Plant Science Bulletin archive

Issue: 2016 v62 No 3 FallActions

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PLANTS Grant Recipients and Mentors Gather at Botany 2015!





Botany in Action Volunteers ready to go!

How BSA Can Influence Sci-

ence Education Reform...p. 61

An interview with the new 

BSA Student Rep, James 

McDaniel........p. 101

First place - Botany in a Box 

Project!...p. 85

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                                                              Fall 2016 Volume 62 Number 3


Editorial Committee  

Volume 62

K ath ryn L eC roy 




Environmental Sciences 

University of Virginia 

Charlottesville, VA  22904

L .K .  T u om inen




Department of Natural Science 

Metropolitan State University 

St. Paul, MN  55106 

D aniel K . G ladish




Department of Biology &  

The Conservatory 

Miami University  

Hamilton, OH  45011

Melanie L ink - P erez   



Department of Botany  

& Plant Pathology 

Oregon State University 

Corvallis, OR 97331

From the Editor

S h annon F eh lb erg  



Research and Conservation 

Desert Botanical Garden 

Phoenix, AZ 85008


Two articles in this issue of Plant Science Bulletin 

focus on the role and responsibility of the Botanical 

Society of America in advocating for science educa-

tion. In this issue, BSA President Gordon Uno shares 

his essay, “Convergent Evolution of National Sci-

ence Education Projects:  How BSA Can Influence 

Reform,” the first in a two-part series based on his 

address at Botany 2016.  Look for the second part 

of this series to be published in Spring 2017. Also 

included in this issue is the fourth part in Marshall 

Sundberg’s series on Botanical Education in the 

United States. This installment focuses on the role of 

the Botanical Society in the late 20th and early 21st 

centuries and showcases the society’s recent efforts 

on the educational front. As always, we dedicate the 

Education News and Notes section to the practical 

efforts of the current BSA membership and staff to 

promote science education at all levels and to help 

lead the broader national conversation.    

The discussion regarding the responsibility of indi-

vidual botanists and the BSA to promote botanical 

education and engage both students and the general 

public in our science has been of particular interest 

for this publication since its inception. I’ve selected 

two relevant passages “From the Archives” (page ##) 

that illustrate the ongoing conversation within the 

society.  I encourage you to visit the PSB archives 


php#11) and read both of these excerpted articles in 

their entirety. 

I am encouraged by the fact that we, as a society, con-

tinue to grapple with the challenging questions of 

how best to engage others in our science and educate 

them in the issues that we care deeply about. I am op-

timistic that our thriving community of researchers, 

educators, administrators, and students can continue 

to effect positive change on the national stage if we 

are intentional, thoughtful, and vigilant about pursu-

ing this component of the BSA mission. 

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Big Changes Coming to ASPT and BSA Policy Activities  ................................................ 114

BSA Award Winners .................................................................................................................................. 118

PLANTS Grant Continues to Increase the Diversity of Plant Scientists .................... 121


American Journal of Botany is going online-only in 2017 ........................................ 124

Convergent Evolution of National Science Education Projects:  

     How BSA Can Influence Reform .................................................................................................. 125


Botanical Education in the United States. Part IV. The Role of the Botanical  

    Society of America (BSA) into the Next Millennium .......................................................... 132


PlantingScience Launches New Website, Needs Volunteer Scientist Mentors! ..... 155


10 Years of Student Reps, and 10 Questions Featuring BSA’s New Student  

    Representative to the BSA Board, James McDaniel ....................................................... 159


New Book Announcement from CABI: “Plant Biodiversity: Monitoring,  

     Assessment and Conservation” .................................................................................................. 163

Harvard University Bullard Fellowships in Forest Research .............................................. 163

Hunt Institute Director Robert W. Kiger Retires, T. D. Jacobsen  

    Becomes Director  ............................................................................................................................... 164

The New York Botanical Garden and the Chrysler Herbarium Provide  

     Resources for Research on Ericaceae  ................................................................................. 165

In Memoriam

    Alfred Traverse. ..................................................................................................................................... 166

    William D. Tidwell. ................................................................................................................................. 170

     Sylvia "Tass" Kelso .............................................................................................................................. 171

    John Melvin Herr, Jr ............................................................................................................................. 173


Ecology ............................................................................................................................................................. 175

Economic Botany........................................................................................................................... ............. 178

Physiological..... ............................................................................................................................................. 181

Systematics ................................................................................................................................................... 183

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A joint report from the ASPT  

Environmental and Public 

Policy Committee and the 

BSA Public Policy Committee

As part of a partnership between the ASPT 

Environmental and Public Policy Commit-

tee and the BSA Public Policy Committee, we 

have some big changes in store for opportu-

nities for membership engagement in public 

policy issues, including new and upcoming 

web resources as well as some expanded fund-

ing opportunities.
As a result of the partnership between ASPT 

and BSA—the first ever co-sponsored award 

program between our societies—we have 

some announcements regarding new or ex-

panded opportunities for dissemination of 

policy news and awards. 

•  New ASPT-BSA Policy awards officer, 

Andrew Pais!

With new and expanded award opportunities 

for environmental and public policy, one of 

our committee members, Andrew Pais, has 

been selected as Awards Officer. Andrew, a 

Ph.D. Candidate at North Carolina State Uni-

versity, joined the BSA Public Policy Com-

mittee in 2014 after receiving the annual BSA 

Public Policy Award to participate in the 2014 

Congressional Visits Day. You can read about 

Andrew’s experience in 


 Fall 2015 issue of 

the Plant Science Bulletin. Having benefited 

professionally from such an experience, An-

drew is excited to connect others with similar 

•  Botany Advocacy Leadership Grant 


The BALG is in its second year, with our first 

award going to ASPT and 

BSA member Mike Dunn on 

behalf of the Southwest chap-

ter of the Oklahoma Native 

Plant Society to fund a lec-

ture series. This $1000 grant 

can fund a variety of projects 

that help educate the public 

on the importance of botany 

in environmental and public 

policy issues or for communi-

ty-driven restoration projects 

Big Changes Coming to ASPT and 

BSA Policy Activities

By Marian Chau (Lyon Arboretum University of Hawai‘i at Mā-

noa) and Morgan Gostel (Smithsonian Institution), Public Policy 

Committee Co-Chairs, along with Ingrid Jordon-Thaden (Uni-

versity of California Berkeley), ASPT EPPC Chair

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


for botany groups. Applications for ASPT or 

BSA members will be due by March 2017. Full 

details can be found at:


•  Congressional Visits Day (CVD) Public 

Policy Award

This year in Savannah, the ASPT decided 

to join the BSA in offering award funds for 

ASPT members to attend and participate in 

the annual Congressional Visits Day event. 

ASPT will join BSA in sponsoring a member 

to travel to Washington, DC and participate 

in this important opportunity for science pol-

icy. This American Institute for Biological Sci-

ences (AIBS)–sponsored event asks scientific 

societies to partially support selected mem-

bers to participate in the once-a-year visit to 

Congress in Washington, DC, to learn about 

governing and funding processes at the feder-

al level. Additionally, during the visit the AIBS 

groups scientists together to physically meet 

with members of Congress to impress upon 

them the importance of federal funding for 

biological sciences. ASPT has agreed to spon-

sor one ASPT member with $750, and BSA is 

sponsoring two members with all expenses 

paid (travel within USA only), to attend this 

event in the spring of 2017. More informa-

tion can be found at:


•  Botany Policy Network (BPN):
ASPT and BSA are working on developing a 

web-based Botany Policy Network. This net-

work of concerned botanists, botany organi-

zations, and local plant groups will connect 

the membership from ASPT and BSA with 

people who want to share news, action alerts, 

and interaction to better communicate and 

respond to policy issues and events at all lev-

els—local, national, and international! We will 

send an updated announcement about the 

BPN and how we plan to carry out its creation 

very soon in order to have it ready before next 

year’s meeting in 2017.
The ASPT and BSA policy committees have 

been very busy brainstorming how to best ed-

ucate both the public and our members in im-

portant and timely environmental and public 

policy issues. We want to thank all of those 

members who have provided us with ideas, 

and most importantly to the voting members 

of ASPT and BSA for agreeing to back these 

efforts with funds. We are looking forward to 

an excellent year! 

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


Very good meeting for me.  

Good scientific program, nice opportunity 

to get together with colleagues, and a 

location that was fun and different! 

Botany 2016 was a success!  

 Great Networking, Good Science,  

Warm Southern Hospitality! 

Your comments from the  

post-conference survey....

Very nice conference, definitely one of the best.

Very interesting presentations, a good 

offering of workshops & set in a very 

beautiful & convenient location. Well done!

Great meeting!  

Good scientific sessions,  

lots of networking opportunities.

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


I enjoyed the exhibits and  

speaking with exhibitors.  

It was nice to have the posters 

surrounding the exhibitors.   

The quality of posters was super.

Overall experience was great for  

networking and career building.

Everyone was extremely helpful, great group of 

organizers and volunteers, great assortment of 

speakers with a lot of diversity in talks - I appre-

ciate the diversity since I teach a wide array of 

classes in natural resource sciences.

This was one of the best  

Botany conferences I can recall attending,  

every talk and symposium  

I went to was excellent.

