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Systematics in the News
Bucknell professors new YouTube show brings adventure botany to life
In his new Plants Are Cool, Too! episode, Professor Chris Martine explores an Idaho fossil deposit and the hunt for DNA that dates back 15 million years.
LEWISBURG, Pa. Bucknell Professor of Biology Chris Martine is hoping YouTube can help share his passion for plants with the world. Martine, Bucknells newly named David Burpee Chair in Plant Genetics and Research, recently traveled to Idaho to film the second episode of Plants are Cool, Too! The Internet show, roughly about 15 minutes long, aims to draw peoples attention to what Martine calls adventure botany.
"Plants can be every bit as exciting and interesting as animals. But while its really easy for young people to find shows about animals, theres really nothing out there like what were trying to do," Martine explained. "There are gardening programs, there are programs that tell you what plants to use for cooking but until now, there were no adventure botany programs that show you the coolest plants on earth."
In Martines second episode of Plants Are Cool, Too!, which was just released, he traveled to a fossil bed in Clarkia, Idaho, where researchers are studying 15-million-year-old leaves, well preserved beneath the sediment of an ancient lake.
"As you can see in the video, we were able to hold the actual leaves that fell from trees 15 million years ago. They even retained their fall colors," Martine said. "Having access to actual biological specimens from the deep past allows scientists to do all sorts of otherwise-improbable things, from predicting atmospheric conditions to tracking changes in DNA over millions of years."
Martines first Plants Are Cool, Too! episode focused on Sarracenia alata, a carnivorous plant that uses a sweet nectar and self-produced narcotic to lure insects. The plant then digests the bugs in its stomach, very similar to how an animals stomach works.
"Its a perfect example of what were trying to highlight," Martine explained. "Most people dont know these types of plants exist, and we really want to raise that level of awareness. We want to show people how exciting botany can be and that, yes, plants are cool, too."
The next episode of Plants Are Cool, Too! is scheduled to be filmed in January and released early next year.
Bucknell University Press Release
Contact: Andy Hirsch, Director of Media Communications
570-238-1561 - email@example.com
Sept. 28, 2012
See ASPT in the news story from the National Center for Science Education, Voices for evolution continue.
In February 2011 the International Congress of Systematic and Evolutionary Biology (ICSEB VII) will be held in Berlin together with Society of Biological Systematics and German Botanical Society, named BioSystematics Berlin 2011. See the 1st circular of this congress for details. Please note that the deadline for proposal of Symposia is end of May 2010. See the call for symposia.
IAPT has published Systematics, Evolution, and Biogeography of Compositae (V.A. Funk, A. Susanna, T. Stuessy & R. Bayer, eds.) IAPT: Vienna. Published in August 2009.
The Compositae (Asteraceae) are the largest and most successful flowering plant family in the world with ca. 1700 genera and 25,000 species. They grow everywhere but Antarctica but prefer open areas and are common garden plants (i.e., sunflowers, daisies, artichokes, thistles, lettuce). This volume is based on recent morphological and molecular data and has overview chapters that cover topics such as chromosome numbers and chemistry as well as a chapter on every clade in the family. Nearly every chapter has a color-coded biogeography tree and color photos of plants and there is a summary chapter with a ca. 900 taxon tree (metatree) for the whole family. Appendices include an illustrated glossary and a combined literature cited (each chapter has a literature cited as well). A pdf file of the metatree can be found at www.compositae.org and a video about the book can be found at www.YouTube.com (search Compositae).
This is the first family wide phylogenetic treatment for the Compositae and the book contains 44 Chapters, 1000 pages (ca. 200 in color) contributed by over 80 authors. It is a bargain at $110 (including shipping) for addresses in the USA and Canada and $120 for addresses elsewhere in the world. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.compositae.org for information on ordering. This low price is possible because of the support of IAPT and the Smithsonian Institution. All proceeds go to IAPT.
OSH Named for Neil Harriman
The herbarium at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh (OSH) was officially named in honor of its founder and Curator Emeritus, Dr. Neil A. Harriman on September 8, 2009, as part of opening-day ceremonies for the new academic year. University Chancellor Dr. Richard H. Wells presented Harriman with a framed certificate that read in part, “For over four decades, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh professor emeritus Neil Harriman has focused his attention and expertise on the establishment, development and collection of materials that will be perpetually used by students, faculty and staff as well as scientists, scholars and researchers from across the global community. This collection is recognized as one of the largest and best in the state of Wisconsin and will benefit all citizens in northeastern Wisconsin and beyond.”
The herbarium was established by Harriman at the time of his arrival on campus in 1964. By the time of his retirement in 1998, OSH had grown from a few cabinets and a handful of teaching specimens to a well curated facility housing almost 100,000 vascular plant specimens from around the globe and a botanical library of nearly 4000 volumes plus major runs of serials and a large collection of reprints.
Since retiring and accepting the title of Curator Emeritus, Harriman has continued to work in the herbarium on an almost daily basis, collecting, mounting, filing, and identifying specimens. Today, accessions total over 117,000 sheets, approximately half from outside Wisconsin. The facility continues to be used daily by his successor in meeting the teaching, research, and service missions of the university. -- Thomas G. Lammers, Curator