then concludes with two chapters that 

expand the scientific focus on Asian forests 

to give attention to the long-standing human 

interactions. The first of these details the in-

terface of the region’s human history and cul-

ture with the forests and their resources. The 

second outlines the strategies proposed for 

maintaining what is left of Asian tropical for-

ests, and evaluates their record and potential 

for success.

The extensive scholarship summarized in this 

book is thoroughly documented in an ex-

tensive reference list. However, accessing the 

references involves a two-step process that is 

not very user friendly. References are cited 

numerically; you then must find that citation 

number in a long list of continuous text in 

small print at the end of each chapter. But this 

effort gives you only the authors and year of 

publication; you must then search in the liter-

ature list at the end of the book to get the full 

I found few errors worth noting. Biology edu-

cators in the trenches who teach the seed plant 

life cycle may wince when reading (p. 311) that 

a higher plant’s gametes are the pollen grain 

and the ovule. More immediately in need of 

correction: endomycorrhizae are formed by 

Glomeromycota (which are true fungi), not by 

oomycetes (which are stramenopiles; pp.46). 

There also appears to be confusion about the 

meaning of the term “(core) eudicots,” which 

the author repeatedly uses as a synonym for 

basal angiosperms or magnoliids (pp. 382, 

392, and Table 6.1).
These minor complaints are overtopped and 

out-shaded by what is obviously a massive 

achievement, certain to find its place in the 

emergent canopy of tropical forest science.

–William B. Sanders, Florida Gulf Coast Uni-

versity, Fort Meyers, Florida, USA

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PSB 63 (1) 2017        


Book Reviews


Handbook of Cucurbits: 

Growth, Cultural Prac-

tices, and Physiology 

Mohammad Pessarakli 


2016. ISBN-13: 978-1-4822-


Hardcover, US$279.95. 574 


CRC Press, Boca Raton, Flori-

da, USA

I was very impressed with the Handbook of 

Cucurbits. This handbook is a compilation 

of research articles covering many aspects 

related to cucurbits. The manual was edited 

by Dr. Mohammad Pessarakli, from the 

School of Plant Sciences at the University 

of Arizona, with the collaboration of more 

than 50 renowned scientists from around the 

world. The book is organized topically into 11 

sections with 31 chapters. This organization 

facilitates the ability of the reader to select the 

articles that are most interesting to his or her 

I was very interested in learning more about 

this widely distributed group of plants. I 

was familiar with most of the New World 

pumpkins, squashes, and melons, but learned 

a great deal about many other types of 

cucurbits that are grown primarily in Asia. 

There is no doubt that with global warming 

and the drastic change of climate in many 

parts of the world, the adaptability of species 
in the Cucurbitaceae


will bring a desirable 

food source to markets where traditional 

plants will no longer be able to survive. I 

would highly recommend the following 

chapters: “Cucurbits: History, Nomenclature, 

Taxonomy, and Reproductive Growth,” by S. 