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


The previous PSB listed the award winners from Botany 2016 that were available at that time. 

This is the remainder of the award recipients from the conference. Congratulations!

Jeanette Siron Pelton Award

The Pelton Award is given in recognition of sustained and creative contributions in plant mor-

phology. The award defines morphology broadly to include the subcellular, cellular and or-

ganismal levels of complexity, and will recognize experimental, comparative, and evolutionary 

Neelima Sinha, University of California, Davis

Samuel N. Postlethwait Award 

This award is given for outstanding service to the BSA Teaching Section. 
Stokes Baker, University of Detroit 

Emanual D. Rudolph Award

Each year the Historical Section of the BSA offers an award for the best student presentation of 

a historical nature at the annual meetings. 
Aniket Sengupta, University of Kansas, for the presentation: Calcutta Botanical Garden and 

making of the modern world.”

Katherine Esau Award

This award was established in 1985 with a gift from Dr. Esau and is augmented by ongoing 

contributions. It is given to the graduate student who presents the outstanding paper in de-

velopmental and structural botany at the annual meeting. The Esau award distributes $500 in 

years in which the award is given.

Dustin Ray

, University of Connecticut, for the paper “Conduit packing and allometric scaling 

of tissues in petioles.” Co-author: Cynthia Jones.

Developmental & Structural Section Best Student Presentation Award

Jingjing Tong, University of Washington, for the poster “Duplication and expression pattern of 

CYCLOIDEA-like genes in Campanulaceae.” Co-author: Dianella Howarth

Tropical Biology Student Presentation

Samantha Worthy, Columbus State University, for the paper “Phylogenetic analysis of Andean 

tree communities along an elevational gradient in Ecuador.” Co-authors: Rosa Jiménez, Renato 

Valencia, Katya Romoleroux, Jennifer M. Cruse-Sanders, Alex Reynolds, John Barone, Alvaro 

Perez, and Kevin Burgess


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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


Ecology Section Student Presentation Awards

Ian Matthew Jones (Graduate Student), Florida International University, for the paper “Chang-

ing Light Conditions in Pine Rockland Habitats Affect the Outcome of Ant-Plant Interactions.” 

Co-authors: Suzanne Koptur, Hilma R. Gallegos, Joseph P. Tardanico, and Patricia A. Trainer
Meghan Garanich (Graduate Student), Bucknell University, for the paper “Identification of fire 

tolerance thresholds in seeds of the Western Australian endemic bush tomato, Solanum beaugle-

holei (Solanaceae)” Co-authors: Jason Cantley, Lacey Gavala, Ingrid Jordon-Thaden, and Chris 

Scott Eckert, The College of New Jersey, for the best Graduate Student poster “Juvenile trees in 

suburban forests: insights from structural equation modeling.” Co-author: Janet Morrison

Genetics Section Poster Award

The Genetics Section Graduate Student Research Award provides $500 for research funds and 

an additional $500 for attendance at a future BSA meeting.
Michelle Gaynor, University of Central Florida, for the poster “Identifying the Factors Influenc-

ing Plant Communities Across the United States Using A Phylogenetic Framework.” Co-authors: 

Robert Laport and Julienne Ng

Margaret Menzel Award

This award is presented by the Genetics Section for the outstanding paper presented in the con-

tributed papers sessions of the annual meetings.
Jason Cantley, Bucknell University, for the paper “Monolithic sandstone continental islands of 

northern Australia unlock secrets of breeding system evolution in five sympatrically occurring spe-

cies of the Australian spiny Solanum (Solanaceae) lineage.” Co-authors: Ingrid Jordon-Thaden, 

Morgan Roche, Daniel Hayes, and Chris Martine.

Maynard F. Moseley Award

The Maynard F. Moseley Award was established in 1995 to honor a career of dedicated teach-

ing, scholarship, and service to the furtherance of the botanical sciences. 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.
Alex Bippus, Humboldt State University, for the paper “Tiny ecosystems: bryophytes and other 

biotic interactions around an osmundaceous fern from the Eocene of Patagonia.” Co-authors: 

Ignacio H Escapa and Alexandru Tomescu

Physiological Section Student Presentation Awards

Katherine Cary, University of California, Santa Cruz (Advisor, Jarmila Pittermann), for the 

paper “Leaf and xylem function under extreme nutrient deficiency: an example from the pygmy 

forest.” Co-authors: Jarmila Pittermann

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


Danielle Bucior, Ithaca College (Advisor, Dr. Brian Maricle), for the poster “Comparison of 

Heavy Metal Concentrations in Terrestrial and Aquatic Plants from Vieques, Puerto Rico.

Physiological Section Li-Cor Prize

Christina Hilt, Fort Hays State University (Advisor, Dr. Brian Maricle), for the poster “Does 

environment or genetics influence leaf level physiology? Measuring photosynthetic rates of native 

big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) grown in common gardens across a precipitation gradient.” 

Co-authors: Christina Hilt, Cera Smart, Adam Urban, Diedre Kramer, Nicole Martin, Sara 

Baer, Loretta Johnson, and Brian Maricle

Isabel Cookson Award

Established in 1976, this award recognizes the best student paper presented in the Paleobotan-

ical Section.
Brian Atkinson, Oregon State University, for the paper “Initial radiation of asterids: earliest 

cornalean fossils.” Co-authors: Ruth A. Stockey and Gar W. Rothwell

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


PLANTS Grant Continues 

to Increase the Diversity of 

Plant Scientists

The PLANTS program (Preparing Leaders 

and Nurturing Tomorrow’s Scientists) is 

now in its sixth year. The program is funded 

by the National Science Foundation with sup-

port from the BSA.  
Currently managed by Co-PIs Ann Sakai 

(UC-Irvine), Anna Monfils (Central Michi-

gan U), and Heather Cacanindin (BSA Mem-

bership and Subscriptions Director), 

the goal 

of the PLANTS program is to encourage stu-

dents from under-represented populations to 

become part of the scientific botanical com-

munity—and in particular, to help them un-

derstand the opportunities possible with an 

advanced degree and to learn about careers in 

the plant sciences.

The program brings between 10 and 14 stu-

dents each year to the annual Botany con-

ference. PLANTS students attend scientific 

talks with mentors, a workshop on applying 

to graduate school, the Human Diversity Lun-

cheon, and numerous social and networking 

events.  With the assistance from Dr. Sakai 

and Dr. Ann Hirsch (UCLA) as well as all 

those who served on the PLANTS grant selec-

tion committee, 

61 students have been funded 

over the first five years of the PLANTS grant 


In 2016, 

11 students were select-

ed to attend the Botany 2016 Conference in 

Savannah, Georgia.
At the core of the program are the mentors 

who serve to guide the students through what 

to expect at a scientific conference of this mag-

nitude. Each student is assigned a peer and a 

senior mentor.  Mentors contact students be-

fore the meeting, attend social activities and 

scientific talks with the students, help the stu-

dents network with other students and faculty 

at the meeting, and in general, introduce stu-

From left to right: Peer mentor James McDaniel (University of Wisconsin), peer mentor Jon 

Giddens (University of Oklahoma), peer mentor Chelsea Pretz (University of Colorado Boul-

der), David Thomas (University of Oklahoma), and former PLANTS Grant recipient Maryam 

Sedaghatpour (George Mason University).

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


dents to the broader relevance and application 

of the discipline. Mentors pass on to the stu-

dents the genuine intellectual excitement and 

involvement of the conference participants. 

In fact, many mentors maintain contact with 

their mentees after the conference is over, pro-

viding insight and guidance on their career 

path and assisting them with graduate school 

and grant applications. 
Our mentors are committed to helping young 

scientists and increasing the diversity of plant 

scientists. Mentors hail from government po-

sitions, small colleges, large research institu-

tions, and nonprofit organizations. They rep-

resent the variety of job opportunities in the 

botanical sciences. A total of 81 different men-

tors participated in the program over the first 

five-year grant period (42 senior mentors, 39 

peer mentors, including 10 PLANTS alumni 

who returned to participate as peer mentors). 

They enthusiastically share their personal ex-

periences and expertise in the sciences and 

serve without compensation or reimburse-

ment. The mentors are truly the backbone of 

the PLANTS program and provide impactful 

experiences for the PLANTS students. 
One 2016 PLANTS recipient recently stated, “I 

learned so much at the talks and much, much 

more interacting with my two mentors and 

others in the field.  I lacked direction before 

I attended and now feel much more certain of 

my next several steps. I entered the conference 

dissuaded against attending graduate school, 

but with the guidance of [my mentors], I see 

that’s where I will be next in order to reach my 

professional goals.”
The PLANTS grant recipients have kept in 

touch with the program for several years after 

their participation, and this contact has been 

critical to documenting the success of the stu-

dents and the program.  Excluding the last co-

hort in 2015 because most of those students 

just graduated within the last four months, for 

the remaining four cohorts (N = 48), a total 

of 71% (N = 34) began graduate school in ar-

eas related to the PLANTS program: N = 30 

(62.5%) began doctoral programs, and N = 4 

(8.3%) began masters programs. 
Although most of these students had a 

non-traditional profile for graduate school 

based on grade point average, income, and 

socioeconomic status, a very high proportion 

of the 48 students earned prestigious fellow-

ships (N = 19, 40%), through NSF Graduate 

Research Fellowships (N = 15, 31.3%), a Ford 

Foundation Fellowship (N= 1, 2%), or institu-

tional 3- to 4-year-long institutional research 

fellowships (N = 3, 6%). Two students from 

the 2011 cohort also recently earned NSF 

Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants. 
The success, enthusiasm, and contributions 

of the PLANTS participants have helped to 

make our botanical community more aware 

and proactive about encouraging the diversity 

of plant scientists within the Society and the 

plant sciences as a whole.  Moreover, a trans-

formation of the membership of the Botanical 

Society has begun to occur as documented 

by the increase in the diversity of our overall 

membership.  From 2011 to 2016, represen-

tation of BSA members who were American 

Indian/Alaska natives, Pacific Islanders, and 

African American/Black together rose from 

<1% to 2.3%, and members who were Hispan-

ic or Latino/a rose from 2.3% to 3.8% of the 

U.S. membership, for a total of 6.1% of U.S. 

