Botanical Society of America Awards Recipients 2019

We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2019 awards provided by the Botanical Society of America. Here we provide recognition for outstanding efforts and contributions to the science of botany. We thank you for your support of these programs.

Given by SECTIONS   Given by SECTIONS

Awards for Established Scientists

Distinguished Fellow of the Botanical Society of America
The "Distinguished Fellow of the Botanical Society of America" is the highest honor our Society bestows. Each year, the award committee solicits nominations, evaluates candidates, and selects those to receive an award. Awardees are chosen based on their outstanding contributions to the mission of our scientific Society. The committee identifies recipients who have demonstrated excellence in basic research, education, public policy, or who have provided exceptional service to the professional botanical community, or who may have made contributions to a combination of these categories.

Dr. David W. Lee, Florida International University

Dr. David Lee is a plant functional ecologist especially interested in tropical and subtropical plants. He has done pioneering research on the physical basis and functional significance of plant color and has researched light environments in tropical forests, leaf optical properties, structural color in leaves, anthocyanin function (including autumn leaf color), light quality/quantity effects on seedling and plant development, and plasticity, especially in leaves. In addition to his record in basic plant research, he has an outstanding record of public outreach for the botanical sciences, which has included the publication of 11 popular but also scientifically rigorous books on botanical topics. His 2007 book, Nature’s Palette: The Science of Plant Color, won the Best of Biology and Life Sciences Award from the Association of American Publishers. His other books range from a book presenting the writings of the plant explorer David Fairchild (The World as Garden), through one of photographs and descriptions of the trees of south Florida (Wayside Trees of Tropical Florida), to his recent book on leaves (Nature’s Fabric, Leaves in Science and Culture).

David has been a life-long member of the Botanical Society of America. In addition to his strong record of research and service to the BSA and the public, he has been an excellent teacher and was awarded the BSA Charles Edwin Bessey Teaching Award in 2006 in recognition of his outstanding record in botanical education. He was the first botanist in a fledgling Department of Biological Sciences at Florida International University, a brand-new public university in Miami, and he worked to develop a robust program in the plant sciences at this young university, initiating hiring of botanical faculty and developing formal collaborations between FIU and other botanical institutions.

Dr. Sean Graham, University of British Columbia

Dr. Ann Sakai, University of California, Irvine
Dr. Stephen WellerUniversity of California, Irvine

Dr. Ann Sakai and Dr. Steve Weller have significantly advanced our understanding of the evolution of plant breeding systems while promoting Hawaiian plant conservation and serving the botanical community in numerous important capacities. They have made major contributions to our understanding of the evolutionary forces that lead to shifts in heterostyly as well as in floral condition, principally in two study systems: the evolution of heterostyly in Oxalis (Oxalidaceae) and the evolution of dioecy and wind pollination in Schiedea (Caryophyllaceae). The NSF has recognized the value of their work by essentially continually funding it over the last 30 years. As with all great researchers, they have followed research questions wherever they lead, regardless of technique. Very few botanists are as deeply involved with all facets of botany, from systematics to ecology, as are Drs. Sakai and Weller. Their stellar research careers have been rewarded by election as fellows to the AAAS.

Much of their work has also had direct and tangible impacts on conservation of Hawaiian Schiedea, while affording great respect to Hawaiian culture. Their greenhouse collection (which includes 25 of 32 extant species, almost all of which are federally endangered) forms an important reservoir of genetic diversity, and their ongoing research has documented patterns of genetic diversity, demography, and gene flow that are absolutely essential for Schiedea species conservation management programs. Much of their recent research has also focused on ways to increase Schiedea abundance in Hawaii, in collaboration with the National Tropical Botanical Garden and numerous state and federal agencies across Hawaii.

Dr. Sakai and Dr. Weller have also been deeply involved in service to the BSA and greater botanical community. Throughout their careers they have made education, outreach, and inclusion central parts of their work. For example, Dr. Sakai is a co-founder and leader of BSA’s highly successful PLANTS (Preparing Leaders and Nurturing Tomorrow's Scientists) program, which is now in its second 5-year NSF grant period. The PLANTS program is designed to increase representation from undergraduate communities who have historically not been represented in botany by bringing 10-15 such students to the Botany conference each year. More broadly, Dr. Sakai has been deeply involved in numerous initiatives at UC Irvine to improve diversity, including initiatives to foster collaboration with historically black colleges and universities, and between Mexican and Californian institutions. Dr. Weller was BSA president from 2010-2013, where he helped establish the Emerging Leader Award and secured the agreement with the Missouri Botanical Garden that led to the continuation of the current headquarters for BSA. He has also served as BSA Secretary and as a board member. Dr. Sakai and Dr. Weller have also been deeply involved in AJB as editors, authors, and reviewers, and were co-editors for a special issue on Global Biological Change in 2013. They have also distinguished themselves as outstanding and sensitive mentors to generations of students, leading to numerous awards for teaching and mentorship at UC Irvine. They are central figures in the ongoing success of the BSA as an institution that supports research, education, and inclusion.