Ramesh Kumar, and “Cucurbits: Importance, 

Botany, Uses, Cultivation, Nutrition, Genetic 

Resources, Diseases, and Pests,” by David 

O. Ojo. Both chapters contain detailed 

information on the history, uses, and 

taxonomy of this family, and include familiar 

names along with many that I heard for the 

first time. One of the curiosities described in 

the book is the origin of the common name 

“cantaloupe.” Ojo mentions in his section 

about Cucumis melo L. (muskmelon) that the 

name "cantaloupe" derives from the 15th-

century introduction of melon from Turkish 

Armenia to the papal residence at Cantalupi, 

near Rome. Another interesting chapter is 

“Carbohydrate Metabolism of Cucurbits” by 

Minmin Miao and Zhiping Zhang. Most plants 

follow a sucrose-translocating metabolism 

of photosynthates, but cucurbits translocate 

sugars mainly in the form of raffinose family 

oligosaccharides (RFOs). This is a different 

pathway that needs to be understood in order 

to take advantage of the rapid distribution 

of sugars to most parts of the plant. In many 

species, not only the fruits are edible, but 

young stems, leaves, and even roots are also 

consumed because of their starch and sugar 

The Handbook of Cucurbits has many chapters 

related to the cultural practices related to 

cucurbits, as well as practices for weed and 

pest control. The sections on Genetics, 

Genomics, and Breeding of Cucurbits and on 

Cucurbit Grafting have up-to-date chapters 

that include the newest information related 

to plant breeding and practices to improve 

pest resistance using tolerant and/or resistant 

genes. Most interesting and relevant to the 

climatic changes our planet is experiencing 

are the following chapters: “Physiological 

and Biochemical Responses of Cucurbits to 

Drought Stress,” by Amir H. Saeidnejad; “Soil 

Salinity: Causes, Effects, and Management in 

Cucurbits,” by A. Sharma, C. Rana, S. Singh, 

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PSB 63 (1) 2017        


Book Reviews

and V. Katoch; and “Growth Responses of 

Watermelon to Biotic and Abiotic Stresses,”by 

Satya S. Narina. There is only one chapter 

in the section Therapeutic and Medicinal 

Values of Cucurbits, but this chapter is full 

of nutritional information on 14 species of 

cultivated cucurbits, from the white gourd 

(Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn.) to the 

snake gourd (Trichosanthes anguina L.). This 

chapter also provides a detailed description of 

the domestication of cucurbits, their centers 

of diversity, and areas of cultivation.
The last section focuses on individual 

crops. There are two chapters devoted to 

different taxonomic, agricultural, nutritional, 

and medicinal properties of snake gourd 

(Trichosanthes  L. sp.). The following crops: 

bitter melon (Momordica charantia L.), 

snapmelon (Cucumis melo var. momordica 

(Roxb.) Cogn.), kachri (Cucumis callosus 

(Rottler) Cogn. & Harms), and squashes 

and gourds, have a chapter devoted to the 

characteristics, uses, and cultivation of these 

useful cucurbits. The chapter on squashes and 

gourds lists and describes characteristics of 

five species within the genus Cucurbita L.: C. 

argyrosperma K. Koch, C. ficifolia Bouché, C. 

maxima Duchesne, C. moschata Duchesne, C. 

pepo L., as well as Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) 

Standl., and five species within the genus Luffa 

Mill.: L. acutangula (L.) Roxb., L. aegyptiaca 

Mill., L. echinata Roxb., L. graveolens Roxb., 

and L. hermaphrodita Singh & Bandhari.
All of the chapters have ample, up-to-date 

reference citations that are beneficial for all 

scientists interested in these subjects. Several 

chapters have pictures to illustrate some of 

the plant or fruit characteristics, and the 

pictures are reproduced in color plates as an 

insert in the center of the book. If there is one 

disappointment I had about this handbook, 

it is the lack of pictures identifying many of 

the species that are grown as common crops 

in Asia and Africa, but that are not common 

to growers in other parts of the world. Overall, 

this is a very informative book that is well 

presented and easy to follow, even for those 

who are not crop or agricultural scientists, 

and it offers complete references for those 

looking for research information on species 

in the cucurbits family.
   –Cecilia Bianchi-Hall, Ph.D., Lenoir Commu-

nity College, Kinston North Carolina, USA 

The Book of Spice: 

From Anise to Zedoary

John O’Connell 


ISBN-13: 978-1-68177-


Cloth, US$26.95. 271 pp. 

Pegasus Books, New York, 

New York, USA

The WorldCat record reveals that 1,936 book 

titles were published under the search keyword 

“spices” (qualified by “not juv, not fiction”) 

during the past seven years (2010–2016); 300 

of those books are not in English. Collectively, 

the topics include regional cookbooks, history, 

geography, nutrition, even phytochemistry. 

Why then, I wondered, is a new title about 

spices being published now?
Promotional literature states that author John 

O’Connell is a former Books Editor at Time Out

magazine. He writes book reviews regularly 

for  The Guardian and The Times. He is the 

co-author of I Told You I Was Ill: Adventures 

in Hypochondria  and  The Midlife Manual. 

O’Connell’s experience with the literary scene 

enabled him to select a topic about which 

many readers have some general interest, and 

using various electronically available sources 

and a variety of other culinary works and a 

few classics, he’s assembled a dictionary of 

spices from A to Z.

