Dimensions of Biodiversity grant funded–NSF

October 9th, 2014
By Soltis,Douglas Edward

Qiyun Shan_with pavillion and toaist resident houses[2]Biodiversity is multidimensional, composed of genetic, phenotypic, ecological, and geographic variation within and among species. Less frequently considered is the role of evolutionary history in shaping current patterns of biodiversity. That is, how does history constrain or enhance biodiversity? The forests of eastern Asia and eastern North America were anciently connected and have a shared evolutionary and ecological history; they therefore offer an excellent opportunity to study the drivers of biodiversity across geographic space and through evolutionary time. Within forests, plants grow in association with soil bacteria and fungi (collectively referred to as microbes), but little is known about how these associations vary within and among forests and how they generate biodiversity. Do forests in the eastern US and eastern China share evolutionary and ecological features that trace to their common ancestry, or have they followed separate paths since they diverged million of years ago? Do plants and microbes reveal the same patterns, suggesting their histories remain tightly linked, or do these patterns vary geographically? This project is a collaboration between US and Chinese scientists who are conducting novel analyses of plant and microbial diversity in forests in the US and China to discover those factors that shape biodiversity through space and time.

This multidisciplinary project integrates phylogenomics, biogeography, and plant and microbial evolution and ecology to address novel questions on the origins and functional consequences of biodiversity. The research team will reconstruct evolutionary histories for key plant groups shared between eastern North America and eastern China using cutting-edge genetic methods and will evaluate spatial patterns of diversity within and between continents. Exploration of microbial diversity across spatial scales – from individual plant microbiomes to communities to continents – will yield new discoveries of biodiversity and plant-microbial interactions, enabling investigation of co-diversification Liriodendron chinenseof plants and associated microbes. Ecosystem function, inferred from analysis of plant functional traits and remotely sensed canopy properties, will be quantified at all sites and linked to analyses of microbial function. Innovative analytical methodologies will lead to new discoveries in evolutionary and functional diversity of plants and microbes at community and regional scales. Integration of historical connections, current patterns, and future species distribution models will lead to more holistic views of the drivers of biodiversity and a better understanding of our planet’s ecosystems, how to conserve them, and how to represent them in global climate-carbon models that inform national and international climate and energy policies.

The research team will conduct joint fieldwork in both the US and China and has developed an extensive education and training program for students at various levels, a highlight of which is a cyber-enabled course for Chinese and US participants.

For more information on the NSF Dimensions of Biodiversity Program, see here.

 

Blaine’s Awesome Calzone Recipe

October 9th, 2014
By Marchant,Daniel B

Materials:

1 cup warm water

1 packet (.25 oz) active yeast

2 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

3 cups all-purpose  flour

 

Optional:

garlic

herbs

 

Methods:

Activate yeast in water

Mix everything until nice big ball of dough

Let rise (if you want) for 30 minutes

Roll out for calzone or pizza

Add whatever ingredients you want (cheese, sauce, salami, anchovies, etc)

Cook at 375 F for 12-15 minutes or until golden

 

#iamabotanist #reclaimthename #botany

August 29th, 2014
By Gitzendanner, Matt

The Botanical Society of America issued a call for botanists to proclaim “I am a botanist” and reclaim the name. Many proud botanists from our and other botany labs at UF got together yesterday for this great photo.

Photo of proud botanists: #iamabotanist #reclaimthename #botany botany.org

#iamabotanist #reclaimthename #botany botany.org

Gene silencing via DNA methylation in naturally occurring Tragopogon miscellus (Asteraceae) allopolyploids

August 27th, 2014
By Gitzendanner, Matt

Sehrish, T., V. V. Symonds, D. E. Soltis, P. S. Soltis, and J. A. Tate. 2014. Gene silencing via DNA methylation in naturally occurring Tragopogon miscellus (Asteraceae) allopolyploids. BMC Genomics 15:701. [Link to article on publisher’s site]

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Using Comparative Biogeography to Retrace the Origins of an Ecosystem: The Case of Four Plants Endemic to the Central Florida Scrub

August 21st, 2014
By Gitzendanner, Matt

FL_Map_geol_timeGermain-Aubrey, C. C., P. S. Soltis, K. M. Neubig, T. Thurston, Douglas E. Soltis, and M. A. Gitzendanner. 2014. Using Comparative Biogeography to Retrace the Origins of an Ecosystem: The Case of Four Plants Endemic to the Central Florida Scrub. International Journal of Plant Sciences 175:418–431. [Link to Article]

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More great volunteers recognized!

August 20th, 2014
By Gitzendanner, Matt

Congratulations to yet another group of great volunteers in the lab who have logged many hours helping grad students with their research:

  • Casandra Perez (200 hours!)
  • Kylie Beauchamp (100 hours!)
  • Kayla Ventura (100 hours!)

Thanks to these and all of our volunteers!

Doug at the Olympic-Distance National Triathlon Championships

August 14th, 2014
By Gitzendanner, Matt

Doug.Milwaukee_triathalonCongratulations to Doug who qualified for and competed in the Olympic-Distance National Championships in Milwaukee last weekend!

He was awesome, with his fastest swim and run components ever and a fast bike ride on a course with elevation (which he doesn’t get here!), to turn in his second fastest time ever: 2:42:51.61! He placed 69th in his age group, beating over 700 other finishers overall!

Natural History Collections as Emerging Resources for Innovative Education

August 14th, 2014
By Gitzendanner, Matt

University of Florida undergraduate biology students on a museum field trip to collect plant specimens at the Ordway-Swisher Biological Station.

University of Florida undergraduate biology students on a museum field trip to collect plant specimens at the Ordway-Swisher Biological Station.

Cook, J. A., S. V. Edwards, E. A. Lacey, R. P. Guralnick, P. S. Soltis, D. E. Soltis, C. K. Welch, K. C. Bell, K. E. Galbreath, C. Himes, J. M. Allen, T. A. Heath, A. C. Carnaval, K. L. Cooper, M. Liu, J. Hanken, and S. Ickert-Bond. 2014. Natural History Collections as Emerging Resources for Innovative Education. BioScience 64:725–734. [Link to abstract on publisher’s site]

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Angiosperm Phylogeny Based on 18S/26S rDNA Sequence Data: Constructing a Large Data Set Using Next-Generation Sequence Data

July 24th, 2014
By Gitzendanner, Matt

Maia, V. H., M. A. Gitzendanner, P. S. Soltis, Gane Ka-Shu Wong, and D. E. Soltis. 2014. Angiosperm Phylogeny Based on 18S/26S rDNA Sequence Data: Constructing a Large Data Set Using Next-Generation Sequence Data. International Journal of Plant Sciences 175:613–650. [View article at publisher’s site]

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The polyploidy revolution then…and now: Stebbins revisited

July 24th, 2014
By Gitzendanner, Matt

Soltis, D. E., C. J. Visger, and P. S. Soltis. 2014. The polyploidy revolution then…and now: Stebbins revisited. Am. J. Bot. 101:1057–1078. [View at publisher’s site]Access the recommendation on F1000Prime
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