Science will not thrive unless it is equally ac-

cessible to students from all backgrounds, in-

cluding those from groups that are currently 

under-represented. Access involves knowl-

edge about the discipline, understanding the 

culture of science, feeling welcome as a partic-

ipant in scientific endeavors and as a member 

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


of the scientific community, and understanding job opportunities in the area. The PLANTS 

program continues to be successful in encouraging students from underrepresented back-

grounds to become part of our scientific community. The PLANTS program is just one part of 

an overall growing effort by the Society to provide a range of professional development oppor-

tunities to our student members. Some of these efforts include hosting non-academic career 

panels, workshops and symposia about science communication and dissemination, broader 

impacts issues, and career speed dating.  
When the call for applications comes out in February for the PLANTS Award, please carefully 

consider those who you might encourage to apply for this opportunity. In May, we will again 

be seeking peer and senior mentors for the 2017 cohort of PLANTS grant recipients. If you are 

planning to attend Botany 2017 in Fort Worth, this could be a fantastic way for you to make 

new connections and positively impact the life of an aspiring plant scientist. If you have any 

questions about the program, please feel free to contact the BSA office a




PLANTS Grant recipient Viviana Sanchez (left) from Mount St. Mary’s University is joined by 

peer mentor Kelly Matsunga (University of Michigan) and senior mentor Suzanne Koptur (Flori-

da International University) at Botany 2016.

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        



American Journal of 

Botany is going online-only 

in 2017

The BSA is pleased to join with other scien-

tific societies in our community by reducing 

our joint global carbon footprint. In 2017, the 

American Journal of Botany will move to on-

line-only publication. As part of online-only 

publishing, we will continue to support botan-

ical research by introducing new features and 

improved functionality for both readers and 

authors. In addition to being a greener pub-

lishing option, this move will allow the Soci-

ety to direct a portion of print costs to invest 

in new opportunities to support our members 

and the botanical sciences.

Highlights from 2016 include important and 

timely articles on plant phylogeny, develop-

ment, and evolution, as well as three special 

issues focused on insights from studies of 

geographic variation, pollen performance, 

and polyploidy, and a special section on the 

interactions between plants and their mutu-

alist partners. The essay series “On the Nature 

of Things” (“OTNOTs” for short) continues to 

spark insights on a broad range of topics and 

is being read and discussed by people around 

the world. We look forward to serving our au-

thors, the botanical community, and broader 

readership in 2017.

Your Society  

publications want you!


The BSA encourages you to send your 

strongest work to your Society publica-


•  American Journal of Botany publishes 

peer-reviewed, innovative, significant re-

search of interest to a wide audience of 

plant scientists in all areas of plant biolo-

gy, all levels of organization, and all plant 

groups and allied organisms. To submit a 

paper, go to

•  Applications in Plant Sciences is a monthly 

open access, peer-reviewed journal pro-

moting the rapid dissemination of newly 

developed, innovative tools and protocols 

in all areas of the plant sciences, including 

genetics, structure, function, development, 

evolution, systematics, and ecology. To sub-

mit a paper, go to

•  Plant Science Bulletin is an informal com-

munication for Society members pub-

lished three times a year, with information 

on upcoming meetings, courses, field trips, 

news of colleagues, new books, and pro-

fessional opportunities. It also serves as a 

forum for circulating BSA committee re-

ports and discussing issues of concern to 

Society members such as environmental 

policy and educational funding. Research 

articles may be submitted to http://psb.ed-

Your Society publications can only suc-

ceed with your help. If you have queries 

or ideas for essay, research article, or spe-

cial issue contributions, please contact 

the editorial offices at;; or

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


Society News

I have been interested and engaged in science 

education since my undergraduate studies at 

the University of Colorado, when I worked 

with the BSCS (Biological Sciences Curricu-

lum Study), then located near Boulder, while 

working on my undergraduate degree in Biol-

ogy. During my graduate program at the Uni-

versity of California, Berkeley, my research 

was on the reproductive biology and polli-

nation ecology of Iris  douglasiana, a coastal 

Iris species, but my financial support came as 

a teaching assistant and then lead TA for the 

Introductory Biology program at UCB (with 

24 laboratory sections).  So, while I was con-

ducting botanical research, I was still engaged 

in science education activities.  I carried my 

interests with me to the University of Oklaho-

ma, where I have taught over 10,000 students 

in Introductory Botany.  There are two points 

to this introduction: (1) I have been involved 

in science education for a very long time, and 

I have seen it change dramatically over the 

years; and (2) I have been able to combine my 

interests in science and science education into 

a career, and this pathway is now being fol-

lowed by many others at institutions around 

the country.

The Centrality of Education 

in the Mission of the  

Botanical Society of America

In 2012, the American Institute of Biological 

Sciences (AIBS) released the results of a sur-

vey of nearly 100 leaders of scientific societ-

ies on their perceived role of these societies 

today (Box 1) (Musante and Potter, 2012).  I 

would argue that every single role identified 

on the list generated by these scientists has a 

major educational component or focus.  For 

example, the first identified role for a scien-

tific society is “Advancing Research,” which 

conferences, such as our annual BSA meeting, 

obviously help to do.  However, the knowl-

edge transfer that occurs at our annual con-

ference is also an educational activity—we are 

teaching each other about the latest findings 

in multiple areas of research, as well as new 

techniques and methods of investigation. In 

addition, we have those with knowledge in-

forming those who seek knowledge, which 

is one component of education.  In terms of 

Convergent Evolution of National 

Science Education Projects:   

How BSA Can Influence Reform 


Remarks from Botany 2016 by President-Elect  

Gordon E. Uno

By Gordon E. Uno, 

BSA President-Elect 

University of Oklahoma

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


Society News

the second identified role, “Promoting Col-

laboration and Networking,” as we begin to 

form these interactive efforts, we have to in-

form each other of what we know and what 

we want to understand; we must educate each 

other about our strengths and questions we 

have and how we can contribute to the col-

laboration or network.  “Building Public 

Understanding of Science” and “Promoting 

Informed Policy” are also educational activi-

ties—albeit with different audiences than that 

found in a typical classroom, and which are 

activities that scientists are often woefully 

underprepared for or unwilling to engage in. 

Thus, I strongly believe that education is and 

should be a primary focus of any scientific so-

ciety, including BSA, in all of the activities in 

which its members are engaged.  
An educational focus is also found embedded 

in all of the Challenges to Biology as a dis-

cipline (Box 2), as identified from the same 

AIBS survey. The lack of appropriate educa-

tion plays a major role in the alarming level of 

scientific illiteracy illustrated by segments of 

the general public, and some politicians, and 

is troublesome to all scientific endeavors, fu-

ture funding of science, as well as our national 

competitiveness in a scientific and technolog-

ical world (Clough, 2011). Thus, as a scientific 

society, BSA is faced with the same challeng-

es as identified in the BioScience survey, and 

therefore we must ensure we emphasize and 

improve the educational aspects of all the 

roles we play as a society. We also need to un-

derstand the educational responsibilities we 

have as we address the grand challenges facing 

contemporary Biology and Botany. 

Our Educational Roles as 

Scientists and Botanists

As seen above, our educational activities and 

influences extend well beyond our classrooms.  

We have a major responsibility to educate the 

general public about plants and science.  This 

was the theme of one symposium at this year’s 

BSA conference, “The Importance of Com-

municating Science.”  The overall sentiment 

expressed by all speakers in this symposium 

was that scientists are often not very good 

about communicating their science to the 

public, and that we all need to do a better job 

in this important activity.  

Box 1. Seven of the Primary Roles of Scientific Societies Today.  Results from 

the AIBS Survey of Science Society Leaders.  (Musante and Potter, 2012)
1.  Advance research or knowledge transfer
2.  Promote or facilitate collaboration or networking
3.  Advance education
4.  Build public understanding and informal education opportunities
5.  Promote informed policy or advocacy
6.  Empower student success for a future in the field—diversity and careers
7.  Promote conservation or wise use of resources

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Educating our colleagues and administrators 

is also a critical activity for all plant biologists.  