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PSB 63 (1) 2017        


If you are seeking a romantic getaway to 

faraway places without a visa or having to 

remove your shoes for airport security, but 

instead within the comfort of your favorite 

armchair, The Book of Spices will take you there 

effortlessly and bring you delight. Each spice, 

arranged alphabetically, receives variable 

attention, from a mere paragraph to several 

pages. Anecdotal tales are woven describing 

historical or contemporary use, comparisons 

are made between cultures, and recipes old and 

new tempt the reader. The book may be read 

from cover to cover, as recreational reading, 

or simply as a handbook to the ingredients in 

one’s cupboard. It seems to be accessible to a 

general audience interested in flavors used in 

cooking throughout history. I find the 18-page 

Directory of Spice Mixes at the dictionary’s 

end a worthwhile contribution, introducing 

readers alphabetically to little-known blends 

from advieh, a Persian spice mix, to zhug, a 

coarse chili paste from Yemen. 
This dictionary, unfortunately, is not 

illustrated, and offers only a three-page “select 

bibliography,” rather than a comprehensive 

list of sources, although 369 notes on 15 pages 

document the information presented. I am 

disappointed to find that many are secondary 

sources and compilations. O’Connell 

leans heavily on Gernot Katzer’s website 

for information; in the acknowledgments 

he wrote: “Anyone seeking more detailed 

botanical knowledge should google Katzer’s 

spice pages—truly a feast of riches.” I would 

caution botanists against overreliance, having 

studied that source myself for more than a 

Citing Katzer among his references for the 

entry about sesame, O’Connell relies on 

Katzer’s very dated information: “Sesame is 

an ancient cultigen. Today, it is mostly grown 

in India and the Far East (China, Korea), but 

its origin is probably tropic Africa (although 

some other sources seem to favour an Indian 

origin).” This is one among several of Katzer’s 

facts that remain unchanged since I read them 

initially; he’s overlooked evidence published 

over the course of more than three decades 

about the domestication of sesame (Bedigian, 

Additionally, FAO statistics (2014 latest 

available) show remarkable changes in 

production figures, even since those data were 

presented in the monograph about sesame 

(Bedigian, 2010). Current as of 2014, Africa 

contributed 54.8% of the world’s sesame 

production while Asia provided 41.6%, with 

the remaining 3.6% by the Americas. Those 

top 10 producers in descending order were 

India, Sudan, mainland China, Myanmar, 

Tanzania, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, 

South Sudan, and Uganda.
–Dorothea Bedigian, Research Associate, Mis-

souri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri, 



Bedigian, D. 1984. Sesamum indicum L. Crop or-

igin, diversity, chemistry and ethnobotany. Ph.D. 

dissertation, University of Illinois, Urbana-Cham-

paign,  Illinois,  USA.  [University  Microfilms 

DA8502071, Dissertation Abstracts International 

45, 1985: 3410-B.]

Bedigian, D. 2010. Current market trends: Criti-

cal issues and economic importance of sesame. In

D. Bedigian [ed.], Sesame: The genus Sesamum, 

423–490. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, 

Boca Raton, Florida, USA. 

Bedigian, D. 2014. A new combination for the In-

dian progenitor of sesame, Sesamum indicum L. 

(Pedaliaceae). Novon 23(1): 5–13.

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Book Reviews

Bedigian, D. 2015. Systematics and evolution in 

Sesamum L. (Pedaliaceae), part 1: Evidence re-

garding the origin of sesame and its closest rela-

tives. Webbia 70(1): 1–42. 

Bedigian, D., D. S. Seigler, and J. R. Harlan. 1985. 

Sesamin, sesamolin and the origin of sesame. Bio-

chemical Systematics and Ecology 13: 133–139.

FAOSTAT. 2014. Website

faostat/en/#data/QC/visualize [accessed 3 Febru-

ary 2017].

Gormley, I. C., D. Bedigian, and R. G. Olmstead. 

2015. Phylogeny of Pedaliaceae and Martyniace-

ae and the placement of Trapella in Plantaginace-

ae. Systematic Botany 40: 259–268.

A Botanist’s Vocabulary: 

1300 Terms Explained 

and Illustrated

Susan K. Pell and Bobbi 


2016. ISBN-13: 978-160469-


Hardcover, US$24.95. 228 


Timber Press, Portland, Ore-

gon, USA

This book is written for a general audience 

interested in botany and botanical terms. The 

authors focus on educating naturalists and 

gardeners by providing concise definitions 

important for plant biologists and detailed line 

drawings, which are beautiful as well. Susan 

Pell is on the staff of the United States Botanic 

Garden, and Bobbi Angell is a scientific 

illustrator for the New York Botanic Garden 

as well as for the New York Times garden 

column. Together, they make a great team and 

have produced this simple yet elegant book.
Pell and Angell do a great job in covering 

standard items in plant morphology and 

structure so that readers can identify plants 

and plant parts. For instance, leaf and flower 

structures are prominently featured and 

illustrated (e.g., simple and compound leaves, 

leaflets, palmate, pinnate). However, a broad 

range of topics in botany and plant biology are 

featured, but not every term has an illustration. 

As a physiologist, I noted apical dominance, 

chlorophyll, gravitropism, phototropism, 

photoperiodism, and photosynthesis (but not, 

for example, auxin and phytochrome).
Most, but not all, of the key plant groups 

are covered: angiosperms, gymnosperms, 

and mosses, but not ferns. However, ferns, 

particularly the sensitive fern Onoclea 

sensibilis, are used in many diagrams to 

illustrate concepts such as the fertile frond and 

sporangium. Terms important in plant ecology 

also are considered, including allelopathy, 

allopatric, clinal variation, and sympatric, 

among others. Additional botanical fields 

covered in the book include biogeography, 

genetics, horticulture, soil science, taxonomy, 

and tissue culture.
Professional botanists will enjoy having this 

volume on their bookshelf especially given 

the modest price. The book would also make 

a great gift to one of their friends who enjoys 

gardening and plants.
–John Z. Kiss, University of North Caroli-

na-Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina, 



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PSB 63 (1) 2017        



Plant: Exploring the 

Botanical World

Phaidon Editors 

2016. ISBN-13: 978-0-7148-


Cloth, US$59.95. 352 pp. 

