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Botany 2013 Featured Speakers

NaliniPlenary Speaker
Dr. Nalini Nadkarni

Professor of Biology and Director, Center for Science and Mathematics Education, University of Utah

Celebrating diversity in the understanding of science: Botanists as ambassadors to a spectrum of humans.

The term “diversity” evokes ideas and images of a multitude of plant species, community structures, or habitat types in a landscape. However, the term can also apply to the variety of ways and audiences to which we communicate our science. As society grows increasingly removed from natural settings and from science and scientists, biologists need a greater breadth of communication scenarios to keep people aware of the importance, wonder, and fragility of plants and their habitats.
Drawing upon my own three decades of ecosystem research in forest canopies on four continents, I will describe the botanically diverse world of epiphytes, arboreal animals, and canopy soils.  I have learned that canopy biota play critical roles in rainforest nutrient and water cycles, in sustaining wildlife, and in sequestering carbon. Many of these canopy plants and animals are vulnerable to disturbances created by humans, including ecotourism, harvesting, and global climate change. In recent years, I have communicated her work to non-scientists, forging partnerships with others to communicate this research to non-traditional public audiences such as at-risk youth, legislators, incarcerated men and women, artists, and faith-based communities to raise awareness and understanding of forests and their values to humans. I also created the “Research Ambassador Program”, whose goal is to provide guidance, contacts, and rewards to other scientists who wish to disseminate their own research to non-traditional public audiences in synergistic ways.

Watch this video...just recently on CNN

Plenary Address - Sunday evening July, 28th 7:30 pm - to be followed by the All Society Mixer

David White




Dr. David White
Regional Botany Special Lecture

Department of Biological Sciences of Loyola University New Orleans

Dr. David A. White is a full professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Loyola University New Orleans and is the regional wetlands expert on the ecology of the Mississippi River delta with nearly 30 years of continuous research in the delta proper.  There he has studied plant colonization and succession on mudflats and he has studied the ecology and genetics of the common reed – Phragmites australis – both old and very recent introductions of this species into these wetlands.   Most of this work has taken place on Delta National Wildlife Refuge, a place within the crosshairs of many use groups giving Dr. White broad knowledge and a unique perspective on managing one of America’s most important refuges for migratory birds.  Dr. White received both his M.S. and Ph.D. from Tulane University with intensive study of two other wetland ecosystems – the upper Breton Sound basin and the Pearl River floodplain, respectively.  This extensive career has credentialed him to be one of the leading wetland ecologists of southeastern Louisiana.

Regional Botany Special Lecture - Time TBA


Kaplan Memorial Lecture
Dr. Elena Alvarez-Buylla

From genes to complex networks and morphologies
in plant evolution

Professor in the Functional Ecology Department at the Institute of Ecology of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City, Mexico
Miller Visiting Professor at the University of California, Berkeley

Kaplan LogoUsing examples from the Pandanales (particularly the Triuridaceae), Zingiberales and Arabidopsis thaliana, both general principles and specific examples of how genotypes  map unto phenotypes will be discussed. Theoretical, experimental, molecular genetic and comparative evolutionary approaches  will be combined to summarize some of the contributions that have been made in plant evo-devo studies.

Dr. Elena Alvarez-Buylla is a Professor in the Functional Ecology Department at the Institute of Ecology of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City, Mexico.  She is interested in uncovering how information contained in genes is expressed as phenotypes and in helping derive formal frameworks to search for generic aspects of developmental constraints. She also explores evolutionary approaches to developmental mechanisms and systems biology, including high-throughput functional genomic studies and models of complex developmental gene regulatory networks. Dr. Elena Alvarez-Buylla has been awarded the Mexican Academy of Science Award for Young Scientists (1999), and the top Science Award from Mexico City (2008) and UNAM (2010). Dr. Alvarez-Buylla is also committed to promoting an environmentally and socially responsible science with a deep ethical sense; she is particularly interested in helping preserve Mexican natural, agricultural and cultural diversity.

The Kaplan Lecture will be Monday Afternoon, July 29th to be followed by the Kaplan Reception - a ticketed event.

AshmanAnnals of Botany
Special Lecture
Tia-Lynn Ashman

Professor and Associate Chair of Biological Sciences University of Pittsburgh

Tia-Lynn Ashman is a Professor and Associate Chair of Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh.  Her research interests include the ecological and genetic factors involved in the evolution of separate sexes and sex chromosomes in angiosperms, the plant-animal interactions that influence floral evolution and community assembly, and the role of polyploidy in biodiversity.  Dr. Ashman received her PhD from Ecology and Evolution from the University of California at Davis 1991. She has served on the Council of the Society for the Study of Evolution and as Secretary and Executive Council member of the American Society of Naturalists. She has served (or serves) as an Associate Editor for the journals Ecology, American Naturalist, Canadian Journal of Botany, Functional Ecology and Botanica Lituanica. She has lead international working groups at NCEAS on pollen limitation of plant reproduction and NESCent on sex chromosomes.

Annals of Botany Special Lecture - Time TBA

Special Lecture: In-Coming President - Botanical Society of America
Pamela Diggle

Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of Colorado in Boulder Pam Diggle

Pamela K. Diggle is a Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado in Boulder.  Her research focuses on the role of development and architecture in the evolutionary diversification of reproductive systems.  Dr. Diggle has served as Department Chair at the University of Colorado, as a Program Officer at the National Science Foundation, and has served the Botanical Society of America in many different capacities including at-large representative to the council, secretary, and is now president-elect.  She also is currently an editor for the journals Annals of Botany and International Journal of Plant Sciences.

Special Lecture - Time TBA


Enhancing Scientist Diversity in Plant Biology Luncheon

Cultivating the Next Generation
of Plant Biologists.

Dr. Muriel Poston
Pitzer College
Luncheon Speaker - Tuesday, July 30th 12:00-1:30

Botany 2013 Participating Societies