Not understanding the importance of our re-

search can lead to decisions at funding agen-

cies that jeopardize future support.  I point to 

the hiatus in the NSF program, Funding for 

Collections in Support of Biological Research, 

as an example of the lack of informed commu-

nication between the administrators in charge 

of funding decisions and the community that 

is affected by these decisions—issues directly 

related to two of the Greatest Challenges to 

Biology (see Box 2).  Another example of the 

importance of continuous informal education 

of our colleagues comes from the time when 

I was Chair of the Department of Microbi-

ology and Plant Biology at the University of 

Oklahoma.  I feel it was critical to the hiring of 

additional botanists to constantly remind my 

microbiological colleagues and our Universi-

ty’s administration about the importance of 

plant research.  One of the documents I used 

in the defense of botany was the NRC’s 2009 

document, “A New Biology for the 21



ry,” in which you will find the four grand re-

search challenges in Biology for the 21



tury identified by an expert panel of scientists.  

Those grand challenges in biology include:  

(1) generate food plants to adapt and grow 

sustainably in changing environments; (2) un-

derstand and sustain ecosystem function and 

biodiversity in the face of rapid change; (3) 

expand sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels; 

and (4) understand individual health.  When 

one considers nutrition and medicinal plants 

as part of understanding individual health, an 

argument can easily be made that plant re-

search will play a large role in solving all the 

challenges that have been identified for our 

nation’s near and distant future.  I think my 

strategy was fairly successful:  during my 15 

years as Chair of the Department, we hired 19 

Box 2.  Ten of the Greatest Challenges to Biology as Identified by Scientific 

Society Leaders. (Musante and Potter, 2012)
1.  Decision-makers not informed about biological research or issues
2.  Lack of funding for research
3.  Public’s lack of appreciation for biology
4.  Rejection of evolution as the central tenet of biology
5.  Quantity and quality of jobs for trained biologists
6.  Lack of advocacy for science funding
7.  Failure to educate non-majors to engage in lifelong appreciation of biology
8.  Lack of support for biologists to teach or participate in community out-

reach activities
9.  Fragmentation of biological disciplines
10.  Decreasing science coverage in popular media

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


faculty, and by the end of my tenure as Chair, 

we had the greatest number of botanists in the 

history of the unit.  (In addition, we had the 

greatest percentage of women of any science 

or engineering department, and out of all 76 

academic units on campus, we had the highest 

amount of external funding—for several years 

in a row.)  The point here is that we should not 

automatically assume that our colleagues, and 

certainly our administrators, have a working 

knowledge and positive attitude about the bo-

tanical research we do and why it is import-

ant.  Thus, we must constantly educate them 

about our botanical activities.
The third important educational role that 

plant biologists play is directly related to our 

instructional role, helping students learn 

about plants, biology, and science.  I think 

that botanists have a good understanding of 

the problems we all face in the classroom—

undergraduate students don’t have a huge in-

terest in majoring in botany when they come 

to college, even if they want to major in some 

area of biology (Marbach-Ad, 2004).  In addi-

tion, people in general have “plant blindness,” 

which is the inability to see or notice plants 

in one’s own environment, leading to a lack of 

understanding of the importance of plants in 

the biosphere and in the life of humans (Wan-

dersee and Schussler, 1999).  So we botanists 

start with a disadvantage as we try to entice 

students to major in plant biology or to take 

one of our courses.  
We are also aware of many identified issues 

with science courses and with incoming stu-

dents and the way they are taught, such as 

the absence of critical thinking or inquiry in 

courses and the few opportunities for stu-

dents to engage in independent research, dis-

cuss complex topics, or experience science as 

a process in class.  After taking our courses, 

students often leave their undergraduate pro-

gram with little ability in critical thinking, 

complex reasoning, and writing skills (Arum 

and Roksa, 2011).  These problems in the 

classroom contribute to the scientific illiteracy 

of the general public, issues related to finding 

enough qualified graduate students, funding 

issues for science research, poor training of 

future science teachers, faculty frustration in 

teaching, and students leaving biology and 

botany programs for other careers.  Several 

national science education reform projects 

have emerged over the years, each working 

independently to solve the issues of science 

education in different arenas.  This is part of 

the good news in terms of science education, 

and I will address what these projects have in 

common.  But first, I would like to discuss how 

we got to this point.  The myriad problems in 

teaching and learning science were the impe-

tus for people to initiate large-scale, national 

science education reform projects.  But there 

has also been a slowly building revolution in 

terms of the concern about and participation 

in science education reform by faculty not ini-

tially trained, but still interested, in education.  

I think we have reached the tipping point in 

terms of interest, action, and acceptance of 

science education in scientific academic circles

Reaching the Tipping Point 

for Science Education 

The tipping point, according to Malcolm 

Gladwell (2000), is the critical point in a situ-

ation, process, or system beyond which a sig-

nificant and often unstoppable change takes 

place.  I think we have reached this change 

due to a number of factors.  I will now detail 

eight pieces of evidence that we have reached 

the tipping point in terms of support for and 

involvement in science education research 

and activities.

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


First, there are more “pure” scientists (those 

who have no formal training in science edu-

cation research) who have become concerned 

about problems in science education and who 

have contributed to science education reform.  

For instance, as President of the National 

Academy of Science, Bruce Alberts was deep-

ly engaged in science education reform issues, 

including championing the new Next Gener-

ation of Science Standards from the NRC and 

the redesign of the College Board’s Advanced 

Placement science courses.  Two of the last ed-

itors for Science, Alberts and Marcia McNutt, 

have frequently written editorials about sci-

ence education (e.g., Alberts and McNutt, 

2013).  Carl Weiman, 2001 Nobel Prize win-

ner in Physics, has written about the appli-

cation of new research to improve science 

education (2012).  Jo Handelsman, currently 

Associate Director for Science in the White 

House Office of Science and Technology Pol-

icy (OSTP), has promoted “scientific teach-

ing” (Handelsman, Miller, and Pfund, 2007), 

which is instruction that mirrors science at its 

best; that is, teaching that is experimental, rig-

orous, and based on evidence.  This method 

requires all instructors to reflect on our own 

teaching methods in order to determine “how 

do we know that what we are doing is helping 

our students learn?”  
A second piece of evidence in regard to reach-

ing the tipping point is the growing body of 

high-quality, rigorous, peer-reviewed science 

education literature found in an increasing 

number of quality science education journals, 

such as CBE-Life Sciences Education, a journal 

published by the American Society for Cell Bi-

ology.  These journals and articles are reveal-

ing what is called “evidence-based teaching,” 

which Handelsman and others have empha-

sized as the way to engage students in science.  

Third, there is an increasingly large number 

of science faculty with education specialties 

(SFES) faculty found embedded in biology 

departments around the country.  In 2013, 

there were 841 Biology SFES at PhD-granting 

institutions of higher education (Bush et al., 

2013), many in tenure-track positions.  Some 

of these faculty were trained as science educa-

tion researchers, some as biologists who be-

came interested in science education, but they 

all contribute to the science education litera-

ture and/or help colleagues to improve their 

teaching.  This means that members of science 

departments frequently have colleagues with 

education expertise down the hall from them, 

which facilitates communication and interac-


While we know, to some 

degree, what works in 

a science classroom to 

help students learn and 

understand biology, we 

know less about how 

to help more faculty 

effectively implement 

these methods in their 


Fourth, teaching and learning centers have 

developed at most colleges and universities, 

and they have emerged as places where fac-

ulty professional development takes place—

and more faculty are seeking the services of 

these centers to help them improve their in-

structional practices.  Fifth, we have a much 

better understanding of how people learn 

(from the perspective of cognitive sciences) 

and about the biology of learning (from the 

perspective of the neurosciences).  Examples 

of books that illustrate this better understand-

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


ing include two from the National Research 

Council, “How Students Learn:  Brain, Mind, 

Experience, and School” (Bransford, Brown, 

and Cocking, 2000) and “How Students 

Learn:  Science in the Classroom” (Dono-

van and Bransford, 2005).  Sixth, universities 

across the country are experimenting with 

different, and better, ways of preparing the fu-

ture professoriate by educating graduate stu-

dents more broadly.  That is, faculty mentors 

are working with these doctoral candidates 

to develop their teaching philosophy and to 

cultivate their instructional talents.  From the 

years 1999-2011, the NSF GK-12 program 

launched the careers of thousands of graduate 

students by supporting their collaborations 

with K-12 teachers and students during their 

science graduate degree program.  Emerging 

from this and other efforts are new models of 

graduate education that integrate teaching/

learning with science research and often en-

gage graduate students in the scholarship of 

teaching, which many students continue into 

their first professional positions (Trautman 

and Krasny, 2006).  
The seventh sign that we have reached the 

tipping point also has to do with funding 

agencies, such as NSF, and scientific societies 

that are developing and supporting science 

education activities and programs.  In addi-

tion, and as you might expect, there are sev-

eral major science education organizations 

such as the National Association of Biology 

Teachers (NABT) that are working on large-

scale projects to support improved instruc-

tion at the undergraduate level.  In terms of 

funding agencies, I have already mentioned 

GK-12; however, the NSF has also initiated 

the Research Coordination Networks in Un-

dergraduate Biology Education (RCN-UBE) 

program.  RCN-UBE projects support the 

development of groups of individuals who 

are working to solve problems and agree on 

standards of a particular aspect of science ed-

ucation, such as how to incorporate the use of 

bioinformatics into an undergraduate degree 

program (Eaton et al., 2016).  A new research 

society, the Society for the Advancement of 

Biology Education Research (SABER), has 

developed from an RCN-UBE award and now 

holds annual conferences with 500 conferees.  