Phaidon Press, London, Unit-

ed Kingdom 

 “Botany–the science of the 

vegetable kingdom, is one of the 

most attractive, most useful, and 

most extensive departments of 

human knowledge. It is, above every 

other, the science of beauty.”—Sir 

Joseph Paxton (using pseudonym 

Peter Parley, 1838)

Plant: Exploring the Botanical World displays 

the riches of the botanical world with assorted 

natural history drawings, etchings, paintings, 

watercolors, and photographs that circulated 

as objects among various participants in 

global networks of knowledge creation, 

historically as gifts with symbolic value 

exchanged in patronage relationships, and as 

embodiments of the plants they represent. 

It tells the story of intellectual and scientific 

collaboration, debate and competition, 

among naturalists for status and nations for 

profit. The Phaidon editors have prepared an 

assemblage set at the crossroads of botanical 

art work, colonial history, and the history 

of botany, united as a compelling chronicle 

that provides insight into the relationship 

between botany and art, while also probing 

an archive of some previously little-studied 

images. This anthology is as much about art 

and photography as it is about plants; diverse 

approaches to illustrating plant form are 

revealed in art and photographs. 

Juxtaposition underlies the arrangement of 

this book of contrasting or complementary 

images,  paired on facing pages as couplets 

with variable features, e.g., pp. 98–99 relate 

two species of Eucalyptus geometrically for 

their diagonal lines and varied angles of leaf 

pairs; pp. 100–101 seem to share the color red, 

contrasting rose and poppy (ca. 1760), with 

sweet cherry (ca. 1561–1562); pp. 142–143 

compare tree trunks in cross-section, using 

a chromolithograph (ca. 1850), alongside a 

light micrograph of pine stem (2011); pp. 

164–165 differentiate Luffa aegyptica with 

a Japanese woodblock (ca. 1900) showing a 

solitary yellow flower attracting a single bee, 

along with two fruits, one mature, the other 

juvenile, against a copper engraving from 

Venice (1640). Readers meet the storyteller’s 

secret weapon—an element of surprise—

contemplating two unexpectedly related 

works side by side. It may be that botanical 

illustration and art photography have been 

under-researched by historians of art.
Plant offers some new material and some that 

is usefully repackaged. 

A concise paragraph 

on each page tells readers about the artist and 

composition featured. Despite their number, 

all of the figures are referenced in the text; they 

are so skillfully interwoven that documenting 

the sources of each illustration does not strike 

the reader as a burden. Along with citing the 

essentials, the editors are subjective, adding 

analysis of the artworks. 

The book is beautifully 

designed, printed in Hong Kong, and rich 

with delicate yet vivid color illustrations, 

e.g., pp. 120–121, spotlighting the flush of a 

colored Japanese woodblock print of an iris 

garden (1857) against a dusky hand-tinted 

copperplate engraving of a majestic black iris 

from Nuremberg (1768). The volume offers a 

brief 10-page chronology and a limited 7-page 


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Plant resists comprehensiveness, 

acknowledging the necessarily fragmented 

nature of this history; as an art book it falls 

into a strange genre in contemporary botany, 

hovering between several different disciplines. 

Examining the work of specific artists is 

rewarding and informative, an opportunity to 

consider a diverse range of materials produced 

over the past 500 years within a discipline 

that insists on the importance of the graphic 

Historically, traveling naturalists worked in 

concert with trained artists who drew and 

painted representative specimens. These 

images, in turn, were also described verbally 

and often accompanied by dried plants. 