Charles Edwin Bessey Award (BSA in association with the Teaching Section and Education Committee)

Dr. Suzanne Koptur, Florida International University

BSA Corresponding Members Award
Corresponding members are distinguished senior scientists who have made outstanding contributions to plant science and who live and work outside of the United States of America. Corresponding members are nominated by the Council, which reviews recommendations and credentials submitted by members, and elected by the membership at the annual BSA business meeting. Corresponding members have all the privileges of life-time members.

        To Be Announced

Donald R. Kaplan Memorial Lecture

To Be Announced

Jeanette Siron Pelton Award
The Jeanette Siron Pelton Award is given for sustained and imaginative productivity in the field of experimental plant morphology.

To Be Announced

The Grady L. and Barbara D. Webster Structural Botany Publication Award
This award was established in 2006 by Dr. Barbara D. Webster, Grady’s wife, and Dr. Susan V. Webster, his daughter, to honor the life and work of Dr. Grady L. Webster. After Barbara's passing in 2018, the award was renamed to recognize her contributions to this field of study. The American Society of Plant Taxonomists and the Botanical Society of America are pleased to join together in honoring both Grady and Barbara Webster. In odd years, the BSA gives out this award and in even years, the award is provided by the ASPT.

        To Be Announced

The BSA Developing Nations Travel Grants

Oyedapo Ololade Adesomi, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, Nigeria

Sekinat Okikiola AzeezObafemi Awolowo University, Ife, Nigeria

John Chau, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

Eliezer Cocoletzi, Universidad Veracruzana in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico

Ana Andruchow Colombo, Universidad de Buenos Aires and Museo Paelontológico Egidio Feruglio, Argentina

Facundo De Benedetti, Egidio Feruglio Paleontological Museum, Trelew, Argentina

Ethiéne Guerra, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil

Alison Gonçalves Nazareno, IFederal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Nora Oleas, Universidad Tecnologica Indoamerica in Machala y Sabanilla, Quito, Ecuador

Shabir Ahmad Rather, University of Delhi, New Delhi, India

The BSA Professional Member Travel Grants

Laura Frost, Louisiana State University

Jordan Metzgar, Virginia Tech

Carlos J. Pasiche-Lisboa, University of Manitoba, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada

Ayobola Sakpere, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife Nigeria

Carolina Moriani Siniscalchi, University of Memphis

Kevin Weitemier, Oregon State University

Dustin Wolkis, National Tropical Botanical Garden

Cheng-Chiang Wu, Harvard University

Awards for Established Scientists - Given by the Sections

Margaret Menzel Award (Genetics Section)
The Margaret Menzel Award is presented by the Genetics Section for the outstanding paper presented in the contributed papers sessions of the annual meetings.

To Be Announced

Samuel Noel Postlethwait Award
(Teaching Section)
The Samuel Noel Postlethwait Award is given for outstanding service to the BSA Teaching Section.

To Be Announced

Edgar T. Wherry Award
(Pteridological Section and the American Fern Society)
The Edgar T. Wherry Award is given for the best paper presented during the contributed papers session of the Pteridological Section. This award is in honor of Dr. Wherry’s many contributions to the floristics and patterns of evolution in ferns.

To Be Announced

Awards for Early Career Scientists

BSA Emerging Leaders Award

Dr. Emily Sessa, University of Florida

Dr. Emiy Sessa serves as Assistant Professor at the University of Florida where she has developed a well-funded and strong research program. Dr. Sessa’s research is focused on understanding the evolutionary processes that shape plant diversity with a major focus on fern systematics and phylogenetics. To this end, she has published more than 40 peer-reviewed publications on these topics with significant contributions to our understanding of Dryopteris phylogenetics and systematics as well as plant biogeography. Emily also studies plant physiology and is among the few researchers to genuinely combine physiology, genomics, and phylogenetics in her analyses of drought tolerance in fern gametophytes and sporophytes. At the heart of her research is the question, “what ecological and evolutionary processes have generated, and help to maintain, fern diversity on Earth?”