All of the larger scientific societies, such as 

BSA, the Ecological Society of America, and 

the American Society for Microbiology, have 

active education departments that engage in a 

wide variety of outreach activities and support 

for their members regarding teaching and sci-

ence education.  
One of my three RCN-UBE awards, the Intro-

ductory Biology Project (IBP), was a 5-year 

networking project that engaged several hun-

dred faculty around the country to discuss the 

myriad problems associated with the first, and 

often only, biology course college students 

take (Eaton et al., 2016).  The project result-

ed in publications, new collaborations among 

the participants, new projects emerging from 

interactions of faculty who attended the IBP 

meetings, as well as a summit attended by 

representatives of all the RCN-UBE awards 

to date (NSF RCN-UBE award to Uno, PI, 

2015).  From the IBP we have learned what 

makes networks and collaborative efforts 

work, which should inform any society as it 

attempts to develop interactive groups of sci-

entists (Eaton et al., 2016).  Another meeting 

that emerged from my IBP was a Gordon Re-

search Conference on Undergraduate Biology 

Education Research (UBER).  This is current-

ly the only GRC dealing with biology educa-

tion in the GRC portfolio (see the GRC web-

site at  Susan Elrod (Provost at 

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater) and I 

(co-Chair and Chair, respectively) chose the 

theme of “translational research” for the first 

GRC UBER—that is, while we know, to some 

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


degree, what works in a science classroom to 

help students learn and understand biology, 

we know less about how to help more faculty 

effectively implement these methods in their 

courses.  We wrote the successful proposal to 

the GRC, and we were also successful in ob-

taining supporting funds from the NSF, NIH, 

the HHMI, as well as the GRC to support the 

conference.  All of these results are indicators 

of the continued support shown by science or-

ganizations and funding agencies for science/

biology education.  The next GRC UBER will 

be held at Stonehill College, MA, in the sum-

mer of 2017 and has a theme of “Improving 

Diversity, Equity, and Learning.”  For those 

interested in attending, please visit the GRC 

The final piece of evidence regarding the tip-

ping point is related to the title of this talk—

the convergent evolution of several major 

national science education reform efforts.  I 

will deal with this convergence in Part 2 of 

this article, discussing what these large-scale 

projects have in common.  In addition, I will 

make a few recommendations about how the 

BSA can promote educational reform within 

the society and for our members.  

Literature Cited

Alberts, B. and M. McNutt.  2013.  Science demy-

stified.  Science 342: 289.  

Arum, R. and J. Roksa.  2011.  Academically 

Adrift:  Limited Learning on College Campuses.  

The University of Chicago Press.  272 pp.    

Bransford, J. D., A. L. Brown, and R. R. Cocking 

(eds).  2000.  How People Learn:  Brain, Mind,  

Experience, and School.  The National Academies 

Press.  384 pp.  

Bush, S. D., N. J. Pelaez, J. A. Rudd, M.T. Ste-

vens, K.D. Tanner, and K.S. Williams.  2013.  

Widespread distribution and unexpected variation 

among science faculty with education specialties 

(SFES) across the United States.  Proceedings of 

the National Academy of Sciences 110 (18): 7170-


Clough, G. W.  2011.  Increasing Scientific Liter-

acy:  A Shared Responsibility.  Smithsonian Insti-

tution.  68 pp.  

Donovan, M. S. and J. D. Bransford (eds).  2005.  

How Students Learn:  Science in the Classroom.

The National Academies Press.  264 pp.

Eaton, C., D. Allen, L. Anderson, G. Bowser, M. 

Pauley, K. Williams, and G. Uno.  2016. Summit 

of the Research Coordination Networks for Un-

dergraduate Biology Education.  CBE—Life Sci-

ences Education  (accepted for publication). 

Gladwell, M.  2000.  The Tipping Point:  How 

Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.  Little, 

Brown and Company.  304 pp.    

Handelsman, J., S. Miller, and C. Pfund.  2007.  

Scientific Teaching.  Macmillan.  184 pp.  

Marbach-Ad, G.  2004.  Expectations and diffi-

culties  of  first-year  college  students  in  biology. 

Journal of College Science Teaching 33: 18-23. 

Musante, S. and S. Potter.  2012.  What is import-

ant to biological societies at the start of the Twen-

ty-first Century?  BioScience 62(4): 329-335.  

Trautman, N. M. and M. E. Krasny.  2006. Inte-

grating teaching and research:  a new model for 

graduate education?  BioScience 56: 159–165. 

Wandersee, J. H. and E.E. Schussler.  1999.  Pre-

venting plant blindness. American Biology Teacher 

61: 82-86.

Weiman, C.  2012.  Applying new research to im-

prove science education.  Issues in Science and 

Technology 29 (1).  Fall Issue.      

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During its second half-century, the educa-

tional activities of the Botanical Society of 

America (BSA) can be divided into three 

main periods. The first, associated with the 

founding of the American Institute of Bio-

logical Sciences (AIBS), and especially the 

Commission for Undergraduate Education in 

Biological Sciences (CUEBS), rekindled the 

interest and participation of some of BSA’s 

most notable members in improving botani-

cal education. Several of their ideas ultimately 

came to fruition at the end of the century. Sec-

ond, with the demise of CUEBS, a new group 

Botanical Education in the  

United States.  

Part IV.  The Role of the Botanical 

Society of America (BSA) into the 

Next Millennium


of botanical educators began to work through 

AIBS to promote BSA’s educational agenda. 

Third, in the mid-1990s, as BSA moved to-

ward an independent and more professional 

business and meeting model, it also focused 

on strengthening botany as a discipline as the 

Society moved into the next millennium and 

into its next century. The resulting Botany for 

the Next Millennium provided the framework 

for BSA educational activities up to the pres-

ent day

Key Words:

botanical education; CUEBS; educational forum; 

inquiry-based learning; PlantingScience


1 Received for publication 22 June 2016; revision ac-

cepted 18 August 2016.

2 Corresponding author email:

doi: 10.3732/psb.1600003

By Marshall D. Sundberg


Department of Biology, 

Emporia State University, 

Emporia, KS

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        



s noted in the previous part of this series, 

a striking characteristic of botanical ed-

ucation in the Society during its first 50 years 

was alternating periods of waxing and waning 

interest (Sundberg, 2014). This general pattern 

of waxing and waning has not changed during 

the Society’s second half-century, but the 

drivers have (Fig. 1). Particularly noteworthy 

during the first half-century of the Society was 

the major role played by leading botanists, in-

cluding several Presidents of the Society, who 

drove a botanical education agenda (the nota-

ble outliers since 1956 are former Presidents 

Harriett Creighton, who was active during the 

transition region, and William Jensen, as well 

as current President, Gordon Uno) (Table 1). 

As noted previously, this had already begun to 

change by the 50th anniversary of the Society, 

and it was in large part linked to the evolu-

tion of the American Institute for Biological 

Sciences (AIBS) (Sundberg, 2014). The Teach-

ing Section was established in 1947, the year 

before the founding of AIBS. The BSA was a 

charter member of AIBS, and BSA Past Presi-

dent, Ralph Cleland, was its first Board Chair-

man (AIBS, 1972; DiSilvestro, 1997). 
Many AIBS programs, including in educa-

tion, were closely tied to developments in the 

BSA, and the peaks of educational activity 

in the late 1960s and mid-1990s reflect this 

close connection with BSA members driving 

programs both in AIBS and BSA (see Fig. 1). 

The BSA Education Committee was estab-

lished in 1951, and from its inaugural issue 

in 1955, Plant Science Bulletin provided a fo-

cus on botanical education issues (Sundberg, 

2014). AIBS followed suit by establishing its 

Committee on Education and Profession-

al Recruitment in 1956 with BSA immedi-

ate Past-President Oswald Tippo as its chair 

and BSA President Harriett Creighton and 

BSA member Ronald Bamford as committee 

members (Cox, 1956). Close program links 

between AIBS and BSA were facilitated by the 

fact that BSA met as an affiliate society during 

Figure 1.  Educational Activities of BSA through its second half-century.

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Table 1  Chairpersons of BSA Teaching Section and Education Committee*  

*Continued from Table 6 in Sundberg, 2014 (p. 46).


Teaching Section 

Education Committee 


Education Staff Person 


Harriette V. Bartoo 

Victor Greulach /John Torrey? 