Working with text, image, and dried specimen 

allowed naturalists around the world to 

participate in collective empiricism and 

communicate with one another.
Photography promised a new means of 

preserving and recording, and of quickly, 

efficiently, and authoritatively rendering 

views through an unimpeachable mechanical 

process, seen as free from the potential of 

human error. Already familiar with their 

original materials, botanist-scholars could 

look through a photograph to reanimate 

their recollection of previously studied 

materials, particularly when incorporating 

contemporary renderings such as three-

dimensional visualizations of plant structures 

and other modern techniques meant to serve 

the needs of a scientific community. 
Other books with which Plant might be 

compared include Blunt’s (1955)  Art of 

Botanical Illustration: An Illustrated History

which represents a benchmark in terms 

of documenting botanical illustration and 

provides a “comprehensive, critical and 

well-illustrated survey” of how plants and 

flowers have been illustrated over time 

by different artists in different places for 

different purposes. Rix’s (2012) Golden Age 

of Botanical Art spans from 4500 B.P. through 

contemporary botanical art. It explores the 

origins of botanical art and the range of 

botanical art produced—from florilegiums to 

art produced as the result of travels to many 

different places. Rix also highlights the range 

of ways in which art and illustration have been 

produced and a number of the people who are 

key to its history.
Phaidon is recognized worldwide for 

publishing fine books about art, architecture, 

photography, design, performing arts, 

decorative arts, fashion, film, travel, and 

contemporary culture, as well as cookbooks 

and children’s books, so this volume with 

its focus on botanical art through history 

is somewhat of a departure. Overall,  Plant 

successfully raises many interesting issues 

in connecting the fields it represents. The 

disengagement of artworks makes them 

subject to meanings imposed on them by 

those who use them; indeed, reframed within 

this public domain, they achieve something 

new, something unforeseen by their creators. 

Looking at things botanically is looking for 

absence as much as for presence, setting up 

another tension found throughout the volume. 
Plant is a singular book that should be read in 

print copy, taking one’s time to meditate upon 

the beauty of the photographs, and the lessons 

they tell.
–Dorothea Bedigian, Research Associate, Mis-

souri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri, 



Blunt, W. 1955. The Art of Botanical Illustration: 

An Illustrated History. Collins, London, United 


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Parley, P. 1838. Peter Parley’s Cyclopedia of 

Botany: Including familiar descriptions of trees, 

shrubs and plants. Otis, Broaders and Co., Bos-

ton, Massachusetts, USA.

Rix, M. 2012. The Golden Age of Botanical Art. 

Andre Deutsch, London, United Kingdom.


Name Those Grasses: 

Identifying Grasses, 

Sedges and Rushes

Ian Clarke

2015. ISBN-13: 978-0-


Paperback, AU$48.00. 544 


Royal Botanic Gardens Victo-

ria, Victoria, Australia

Name Those Grasses, by Ian Clarke, is a 

beautiful and practical guide to learning to 

identify grasses and grass-like plants. It is not 

really a key or a flora, but instead emphasizes 

that the same process of identification can 

be used anywhere in the world and provides 

a practical primer for identification of 

these difficult families: Poaceae (grasses), 

Cyperaceae (sedges), Juncaceae (rushes), and 

Restionaceae (restios). The guide is intended 

to be used in conjunction with standard 

identification manuals for these plants in 

particular parts of the world. The author is 

based out of Australia, and his geographic bias 

comes through in some ways, but he focuses 

the book on species with wide geographic 

temperate distribution (often weedy) to 

broaden its usefulness. 
A major emphasis of the book is the explanation 

of botanical language, both general and 

specific to these particular families. The 

author assumes no prior knowledge and does 

an excellent job in starting with the basics but 

also moving efficiently into the idiosyncrasies 

of the structures (and the language used to 

describe them) of the families of interest. He 

starts in Chapter 1 with an explanation of 

botanical nomenclature and classification. He 

then explains how to use the book and how it 

is structured. He suggests multiple approaches 

to learning how to identify the plants using 

this book, depending on one’s background and 

interest. He also gives a detailed explanation 

of the illustrations to be very clear about how 

and why they are oriented and labeled as they 

are. He describes the techniques and tools 

he used for the botanical illustrations, which 

could be a very useful reference for other 

botanical illustrators. 
Chapter 2 presents an introduction to 

plant structure in general, including basic 

morphological terminology and illustration 

of structures. It then gives an elucidation and 

comparison of these basic structures in six 

monocot families (Liliaceae, Orchidaceae, 

Iridaceae, Poaceae, Cyperaceae, and 

Juncaceae), as the author explains the reduced 

and simplified floral structure of the families 

that are the subject of this book. He also goes 

into detail about inflorescence and vegetative 

structure of the plants, again starting with 

a general botanical introduction before 

emphasizing the unique structures of grasses 

and grass-like plants. 
Chapter 3 goes into much more detail than the 

first chapter about the rules of nomenclature 

and classification in plants, including recent 

understanding of broad-scale classification. 
Chapters 4 through 7 are the heart of the book, 

each emphasizing one of four major families, 

giving an introduction to the family and 

the structures and characteristics particular 

to the family (and their variations within 

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the family). Clear illustrations for each are 

included, showing various views of flower and 

inflorescence structure, often including both 

intact and expanded views. These general 

guides will prove very useful for learning and 

understanding the structures of these tiny 

flowers. A review of recent understanding 

of the phylogenetic relationships within 

the family follows. Then for each of the 

major groups within the family, a narrative 

description, sometimes (such as with the 

tribes of grasses) with a table listing key 

characteristics and where they are illustrated. 

