Our highly trained staff of orchidologists at the University of Florida. Left to right:
Robert L. Dressler (now at the Lankester Botanical Garden in Costa Rica), Norris H. Williams (seated), and W. Mark Whitten. Photo by Lotte Skov.
KURT M. NEUBIG is a PhD student in the University of Florida's Department of Biology studying the systematics of the Sobralia alliance, where he is testing the monophyly of the genera, with special reference to the evolution of flower size and pollination syndromes. His other studies, both past and present, include: the systematics of the genus Dichaea (Orchidaceae), the biogeography and phylogenetics of Teagueia (Orchidaceae), the phylogenetics and population genetics of the Mikania micrantha complex (Asteraceae), the phylogenetics of tribe Hibisceae (Malvaceae), polyploidy and reticulate evolution in Kosteletzkya (Malvaceae), the evolution of the phytochrome gene in bryophytes, and sex-linkage in Ceratodon purpureus.
W. MARK WHITTEN has extensive field and lab experience in orchid systematics, pollination biology, orchid chemical ecology, and molecular systematics. He supervised DNA aliquot distribution, voucher databasing, PCR and sequencing troubleshooting, GenBank data entry, and matrix construction.
NORRIS H. WILLIAMS (FLS) has an extensive background in orchid biology, including orchid anatomy, palynology, pollination biology, chemical ecology, and molecular systematics. He has developed extensive contacts throughout Central and South America during the past 40+ years and has been interested in the Oncidiinae for over 40 years. He has recruited students from Mexico to Brazil and has active collaborations in Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil.
MARIO A. BLANCO was a PhD student in the University of Florida's Department of Biology (graduated August 2011), where he just finished a monographic revision of the genus Lockhartia. He is interested in various aspects of orchid biology, including taxonomy, pollination biology, and functional morphology. He is particularly interested in subtribes Maxillariinae, Oncidiinae, and Pleurothallidinae.
LORENA ENDARA is a PhD student in the University of Florida's Department of Biology working on speciation patterns of Scaphosepalum (Orchidaceae: Pleurothallidinae). Her main interest is to understand the evolutionary and environmental factors that have led to the high orchid diversity present in the Neotropics and for this purpose she has explored diverse fields of systematics of several pleurothallid genera. She is an active contributor to the conservation status assessments of Ecuadorian orchids and conservation policies that protect orchids.
GORDON BURLEIGH is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at UF and is responsible for the computer analyses of the Oncidiinae.
KATIA SILVERA is a former graduate student at UF. She received her MS degree from UF in 2003, and her PhD in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at the University of Nevada, Reno. She works on the evolution of Crassulacean Acid Metabolism in orchids, with emphasis on Oncidiinae. She is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and a Postdoctoral Scholar with the Center for Conservation Biology at UCR.
JOHN C. CUSHMAN is a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at the University of Nevada, Reno and is a leading authority on CAM metabolism. His research interests include functional genomics of crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM); mechanisms of the evolutionary origins of CAM in tropical orchids; functional genomic studies of resurrection plants for improving abiotic stress tolerance in crops; and the development of alternative, low water use input biofuel feedstocks that do not compete with food and feed.
MARK W. CHASE (FLS) is Director of the Molecular Systematics Section, Jodrell Laboratory, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and is the leader of many major collaborations in angiosperm molecular systematics. He was instrumental in developing large-scale collaborative phylogenetic projects and has extensive experience in orchid systematics. Most orchid molecular phylogenetic workers have collaborated with Mark, and his lab at Kew has played a leading role in training orchid biologists.
Together, the group represents a diverse, world-wide assembly of some of the most active and productive researchers on Orchidaceae.
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