William B. Drew 

Harriett B. Creighton 




Samuel N. Postlethwait 

Harriett B. Creighton 




Robert W. Hoshaw 

Adolph Hecht 




Robert W. Hoshaw 

Adolph Hecht 




Robert C. Lommasson 

Adolph Hecht 




Paul A. Vestal 

Samuel N. Postlethwait 




Helena A.  Miller 

Samuel N. Postlethwait 




J. Louis Martens 

Samuel N. Postlethwait 




Irving W. Knoblock 

Richard M. Klein 




Irving W. Knoblock 

Richard M. Klein 




J. Louis Martens 

Richard M. Klein 




Orie J. Eigsti 

Peter B. Kaufman 




Sanford S. Tepper 

Peter B. Kaufman 




Donald S. Dean 

J. Donald La Croix 




Willis H. Hertig 

Willard W. Payne 




William A. Jensen 

Sanford S. Tepper 




Franklin F. Flint 

Janice C. Coffey 




Donald M. Huffman 

Charles R. Curtis 




Charles R. Curtis 

Shirley A. Graham 




Barnett N. Rock 

Richard A. White 




W. Moser Hess 

Franklin F. Flint 




Roy H. Saigo 

Samuel N. Postlethwait 




Louis H. Tiffany 

Samuel N. Postlethwait 




Alan R. Orr 

Barbara W. Saigo 




David  T. Webb 

Roy H. Saigo 




Marshall D. Sundberg 

Roy H. Saigo 




Gordon E. Uno 

John A. Novak 




John A. Novak 

Edith S. Taylor 




Steven G. Saupe 

Jeanette S. Mullins 




Jan Balling 

Thomas L. Rost 




Jeanette S. Mullins 

Thomas L. Rost 




Donald S. Galitz 

Marshall D. Sundberg 




Kenneth J. Curry 

Marshall D. Sundberg 




David W. Kramer 

Bruce K. Kirchoff 




Stanley A. Rice  

Steven G. Saupe 




Eileen D. Bunderson 

David W. Kramer 




Robert J. (Rob) Reinsvold  David W. Kramer 




Robert J. (Rob) Reinsvold  David W. Kramer 




Robert J. (Rob) Reinsvold  David W. Kramer 




Robert J. (Rob) Reinsvold  David W. Kramer 




Henri Maurice 

David W. Kramer 




Henri Maurice 

Robert J. (Rob) Reinsvold 




Daniel T. (Tim) Gerber 

Robert J. (Rob) Reinsvold 




James E. Mickel 

Gordon E. Uno 




Beverly J. Brown 

Gordon E. Uno 




Beverly J. Brown 

Gordon E. Uno 


Claire A. Hemingway 


James H. Wandersee 

Gordon E. Uno 


Claire A. Hemingway 


James H. Wandersee 

Gordon E. Uno 


Claire A. Hemingway 


James H. Wandersee 

Beverly J. Brown 

Christopher H. Haufler 

Claire A Hemingway 


Stokes S. Baker 


Beverly J. Brown 

Christopher H. Haufler 

Claire A. Hemingway 


Stokes S. Baker 

Beverly J. Brown 

Christopher H. Haufler 

Claire A. Hemingway 


Stokes S. Baker 

Beverly J. Brown 

Susan R. Singer 

Claire A. Hemingway 


Carina Anttila-Suare 

J.P. (Phil) Gibson 

Marshall D. Sundberg

  Catrina T. Adams 


Carina Anttila-Suare 

J.P. (Phil) Gibson 

Marshall D. Sundberg

  Catrina T. Adams 


Carina Anttila-Suare 

J.P. (Phil) Gibson 

Allison J. Miller 

Catrina T. Adams 

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


the annual AIBS meetings from the 1950s 

through 1999, the last big AIBS-coordinated 

societies meeting. In 2000, BSA was the last 

of the charter societies to separate its annual 

meeting from AIBS and set off on its own.  
Increased activity during the past two de-

cades reflects an emphasis on implementing 

the goals and actions enumerated in Botany 

for the Next Millennium (Botanical Society of 

America, 1995). Notably, these included im-

plementation of an Education Forum preced-

ing the annual meeting and implementation 

of the PlantingScience program. The follow-

ing account is organized around the three pe-

riods of educational activities outlined above: 

two periods of interaction between AIBS and 

BSA, first through the Commission on Un-

dergraduate Education in the Biological Sci-

ences (CUEBS) and later through the AIBS 

Education Committee, and recently through 

implementation of the recommendations of 

Botany for the Next Millennium.


Both AIBS and BSA benefitted from early 

NSF funding of educational activities. Notable 

for BSA were the Summer Science Institutes 

(Sundberg, 2014). These programs continued 

into the 1960s with institutes at the Univer-

sity of North Carolina (UNC; 1960, 1962, 

1963, and 1969), Washington State Universi-

ty (1961), Michigan State University (1965), 

University of Massachusetts (1966), and Uni-

versity of Vermont (1968). Because of the In-

ternational Botanical Congress in 1964, held 

in Edinburgh, there was no institute planned 

for that year, but instead, UNC hosted a spe-

cial smaller education conference. There is no 

record of a 1967 Institute (Council Minutes, 

1960-1989). Although the institutes were the 

only NSF-supported activities sponsored by 

the BSA, members of the Education Commit-

tee actively represented the Society in broader 

activities, particularly with AIBS.
In 1960, the National Association of Biolo-

gy teachers proposed that the BSA formally 

take over one issue of The American Biology 

Teacher (ABT) per year for botanical articles. 

Victor Greulach (Fig. 2), then in his fifth and 

final year as Education Committee Chair, re-

ported that the Committee recommended the 

Society simply encourage members to submit 

articles to ABT rather than sponsor a full is-

sue. The Committee also recommended that 

the Society not produce and distribute leaflets 

to schools, but instead contribute to Turtox 

News, an ongoing commercial publication. It 

also recommended that BSA participate in an 

AIBS conference for biologists and journalists 

to promote better dissemination of botanical 

information to the general public. This was 

seen as particularly important because the ed-

ucational materials so far produced by AIBS 

(a film series distributed by McGraw-Hill) 

were “deficient in botanical quantity, quality, and 

accuracy” (Council Minutes, 1960; AIBS, 1972).   

Figure 2. Victor Greulach, first Executive Di-

rector of CUEBS and former BSA Education 

Committee Chairman. (CUEBS photo)

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


The following year Greulach was replaced as 

chair by Harriett Creighton (Fig. 3), resulting 

in a whirlwind of new activity by the Commit-

tee. A survey was sent to the membership to 

get ideas about teaching models that could be 

produced or approved by the Society, in col-

laboration with AIBS and the Biological Sci-

ence Curriculum Study (BSCS), to facilitate 

high school botanical instruction. The Com-

mittee also proposed to the Council that BSA, 

through AIBS, apply to the NSF for a grant to 

study the botanical content of high school and 

college curricula. Collaboration with BSCS 

was seen as particularly important to obtain 

buy-in from high schools. The Committee re-

versed itself from the previous year and rec-

ommended sponsoring one issue of ABT per 

year—a motion that was approved. The Board 

also approved a proposal to co-sponsor, with 

Section G (Botanical Sciences), a symposium 

at the forthcoming AAAS meeting in hopes 

that the proceedings would be published in 

the AAAS Frontiers of Plant Biology series. 

In response to the Committee’s recommenda-

tion, the Society established a Committee on 

Institutes, to plan and arrange for pre-meeting 

educational conferences and to continue the 

Summer Institutes. A final motion, passed by 

the Council, was to award certificates to high 

school students who won awards for botanical 

From 1961 through 1965, BSA did co-spon-

sor an annual AAAS symposium titled “Plant 

Biology Today: Advances and Challenges,” 

whose purpose was to provide useful up-

dates on botanical research for college profes-

sors along the lines of the summer institutes 

(AAAS, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965). Full 

proceedings were not published, but papers 

from the first three symposia were collect-

ed by Wadsworth in a small volume meant 

to supplement textbooks in advanced high 

school and college courses (Jensen and Ka-

valjian, 1963, 1966). The first edition included 

papers by five of the six 1961 presenters: James 

Bonner, molecular biology; William Jensen, 

the problem of cell development in plants; 

Lawrence Bogorad, photosynthesis; Beatrice 

Sweeney, the measurement of time in plants; 

and Frank Salisbury, translocation: the move-

ment of dissolved substances in plants (Jen-

sen and Kavaljian, 1963). To these the second 

edition added papers by Warren H. Wagner, 

Jr, modern research on evolution in the ferns; 

Bruce Bonner, phytochrome and the red, far-

red system, from the 1962 symposium; and 

Ralph Alston and Billy Turner, biochemical 

methods in systematic; Henry Andrews, some 

recent developments in our understanding of 

pteridophyte and early gymnosperm evolu-

tion; Walter D. Bonner, Jr., electron transport 

systems in plants; and Vernon Ahmadjian, 

cultural and physiological aspects of the li-

chen symbiosis, from the 1963 session (Jensen 

and Kavaljian, 1966). 
The Teaching Section also amended their by-

laws in 1963. There is no record of the orig-

Figure 3. Harriet Creighton, President of 

BSA, Chairwoman of BSA Education Com-

mittee, and CUEBS panelist (liberal education 

[non-majors], AIBS Committee on Education, 

and the NSF Committee on Teaching Biology). 

(Photo complements of Lee Kass.)

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        



Henry Koffler, Vice-Chairman, 1966-7. Chairman 1967-69 (Purdue); C. Ritchie Bell (North Carolina); Winslow R. Briggs 

(Harvard); Martin D. Brown (Fullerton Junior College); Lincoln Constance* (Berkeley); Lafayette Frederick (Atlanta University); 

Arthur W. Galston* (Yale); Victor A. Greulach (North Carolina); Adolph Hecht (Washington State); James H.M. Henderson (Tus-

kegee Institute); Robert W. Long (South Florida); Leonard Machlis (Berkeley); Aubrey W. Naylor (Duke); G. Ledyard Stebbins* 

(Davis); and Carl P. Swanson (UMass).