Dr. Sessa has been described as one of the brightest botanical stars of her generation by her colleagues and is already an active leader in the botanical research community. She has served as an editor or associate editor for the American Fern Journal and the American Journal of Botany, as Communications Coordinator for the American Society of Plant Taxonomists and was recently elected as the next Director at Large for Publications on the BSA Board. Over the past 24 months, Emily has delivered 13 invited seminars and lectures. She has also mentored more than 12 undergraduate students, four graduate students, and two postdoctoral researchers.

Her latest teaching endeavor is a study abroad course on the Biodiversity of Southern Africa. Dr. Sessa will be leading a four-week field course in South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia that immerses students in field research and hands-on learning in one of the most botanically and biologically exciting areas on Earth.

BSA Public Policy Award
The Public Policy Award was established in 2012 to support the development of of tomorrow's leaders and a better understanding of this critical area.

Audrey Haynes, Ph.D. Candidate, University of California Berkeley

Adam Schneider,
 Assistant Professor and Herbarium Curator, Hendrix College

Botany Advocacy Leadership Grant
This award organized by the Environmental and Public Policy Committees of BSA and ASPT aims to support local efforts that contribute to shaping public policy on issues relevant to plant sciences.

Else Schils, For the Proposal: Bringing Biocultural Diversity to the forefront of the Political Agenda in Guam


Out-going BSA President

Dr. Loren Rieseberg

Out-going Director-at-large for Education

Dr. Allison Miller

BSA Student Representative to the Board

James McDaniel

Awards for Students

The BSA Graduate Student Research Award including the J. S. Karling Award
The BSA Graduate Student Research Awards support graduate student research and are made on the basis of research proposals and letters of recommendations. Withing the award group is the Karling Graduate Student Research Award. This award was instituted by the Society in 1997 with funds derived through a generous gift from the estate of the eminent mycologist, John Sidney Karling (1897-1994), and supports and promotes graduate student research in the botanical sciences. The 2019 award recipients are:

The J. S. Karling Graduate Student Research Award

To Be Announced

The BSA Graduate Student Research Awards

Jennifer Ackerfield, Colorado State University, For the Proposal: Unraveling the link between hanging garden and alpine thistles (Compositae: Cirsium): A phylogeographic study of Cirsium rydbergii and C. ownbeyi of the Colorado Plateau

Steven Augustine, University of Wisconsin - Madison, For the Proposal: Quantifying Environmental Tolerances of Wisconsin’s Southern Hardwoods for Effective Oak Savanna Restoration

Dylan Cohen, Claremont Graduate University, For the Proposal: Illuminating Loasa (Loasaceae) diversity in Chile using next generation sequencing

Michelle D'Aguillo, Duke University, For the Proposal: Habitat tracking through germination phenology in two southern Appalachian Phacelia (Boraginaceae) species

Michael D'Antonio, Stanford University, For the Proposal: Ontogeny and structure of Late Paleozoic arborescent lycopsids

Maria Beatriz de Souza Cortez, University of Florida, For the Proposal: Elucidating the floristic history of Brazil’s campos rupestresto help preserve its future

Sonal Gupta, University of Michigan, For the Proposal: Deconstructing the sweetpotato: How influential is leaf shape on fitness and what is the role of environmental variation?

Adriana Hernandez, Cornell University, For the Proposal: Revealing the Evolutionary History and Ecological Niches of a Highly Polymorphic Lily, Calochortus venustus: An Integrative Approach to Conservation

Cody Coyotee Howard, Florida Museum of Natural History, For the Proposal: The progression of aridity in Africa and its effects on plant evolution

Rachel Lyman, Washington University in St. Louis, For the Proposal: The Biogeography of the Central Tennessee Basin Glade Endemics

Yesenia Madrigal Bedoya, University of Antioquia (Colombia), For the Proposal: Gene evolution and characterization of genes that promote flowering in Neotropical orchids

Cheyenne Moore, Bucknell University, For the Proposal: The conservation challenge of linear populations: Using field surveys and herbarium collections to inform the populations genetics of a Pennsylvania rare plant, Baptisia australis var. australis

OJO Funmilola Mabel, Obafemi Awolowo University, For the Proposal: Genetic and Cytogenetic studies of the Andropogon gayanus –Andropogon tectorum complex in South Western Nigeria

