Page 7 - 2010 - 2011 Annual Report

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Cellinese investigated the systematics, evolution and biogeography
of Alpine and Mediterranean forms of Campanulaceae (bellflowers),
which include complex sets of endemic species. She also worked
with Evgeny Mavrodiev on the biogeography and evolution of
floras in the lower Volga and Caucasus regions. Norris Williams and
Mark Whitten completed a major molecular phylogeny of a group
of Neotropical orchids called Oncidiinae. They analyzed 598 species
and seven gene regions. Williams andWhitten also collected genetic
data for nine plastid genomes of orchids. Kent Perkins spearheaded
the digitization of the Herbarium’s type specimens for the Global
Plants Initiative, the largest coordinated effort to digitize plant
type specimens and scholarly resources from herbaria around the
world. With support from the AndrewW. Mellon Foundation, the
Herbarium has been imaging its type specimens for inclusion in the
JStor Plant Science website (
Max Nickerson and students surveyed and analyzed microbes
on injured versus non-injured amphibians. They also studied
a population of cottonmouths near the northern range of this
venomous species. Kenneth Krysko’s field work in South Florida
continued to enlighten scientists and the public about the state’s
many established non-native species of amphibians and reptiles
and the damage they cause. The geographic ranges of some of the
most invasive species of frogs, lizards and snakes are expanding
northward, with unknown long-term consequences for Florida’s
native flora and fauna.
Larry Page’s
All Cypriniformes Species Inventory,
an NSF-funded
Planetary Biodiversity Inventory grant, hit full stride in year two of
this four-year project, including revisions of several genera of Asian
cypriniform fishes. Page also has been revising the
Handbook of
and continued studying the systematics and biogeography
of North American freshwater fishes. A highlight of this work
was publication, with Brooks Burr, of the
Peterson Field Guide
to Freshwater Fishes of North America North of Mexico
, the most
comprehensive field guide to North American fishes.
Invertebrate Zoology
Gustav Paulay and his students worked on a systematic revision
of aspidochirotid holothurians, or sea cucumbers. They also were
an essential part of a major biodiversity and bar coding survey of
marine invertebrates on Mo`orea Island, near Tahiti in the tropical
Pacific. In response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill of April 2010,
Museum researchers surveyed marine invertebrates off Florida’s Gulf
Coast. Fred Thompson analyzed the morphology and systematics
of the land snail genus
and related genera in Mexico
and Central America, including the description of a new family,
Epirobiidae. Thompson also studied undescribed species of land
and freshwater snails from Hispaniola and Florida.
The Katharine Ordway Chair in Ecosystem
Scott Robinson investigated the phylogenetic and trait-based
community ecology of birds in tropical dry forests, tropical moisture
gradients and Amazonian white sands forests with David Steadman,
Andy Kratter and a number of graduate students. He also examined
the behavior and ecology of urban birds in Florida, especially
mockingbirds with Doug Levey and graduate and undergraduate
students. Robinson also worked with graduate students to study
the biotic factors, such as predation, and abiotic factors, such as
temperature and rainfall, that limit the elevational ranges of birds in
humid forests of the tropical Andes.
David Reed’s lab made great progress on several fronts, including
a new program to study the effect of climate change on gene flow
in Caribbean bats, which resulted from recent trips to the Bahamas,
Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Reed and students
completed research estimating the number of times endosymbiosis
has evolved in mammal lice, discovering a roughly 10-million-year
cycle between the appearance of new endosymbionts. They also
obtained lice worldwide for several other studies, such as trying to
determine the degree of population structure in human head lice
and the extent they can be used to study human migration patterns
in the Americas.
Molecular Systematics and Evolutionary
Genetics Laboratory
Pam Soltis, her students and colleagues, including Matt
Gitzendanner, focused on angiosperm phylogeny, floral evolution
and the conservation genetics of rare Florida plant species, such as
Ziziphus celata
Hypericum cumulicola
Crotalaria avonensis
. An
ongoing, major NSF-funded project analyzed gene expression, gene
loss and chromosomal rearrangements in
plants with multiple sets of chromosomes. Another collaborative
NSF-funded project investigated the patterns and mechanisms of
floral development and the identification of floral genes expressed
in basal angiosperms such as
, a plant endemic to New
Caledonia considered to be the single living sister species to all
other flowering plants.
This lichen,
Usnea strigosa
, commonly called “beard lichen” or “old man’s beard”
was photographed in the UF Natural Area Teaching Laboratory behind Powell Hall.