Executive Staff

Director:  Victor A. Greulach, 1964-65 (North Carolina)

Staff Biologists:  Donald S. Dean (Baldwin Wallace College); N. Jean Enochs (Michigan State); Franklin F. Flint (Randolph-Macon 

Woman’s College); Leroy G. Kavaljian (Sacramento State).


Undergraduate Major Curricula:  Winslow R. Briggs (Stanford); Henry Koffler (Purdue)

Biology in a Liberal Education: Harriet B. Creighton* (Wellesley); Charles Heimsch* (Miami University); Carl P. Swanson (Johns 


Biology in the Two-year College: Martin D. Brown, 2nd Chairman (Fullerton Junior College).

Instructional Materials and Methods: Samuel N. Postlethwait (Purdue); Clarence Taft (Ohio State).

Biological Facilities: C. Ritchie Bell, Chairman (North Carolina); Richard D. McKinsey (Virginia).

College Instructional Personnel: Lewis E. Anderson (Duke); Sanford S. Tepfer (Oregon).

Preparation of Biology Teachers: Addison E. Lee (Texas); Edward M. Palmquist (Missouri).

Preprofessional Training for the Agricultural Sciences: J.R. Shay (Purdue).

Interdisciplinary Cooperation: Aubrey W. Naylor, Chairman (Duke); Charles C. Bowen (Iowa State); Henry Koffler (Purdue).

Table 2.  BSA Members who were Officers and Committee Members of CUEBS.

inal section bylaws, but the 1963 revision 

stipulated that the primary objective of the 

section was “to arrange a suitable program 

on botanical teaching in connection with the 

annual meetings of the Botanical Society of 

America, Inc.” Other objectives were to en-

courage sound teaching of botany, to explore 

new methods of teaching, to assist in dissem-

inating information about botanical teaching, 

and to cooperate with other organizations to 

achieve these aims. Officers should be elected 

at the annual business meeting and candidates 

should be presented by a nominating commit-

tee of two, appointed by the section chair. The 

chair and vice-chair were to serve one year 

with the vice-chair automatically assuming 

the chairmanship the following year.  The sec-

retary treasurer had a three-year term, and the 

representative to the Editorial Board of the 

American Journal of Botany served a five-year 

term (Council Minutes, 1964).  
Another successful initiative was the joint pro-

gram with AIBS and BSCS to develop botani-

cal teaching charts and models. The first three 

models were in production by A.J. Nystrom 

and Co in 1963, and by 1968 eight models of 

plant structure and 12 teaching charts (with 

transparencies for overhead projection) were 

available. Each model was accompanied by a 

small booklet, equivalent to a short textbook 

chapter, explaining the structure illustrated 

(Kass, 2005).    
Some of Creighton’s initiatives were less suc-

cessful. The summer institutes did contin-

ue through 1969, and a series of educational 

pre-conferences were held in 1968, 1970, and 

1973—but neither was sustainable. The high 

school certificate program got lost in admin-

istrative details (designing an appropriate cer-

tificate and “finding” the official BSA seal to 

use on them) and was ultimately discontinued 

in 1965 without a single awardee (Council 

Minutes, 1961-1965).  
Creighton resigned as Education Commit-

tee chair in 1962 (to be replaced by Adolph 

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Hecht), the same year in which CUEBS was 

established under the auspices of AIBS and 

Victor Greulach was appointed the first execu-

tive director (CUEBS, 1965).  The first CUEBS 

conference in February, 1964 was limited to 

representatives of eight universities that had 

already initiated new courses and curricula, 

but the second conference, in May, included a 

much broader representation from 50 colleges 

and universities and included Hecht and Sam-

uel Postlethwait  (Fig. 4) from BSA. CUEBS 

and BSA initiatives were closely tied for the 

eight years of the Commission’s existence, and 

many CUEBS officers and committee mem-

bers were drawn from BSA membership (Table 2).  
As Chairman of the BSA Education Commit-

tee and the Educational Materials and Meth-

ods panel of CUEBS, Postlethwait spearhead-

ed the integration of programs at the annual 

BSA meetings. In 1964 the Teaching Section 

sponsored a symposium on the use of living 

material in botanical teaching. Paul Vestal in-

troduced the symposium and Harriet Creigh-

ton described how a sustained study of plant 

growth could provide the framework for an in-

troductory course. Harold Bold spoke on “the 

neglected cryptogams,” while Howard Arnott 

described “supermarket plant anatomy.” The 

final paper on molecular plant taxonomy was 

presented by C. Ritchie Bell (Abstracts, 1964). 

The 1965 panel discussion on the progress 

in the teaching of botany was co-sponsored 

by the Teaching Section and NSTA. Pos-

tlethwait began with a presentation on auto-

tutorial teaching followed by a CUEBS panel 

discussion, which included Victor Greulach, 

Winslow Briggs, Lincoln Constance, Arthur 

Galston, Aubrey Naylor, G. Ledyard Stebbins, 

Carl Swanson, and Roy A. Young. Later that 

afternoon, W. Gordon Whaley, William Jen-

sen, Harlan Banks, and David Anthony pre-

sented at a teaching section symposium titled 

“Supplementing the living plant in the teach-

ing of botany” (Abstracts, 1965; Council Min-

utes, 1965). 
In 1966, Helena Miller presided over a sym-

posium, “Basic concepts in botany—initial 

college course.” It was co-sponsored by the 

Teaching, Developmental, and General Sec-

tions of the BSA, the American Society of 

Plant Physiologists, and the NABT.  James 

Bonner, G. Ledyard Stebbins, Frederick Stew-

ard, and Kenneth V. Thimann were the speak-

ers. The last three papers were subsequently 

published in Bioscience (Stebbins, 1967; Stew-

ard, 1967, Thimann, 1967).  These sessions 

were no longer updates on the field, as in 

the past, but were concerned with the place 

of botany in a biology curriculum, and how 

to incorporate botany into the general biol-

ogy course. The following afternoon Martin 

Schein and Ted Andrews presented a panel 

discussion and report on CUEBS activities. 

In 1966 Postlethwait also sent out a question-

naire to the membership to gain information 

on “Tachyplants”—plants with rapid enough 

life cycles to be completed within one semes-

Figure 4. Samuel Postlethwait: BSA Teach-

ing Section and Education Committee 

Chair, CUEBS panelist (Instructional Mate-

rials), and BSA Program Director.

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


ter. This project was co-sponsored by the BSA 

Education Committee and the CUEBS Panel 

on Instructional Materials and Methods. Pos-

tlethwait and N. Jean Enochs published the 

results the following year in the Plant Science 

Bulletin (1967). Figure 5 is an excerpt from 

that article highlighting the advantages of the 

mouse-eared cress, Arabidopsis thaliana, as 

a plant with great potential (Abstracts, 1966; 

Council Minutes, 1966).
The 1967 annual meeting program again in-

cluded two symposia. The first, including 

David Gates, Warren H. Wagner, and J. van 

Overbeek, again focused on updating con-

cepts for advanced college courses. However, 

the afternoon symposium, led by Postlethwait, 

focused on CUEBS initiatives: pedagogy, new 

experiments, and new technology (films) (Ab-

stracts 1967, Council Minutes, 1967).
The 1968 BSA annual meeting marked a ban-

ner year for education (see Fig. 1). This began 

with BSA’s first educational preconference, 

co-sponsored by the Education Committee, 

Teaching Section, and the AIBS Office of Bio-

logical Education. Helena Miller directed the 

conference, whose theme was to update re-

search on morphogenesis in plants. The pre-

senters included Joseph O’Kelley, algae; James 

Lovett, fungi; Bernard Nobel, bryophytes; Au-

gustus DeMaggio, ferns; Folke Skoog, higher 

vascular plants I; and Walter Halperin, higher 

vascular plants II. The Education Committee 

and CUEBS sponsored a session of reports 

by staff on the status of several initiatives: an 

overall report on the first five years; the sta-

tus of non-majors; the majors program; in-

structional personnel; instructional materials; 

and communication with CUEBS. This was 

followed by a discussion of the problems of 

curriculum, personnel, facilities and educa-

tional materials. The Teaching Section also 

sponsored two symposia. The first session fo-

cused on the roots of biology initiated in the 

elementary grades, and the second was a sym-

posium on independent study and research 

Figure 5. Excerpt from article by Postlethwait and Enochs (1967) highlighting the advantages 

of Arabidopsis thaliana.