Maria Pimienta, Florida International University, For the Proposal: Diurnal and nocturnal pollination of Guettarda scabra (Rubiaceae), an advantage to surviving in South Florida's disappearing pine rocklands

Sébastien Rivest, University of Ottawa, For the Proposal: Evolutionary and ecological causes and consequences of pollen defense

Amanda Salvi, University of Wisconsin - Madison, For the Proposal: Determining the roll of nitrogen loss on non-stomatal photosynthetic limitations to water stress in greenhouse and common garden experiments

Karla Sosa, Duke University, For the Proposal: Escaping Australia: The role of ploidy and reproductive mode in the dispersal of Australasian Cheilanthes (Pteridaceae)

Jordon Tourville, SUNY-ESF, For the Proposal: The Potential Influence of Mycorrhizal Mutualists on Tree Elevational Range Expansions Under Future Climate Change

Daniel Turck, University of Idaho, For the Proposal: Identifying cryptic diversity and modeling future distributions of North American temperate rainforest plants, using comparative phylogeography and machine learning

Cecilia Zumajo, The New York Botanical Garden, For the Proposal: Origin and evolution of the seed coat in gymnosperms

Vernon I. Cheadle Student Travel Awards (BSA in association with the Developmental and Structural Section)

This award was named in honor of the memory and work of Dr. Vernon I. Cheadle.

Alexander Bippus, Oregon State University, Advisor: Ruth A. Stockley, For the Presentation: Uncovering Mesozoic polar bryophyte diversity: A permineralized haplolepideous moss gametophyte from the Late Cretaceous of the north slope of Alaska
Co-authors: Ruth Stockey, Ger Rothwell

Megan Nibbelink, Humboldt State University, Advisor: Mihai Tomescu, For the Presentation: Exploring zosterophyll diversity in the Emsian (Early Devonian) permineralized assemblages of the Battery Point Formation (Québec, Canada)
Co-author: Alexandru Tomescu

Annika Smith, University of Florida, Advisors: Drs. Pamela and Douglas Soltis, For the Presentation: How many ways are there to make a nectar spur? Studies in the nasturtiums (Tropaeolum).
Co-authors: Lena Struwe, Kurt Stenn, Douglas Soltis, Pamela Soltis

Zebadiah Yoko, North Dakota State University, Advisor: Dr. Jill Hamilton, For the Presentation: Teasing apart the scale of quantitative trait differences for restoration across heterogeneous landscapes
Co-authors: Kate Volk, Jill Hamilton

Triarch "Botanical Images" Student Travel Awards
This award provides acknowledgement and travel support to BSA meetings for outstanding student work coupling digital images (botanical) with scientific explanations/descriptions designed for the general public.

Rosemary Glos, Cornell University - 1st Place, Losana nana, $500 Botany 2019 Student Travel Award

Ana Andruchow Colombo, University of Buenos Aires - 2nd Place, Vascular bundle and resin canal of Saxegothaea leaf under epifluorescence light microscopy, $300 Botany 2019 Student Travel Award

Annika Smith, University of Florida - 3rd Place, The Egg-Beater Hairs of the Water Ferns, $200 Botany 2019 Student Travel Award

The BSA Undergraduate Student Research Awards
The BSA Undergraduate Student Research Awards support undergraduate student research and are made on the basis of research proposals and letters of recommendation. 

The BSA Young Botanist Awards
The purpose of these awards is to offer individual recognition to outstanding graduating seniors in the plant sciences and to encourage their participation in the Botanical Society of America.

To Be Announced

The BSA PLANTS Grant Recipients
The PLANTS (Preparing Leaders and Nurturing Tomorrow’s Scientists: Increasing the diversity of plant scientists) program recognizes outstanding undergraduates from diverse backgrounds and provides travel grants and mentoring for these students.

Austin Betancourt, San Jose State University, Advisor: Benjamin Carter

Talbrett Caramillo, Fort Lewis College, Advisor: Ross McCauley

Marco Donoso, University of Central Oklahoma, Advisor: Chad King

C.J. Cooper, College of the Redwoods, Advisor: Maria Friedman

Lisa Danback, Webster University, Advisor: Nicole Miller-Struttman

Ana Flores, Florida International University, Advisor: Jennifer Richards

Mari Irving, University of Central Florida, Advisor: Chase Mason

Chazz Jordan, Georgia State University, Advisor: Lauren Eserman

Cristina Raya, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Advisor: Rupesh Kariyat

Rachael Snodgrass, Gonzaga University, Advisor: Stephen Hayes

Tatyana Soto, Mills College, Advisor: Sarah Swope

Emily Swindell, Fort Lewis College, Advisor: Ross McCauley

Dannielle Waugh, University of Central Florida, Advisor: Chase Mason

Danielle Weaver, CSU-Fullerton, Advisor: Joshua Der

Awards for Students - Given by the Sections

Genetics Section Student Research Awards
Genetics Section Student Research Awards provide $500 for research funding and an additional $500 for attendance at a future BSA meeting.