For each of these major groups, common 

widespread and representative members 

are described, with a detailed narrative 

description as well as multiple careful 

drawings including the whole plant, several 

views of the flowers and/or inflorescences, 

and (depending on what is most useful for 

identification) other structures such as the leaf 

blade/sheath junction, the fruit, or the culm 

anatomy. Thirty-four color plates are also 

included, many with multiple photographs, to 

illustrate the overall plant habit as well as the 

microscopic detail of flower structure of the 

key groups of plants described within. 
On pp. 404-407, the author provides a 

condensed, one-page guide to each of the four 

major families, summarizing and illustrating 

their key characteristics. These pages will be 

extremely helpful for those beginning their 

understanding and ability to recognize and 

distinguish between these four groups. 
Chapter 9 is a guide to the procedures of 

identifying plants in these groups. The author 

describes useful equipment, gives a list of key 

features for different groups, and discusses 

how to use keys of various sorts (including 

online keys). Then he provides keys to: (1) 

the families of grasses and grass-like plants, 

(2) the genera of Poaceae, (3) the genera 

and sometimes species of Cyperaceae, and 

(4) some species of Juncaceae. Although this 

book is not meant to be a flora or field guide 

per se, these keys could be useful for the most 

basic level of identification of plants in these 

groups; the user could then follow up with a 

more thorough guide to these plants in the 

user’s specific geographic area. 
The author includes an extensive list of 

references at the end of the book, and to the left 

of each reference, gives an indicator of subject 

area. This is an interesting feature and could 

prove very useful for finding relevant sources 

of additional information on particular topics. 

A thorough glossary is also included at the 

end of the book. 
Generously illustrated and carefully organized, 

this guide may be a welcome addition to the 

library of any botanist, professional or amateur. 

Despite inevitable limitations inherent in 

any book that tries to usefully summarize 

global diversity of grasses, sedges, and similar 

plants, the author has designed a primer that 

can serve as a practical introduction to these 

plants that are notoriously difficult to identify. 

I strongly recommend it to anyone who wants 

to become adept at identification of grasses 

and grass-like plants. 
–Amy Boyd, Department of Biology, Warren 

Wilson College, Asheville, North Carolina, 


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Agaves, Yuccas, and 

Their Kin: Seven Gen-

era of the Southwest

Jon L. Hawker 

2016. ISBN-13: 978-089672-


Paperback, US$49.95. 456 pp. 

Texas Tech University Press, 

Lubbock, Texas, USA

This field guide aims to provide a thorough 

treatment of seven similar genera of desert-

dwelling monocots in the American 

Southwest:  Agave,  Dasylirion,  Hechtia

HesperaloeHesperoyuccaNolina, and Yucca

These genera all look alike to some degree, and 

indeed, six are members of the Asparagaceae. 

The genus Hechtia is not related to the others 

(it is a member of the Bromeliaceae) but is 

included due to its superficial resemblance.
This guide was not written by a professional 

taxonomist (Hawker says as much in the text) 

but by an enthusiast of these groups of plants. 

This brings both positives and negatives 

to the work. The reader can really tell that 

Hawker loves these plants and finds them 

fascinating—a welcome change from other, 

oftentimes dry, botanical works. The many 

photos that include Hawker’s dog for scale are 

cute and add another personal touch to the 

book. However, the lack of keys within genera 

and the use of standard measurements instead 

of metric are unfortunate. There is also no 

glossary, which Hawker argues is not needed 

because this is not a technical guide. However, 

I counter that every professional started as 

an amateur and needed to learn all the terms 

used to describe plants, so if an amateur yucca 

enthusiast picks up this guide, how will he or 

she learn those terms?
After an introduction covering what the 

book aims to provide, how the maps were 

made, and the region covered, the bulk of 

the book is broken into seven sections. Each 

section covers one of the aforementioned 

genera and all species within it that occur in 

California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, 

New Mexico, and Texas. The beginning of 

each section has a lengthy introduction to 

each genus covering taxonomy, biogeography, 

pollination, ecology, human uses, etc. These 

sections are well-written and fascinating. 

Again, Hawker’s love for these genera 

really shines here. Each species is then 

treated alphabetically with information on 

geographic range, natural history, and how 

it can be differentiated from similar species. 

Again, technical keys would have been nice 

within these sections as this format means 

that the user is just “picture-matching” or 

“map-matching” (because many species have 

restricted ranges).
The photos are, for the most part, of high 

quality, with only a few being grainy (and these 

only being ones taken via a microscope). There 

are photos of all aspects of the plants: habitat 

shots, flowers/fruits, pollinators, leaves, and 

other characters useful for identification. 

Many photos are unique as well: I have never 

before seen photos of the copious cuticle 

being peeled off an agave leaf or of an entire 

agave plant cut longitudinally. 
The book is easily portable and should be in 

any hiker’s backpack when making a visit to 

the Southwest. Hawker does a wonderful job 

of cultivating an interest in these iconic plants.
–John G. Zaborsky, Botany Department, 

University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, 

Wisconsin, USA;

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Guide to the Vascular 

Flora of Howell Woods, 

Johnston County, North 

Carolina, U.S.A.

Kelly M. Hines, Alexander 

Krings, and Jon M. Stucky


ISBN-13: 978-1-889878-47-8

Paperback, US$24.00. viii + 

268 pp.

Botanical Research Institute 

of Texas, Fort Worth, Texas, USA 

This is a large flora production for a small area 

comprising only 1155 ha (2854 acres), a full-

fledged treatment of the vascular plants of just a 

part of a North Carolina county. Howell Woods 

is a tract of land presented to Johnston County 

Community College in 1993 by Rudolph A. 

Howell. As the authors note, this is the largest 

property gift to any North Carolina community 

college. On site is an educational center and a 

garden. Howell Woods is a remarkable resource 

for a community college, and the production of 

this work shows the depth of commitment to 

using it for education and research.
The book is well laid out and carefully edited. 

After introductory material dealing with 

collection methods, key construction, format, 

and illustrations, there is a helpful review of 

land use (“outdoor recreation, game-hunting, 

sand mining, and law enforcement firearm 

training”[!]). This is followed by a detailed 

description of soils and a discussion of the plant 

communities found within Howell Woods.
The main corpus of the book is keys. They seem 

workable and carefully prepared. For example, 

there is a helpful vegetative key to the species of 


 (bladderworts). There are no species 

descriptions, but names and synonymy are given 

as well as references to current literature. Also 

included is careful documentation of collections, 

either by the first author (mainly), from 

herbarium specimens, or from published floras. 

The authors present comparative floristic data for 

local floras in the region. Except for a few color 

pictures, illustrations are black and white and 

taken from earlier publications, mostly Britton 

and Brown (1913). An exception is the very 

helpful original close-up images of perigynia and 

achenes of sedges (genus Carex). Within each 

group (pteridophytes, gymnosperms, monocots, 

eudicots), families, genera, and species are listed 

alphabetically. A species checklist and references 

cited section complete the book.
I am the manager of an ecological preserve and 

would love to have a flora like this to put in the 

hands of my students. I imagine standing in a 

plant community defined in the book on named 

soils keying down sedges—what a great learning 

experience. While the Guide to the Vascular 

Flora of Howell Woods covers only a small part 

of a single county, it will find utility in other 

North Carolina counties. For a book that almost 

certainly has a very limited press run, the cost is 

–Lytton John Musselman, Department of Biolog-

ical Sciences, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, 

Virginia, USA

Native Plants for Southeast Virginia, in-

cluding Hampton Roads Region

Virginia Witmer, editor

2016. No ISBN

PDF (available online) and paperback (both free; see 

below for details). 69 pp.

Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Environ-

mental Quality, Virginia Coastal Zone Management 

Program, Richmond, Virginia, USA 

I was pleasantly surprised to learn of this 

very colorful, helpful publication from a local 

newspaper column. After the article appeared, 

more than a thousand readers responded, 

clearly indicating public interest in native 

plants. An exemplar of efforts to utilize native 

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PSB 63 (1) 2017        


plants for landscape and garden planting, this 

glossy booklet deserves wider recognition.
The level of presentation is ideal for the 

interested public. The bulk of the book consists 

of treatments of groups of plants: perennials, 

groundcovers, ferns, grasses, shrubs, and trees. 

Images are exceptional, the few bullet points 

for each species’ image include plant habit, 

light requirements, whether native or not, 

habitat and wildlife use (especially birds and 

butterflies), and other items of interest. Large 

genera like Solidago  and  Viola are helpfully 

presented with lists of species enhanced by 

useful close-up diagnostic pictures. 
Inclusion of native plants suitable for 

cultivation is not exhaustive, and there are 

several I would add, some are noted below.
Inexplicably, the section on ferns omits 