To Be Announced

Isabel Cookson Award (Paleobotanical Section)
Established in 1976, the Isabel Cookson Award recognizes the best student paper presented in the Paleobotanical Section

To Be Announced

Katherine Esau Award (Developmental and Structural Section)
This award was established in 1985 with a gift from Dr. Esau and is augmented by ongoing contributions from Section members. It is given to the graduate student who presents the outstanding paper in developmental and structural botany at the annual meeting.

To Be Announced

Physiological Section Li-COR Prize

To Be Announced

Maynard Moseley Award (Developmental & Structural and Paleobotanical Sections)
The Maynard F. Moseley Award was established in 1995 to honor a career of dedicated teaching, scholarship, and service to the furtherance of the botanical sciences. Dr. Moseley, known to his students as “Dr. Mo”, died Jan. 16, 2003 in Santa Barbara, CA, where he had been a professor since 1949. He was widely recognized for his enthusiasm for and dedication to teaching and his students, as well as for his research using floral and wood anatomy to understand the systematics and evolution of angiosperm taxa, especially waterlilies. (PSB, Spring, 2003). The award is given to the best student paper, presented in either the Paleobotanical or Developmental and Structural sessions, that advances our understanding of plant structure in an evolutionary context.

Ecological Section Student Presentation Awards

        To Be Announced

Ecological Section Undergraduate Student Poster Awards

        To Be Announced

Genetics Section Student Presentation Award

        To Be Announced

Tropical Biology Section Student Presentation Award

        To Be Announced

Physiological Section Student Presentation Award

        To Be Announced

Physiological Section Student Poster Awards

        To Be Announced

Developmental & Structural Section Student Travel Awards

 Ana Andruchow Colombo, Museo Paleontológico Egidio Ferugio, Advisor: Ignacio Escapa, For the Presentation: Anatomical studies of two Chilean Podocarpaceae species: insights to the seed cone and leaf morphological evolution of the family

Molly Edwards, Harvard University, Advisor: Elena Kramer, For the Presentation: Exploring the developmental and genetic basis of complex petal morphologies in bee- and hummingbird-pollinated Aquilegia (columbine)

Asia Hightower, Wayne State University, Advisor: Edward Golenberg, For the Presentation: Sculpting an imperfect flower: The study of KNUCKLES in primordia regulation

Ecological Section Student Travel Awards

Natalie Love, University of California, Santa Barbara, Advisor: Dr. Susan Mazer, For the Presentation: A new phenological metric for use in pheno-climatic models: a case study using herbarium specimens of Streptanthus tortuosus

Kristin Peach, University of California, Santa Barbara, Advisor: Dr. Susan Mazer, for the Presentation: Rethinking floral attraction: sexual dimorphism in Clarkia unguiculata

Meera Lee Sethi, University of Washington, Seattle, Advisor: Janneke Hille Ris Lambers, For the Presentation: Higher, Faster, Hungrier: Complex Dynamics of a Subalpine Plant-Insect Herbivore Interaction

Tanisha Williams, University of Connecticut, Advisor: Dr. Kent Holsinger, For the Presentaion: Using species distribution models to assess the impacts contemporary and forecasted climate change has on the distribution patterns of Pelargonium species throughout South Africa

Genetics Section Student Travel Awards

        To Be Announced

Pteridological Section & American Fern Society Student Travel Awards

Helen Holmlund, University of California, Santa Cruz, Advisor: Jarmila Pittermann, For the Presentation: High-resolution computed tomography reveals dynamics of desiccation and rehydration in a desiccation-tolerant fern.

Alaina Petlewski, Cornell University, Advisor: Fay-Wei Li, For the Presentation: Using sequencing technologies to investigate evolutionary questions in Lycopodiaceae

Lindsey Riibe, University of Florida, Advisor: Dr. Emily Sessa, For the Presentation: Morphology and sequence data resolve the Diplazium praestans mystery

David Wickell, Cornell University, Advisor: Fay-Wei Li, For the Presentation: CAM photosynthesis in the aquatic lycophyte Isoetes taiwanensis