Dryopteris  ´australis, Dixie wood fern, a 

native hybrid I have seen sold in Hampton 

Roads garden centers and that thrives in my 

Norfolk garden. Likewise, Christmas fern, 

Polystichum acrostichoides, is omitted despite 

being an excellent garden subject. On the 

other hand, I was pleased to see in the chapter 

on vines the beautiful climbing hydrangea, 

Decumaria barbara, a liana that deserves 

more consideration as a garden subject. 
Sedges are discussed, as are rushes and 

grasses, although the omission of river oats, 

Chasmanthium latifolium, is surprising as 

this grass is frequently used in landscaping in 

Hampton Roads. In the section on shrubs, the 

black huckleberry leaves labeled as Gaylussacia 

baccata are likely one of the blueberries 

(species of Vaccinium) instead. Speaking of 

Vaccinium, I would have included deerberry, 

V. stamineum, because of its masses of white, 

showy flowers in the spring. The chapter on 

trees includes instructive notes and images for 

six oaks. 

For landscapers, there are chapters describing 

plants for specific habitats such as streets, dry 

shade, sun shade, and especially germane for 

a region surrounded by salt water—plants for 

salty edges. 
There is a list, albeit incomplete, of places to 

see these native plants in the region and a 

concise treatment of invasive plants. A helpful, 

although partial, list of additional resources 

of publications and websites completes the 

I was told by the editor that this is a “marketing 

piece.” Perhaps. But it is more—Native Plants 

for Southeast Virginia is a valuable contribution 

supporting planting of our native plants that 

shows how they can become part of our daily 

landscape. So as a marketing tool it is a wild 

success. Any serious gardener or plant lover 

will want one! This is a beautiful publication 

with wonderful images; it is packed with 

information and carefully edited. But you may 

have to wait for yours—demand is so great a 

second edition is needed.
This book is available online at http://


Southeast-Virginia-Guide.pdf. Limited print 

copies are available free; contact Virginia 

Coastal Zone Management, 629 East Main 

Street, Richmond, VA 23219 USA.
–Lytton John Musselman, Department of 

Biological Sciences, Old Dominion University, 

Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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Botany is #notaquietscience:  

 Make sure your voice is heard!

The Botanical Society of America has partnered with March for Science for their glob-

al event taking place April 22, 2017. The march is intended for scientists of all fields 

to engage with political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence-based policies in 

the public interest. Check out for more information on a 

march near you.

AIBS Communicating Science to Decision-makers
This three-hour session provides scientists with practical information, resources, and tools 

to more effectively communicate science to decision-makers.  The program will explore 

different techniques for educating and engaging the public, policy/lawmaker, and the news 

media.   In addition to learning about how different audiences receive information, we will 

learn how to frame and deliver a message to increase the likelihood of it being received by 

the target audience.  We will also consider how current political and policy debates inform 

and influence how scientists should communicate with different audiences.  This session 

includes some small-group, interactive exercises.
Limited to 30 participants - $30.00/person 

Presented by:  Robert Gropp 

Sign up:

Coming to Botany 2017? 

Sign up for this timely workshop   

Sunday Morning, June 24  9:00 am - 12:00 pm

March for Science

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Plant Science Bulletin 

Featured Image

The Botanical Society of 

America is a membership soci-

ety whose mission  is to: pro-

mote botany, the field of basic 

science dealing with the study 

& inquiry into the form, func-

tion, development, diversity, 

reproduction, evolution, & uses 

of plants & their interactions 

within the biosphere.

ISSN 0032-0919  

Published quarterly by  

Botanical Society of America, Inc.  

4475 Castleman Avenue 

St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 


Periodicals postage is paid at  

St. Louis, MO & additional  

mailing offices.  


Send address changes to: 

Botanical Society of America 

Business Office 

P.O. Box 299 

St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 


The yearly subscription rate  

of $15 is included  

in the membership  

A d d r e s s  E d i t o r i a l  M a t t e r s  (o n l y ) t o :  

Mackenzie Taylor, Editor 

Department of Biology  

Creighton University 

2500 California Plaza 

Omaha, NE 68178 

Phone 402-280-2157

Plant Science Bulletin

                                                                                     Spring 2017 Volume 63 Number 1

In 2017, more and more scientists—including the BSA 

members shown above—are becoming more politically and 

socially active. From the #actuallivingscientist social media 

campaign to the March for Science planned throughout the 

world in April, botanists and fellow scientists are finding the 

need to make sure their voices are heard and concerns are 

addressed in relation to the importance of their research as 

well as its continued funding. 
Thanks to the following for allowing us to use their pho-

tos here: Matthew Bond, Margaret Frank, Eve Emshwiller, 

Jeffrey Ross-Ibarra, Heather Schneider, Stacey Smith, Kevin 

Weitemier, Irene Liao, Ashley Morris, and Tanya Cheeke.


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Be sure and view the video

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 Fort Worth,Texas

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