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


on the undergraduate level. The latter includ-

ed courses with embedded research, short re-

search courses, undergraduate independent 

research outside of regular courses, and the 

new NSF program for undergraduate research 

(Abstracts, 1968).  Session authors were invit-

ed to submit special papers for publication in 

PSB to update college teachers (Council Min-

utes, 1968).  
The Education Committee co-sponsored two 

proposals for half-day symposia at the 1969 

International Botanical Congress to be held 

at the University of Washington. The first fo-

cused on teaching methods in botanical edu-

cation, and the second addressed the philos-

ophy of botanical education. However, these 

proposals were unsuccessful and consequent-

ly there were no educational sessions at the 

1969 BSA meeting, which was held during the 

IBC (Council Minutes, 1969, 1970).
Other initiatives of the Education Committee 

in the mid-1960s included a revision of the 

Career Opportunities in Botany booklet and 

Guide to Graduate Study. The original Ca-

reer booklet, authored by George Avery and 

Creighton, was published during the 50th an-

niversary year, 1966, and some 30,000 copies 

were distributed over the years. James M’Guin-

ness authored the revision, Botany as a profes-

sion, in 1966 (Page, 1967). This was reprinted 

in 1970, but revised as Careers in Botany in 

1972. Subsequent revisions were completed in 

1978 (William Stern), 1986, 1988 (Roy Saigo), 

and 1994 (Marsh Sundberg). Surveys were 

sent out to all universities with Botany gradu-

ate programs in 1965 with the results collated 

and published in 1966 (Hecht) and revised in 

1968 (Starr), 1971 (Palser), 1974 (Payne), 1977 

(Coffer), 1983 (Randy Moore), and 1994 (Stern). 
An interesting unfulfilled plan to develop 

a source book of experiments for teaching 

botany was first proposed by Richard Klein 

in 1966 (Council Minutes, 1966).  This was 

further discussed the following year at the 

pre-conference institute. The idea was to pro-

duce royalties for the BSA. In 1968 the min-

utes report that progress on the source book 

was delayed.  This is the last time the project 

appears to have been discussed; in 1970 Rich-

ard and Deana Klein published their Research 

Methods in Plant Science with no mention of 

the BSA. 
The year 1970, after the Apollo 11 moon land-

ing, essentially marked the end of the CUEBS 

era. Although the Teaching Section co-spon-

sored a symposium on balanced biology pro-

grams in community colleges with the AIBS 

office of Biological Education (Abstracts, 

1970), and 11 contributed papers were pre-

sented, the section chairman, J. Louis Mar-

tens, recommended disbanding the Teaching 

Section. “I move that the BSA Council drop 

the Teaching Section from the current list of 

BSA sections,” primarily because affiliated so-

cieties and other BSA sections were now in-

cluding teaching papers in their sessions. “The 

activities of the Teaching Section appear to be 

unwarranted duplication of effort and add to 

frustration when selecting sessions to attend.” 

In addition, section membership was “float-

ing”—mostly present and past officers (Coun-

cil Minutes, 1970). Indeed, the section had no 

program at the 1971 joint meeting with the 

Canadian Botanical Society (CBA), other than 

a co-sponsored (with CBA and AIBS) sym-

posium on botany in the undergraduate cur-

riculum. The 1972 program listed only seven 

teaching papers and an AIBS symposium on 

AudioTutorial instruction organized by Pos-

tlethwait (Abstracts, 1972). The program from 

1973 included co-sponsorship of a Phycolog-

ical Section symposium on teaching with al-

gae; a single education paper was presented in 

the General Section (Abstracts, 1973).  

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A number of factors probably contributed 

to the decline in educational BSA activities 

in the early and mid-1970s. The year 1970 

marked the end of the AAAS section G (Bot-

any); henceforth, botany and zoology were 

combined into a single biology section of the 

Academy. This was a fitting endnote to the con-

cerns raised by Bill Stern, Hardy Eshbaugh, and 

T.K. Wilson the previous year about the demise 

of botany departments (Eshbaugh and Wilson, 

1969; Stern, 1969). The year 1972 marked the 

formal end of CUEBS (CUEBS, 1972). In his 

1973 presidential address, Charlie Heimsch 

focused on teaching and introductory cours-

es and noted the importance to departments 

of providing botany courses attractive to 

non-majors fulfilling general education re-

quirements (Heimsch, 1973). He also noted 

that science was now entering “a period of 

decremental planning.” After more than a de-

cade of increasing support for science educa-

tion, the numbers were now declining. Orie J. 

Eigsti had pointed this out in his teaching sec-

tion report the previous year. The NSF budget 

for education rose from $84 million in 1962 to 

$120 million in 1970, but was projected to fall 

to $65 million in 1973 (Council, 1972).  

AIBS: the Education  

Committee Years

In 1976, Sanford Tepfer, Education Commit-

tee Chair, noted, “The Education Commit-

tee has been inactive during the past year 

and reports no accomplishments” (Minutes, 

1976). This would soon begin to change. In 

1978 BSA chose not to meet with AIBS, but 

rather to meet with the American Society of 

Plant Physiologists (ASPB) and four other 

plant biologist societies (American Bryolog-

ical and Lichenological Society, American 

Fern Society, American Society of Plant Tax-

onomists, International Association of Wood 

Anatomists, and the Plant Growth Regulator 

Working Group) at VPI & SU in Blacksburg, 

Virginia. Other than the physiologists, this 

would become the core group that continues 

to meet at Botany conferences. In prepara-

tion for that meeting, Teaching Section Chair, 

Charles Curtis, sent a questionnaire to 97 de-

partment chairs asking for information about 

how general botany was taught at their insti-

tution. Of the 55 responses, 28 were from Bot-

any or Plant Science departments and 27 from 

Biology departments.   
Sixty percent had three one-hour lectures per 

week, 24% had two one-hour lectures, and 

the rest had some other combination. Only 

58% also taught a lab, and most of these were 

a single two- or three-hour lab. Raven, Evert, 

and Curtis (1976) was by far the most popular 

text, and most departments used an in-house 

lab manual. Eighteen percent of the cours-

es enrolled either fewer than 100 students or 

between 10 and 200 students. Twenty-four 

percent enrolled between 200 and 300, and 

the rest were larger (Council Minutes, 1977-

78). Several of the respondents were invited 

to present at a BSA-Teaching Section sym-

posium on Teaching General Botany, includ-

ing Bill Jensen and Robert Knauft on using 

multi-image lectures; Willie Koch, humanis-

tic techniques for non-majors; Franklin Flint, 

trends in the botanical core programs; and 

Charles Curtis, who summarized the survey 

responses. This session was foundational for a 

new focus on pedagogy and best practices that 

continues today.
Curtis also provided a list of contact persons 

for teachers of general botany in 37 states and 

Washington, D.C. This list included Barba-

ra Palser (New Jersey), Harlan Banks (New 

York), Ted Delevoryas (Texas), and Ray Evert 

(Wisconsin), who were past or future Presi-

dents of BSA. In addition to the symposium, 

there were 12 contributed papers in the teach-

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ing section and a demonstration by F.H. Er-

bisch on the extended use of the student 

microscope (Council Minutes, 1978; Plant 

Sciences, 1978). The year 1978 was also signif-

icant for two other reasons. First, at Richard 

Popham’s suggestion, John Romberger formu-

lated a Young Botanists program to promote 

new membership, and second, this was the 

last year NSF split out Botany and Zoology as 

separate fields in their reports (Table 3; NSF, 

1980). The gradual demise of botany programs 

in the United States has been of long-stand-

ing concern to the Society (Eshbaugh, 1983; 

Sundberg, 2000, 2004).
The 1979 program built upon the momentum 

of the previous year with 14 contributed pa-

pers, two symposia, two demonstrations, and 

a co-sponsored lecture. A new name was on 

the program for both symposia: Roy Saigo, 

who presented on “Who will be teaching bot-

any in the 1980s and 1990s” and “Current and 

future trends in faculty evaluations.” Saigo 

and his wife, Barbara, were tireless promoters 

of botanical education, very good at delegat-

ing responsibility, and tuned in to develop-

ments on the national level. For most of the 

next two decades, Roy and Barb directly or 

indirectly affected the education programs of 

the BSA. One of the other first-time teaching 

section presenters, Marshall Sundberg, gave a 

contributed paper on plant biorhythms in the 

laboratory (Abstracts, 1979; AIBS, 1979).  
In its annual report, the Education Com-

mittee suggested four possible topics for up-

coming meeting programs. These included 

providing a panel discussion on grant writ-

ing directed toward graduate students; a 

symposium on employment opportunities 

with speakers from government, business, in-

dustry, and a university counseling center; a 

workshop on innovative use of sophisticated 

media in teaching; and a survey of undergrad-

uate biology programs with a goal of ensuring 

adequate botanical representation. Several of 

these would be accomplished in the next few 

years, beginning with the Saigo’s talk on AV 

presentations the next year.
BOTANY 80, a joint meeting of BSA and CBA 

at the University of British Columbia, featured 

six concurrent laboratory teaching workshops 

on Sunday afternoon and a session of six con-

tributed papers later in the week. Although 

BSA had a history of summer workshops in 

the 1950s and 1960s, these were intended to 

be opportunities for college faculty to update 

their understanding of various topics and 

subdisciplines. The BOTANY 80 workshops, 

strongly influenced by the Canadians, focused 

on laboratory activities that could be used or 

amended by the participants in their own 

courses. Susan Waaland (University of Wash-

ington) used fluorescent staining to demon-

strate algal cell elongation. Vipen Sawney and 

Taylor Steeves (University of Saskatchewan) 

demonstrated the usefulness of lettuce hypo-

cotyls on the study of growth and growth reg-

ulation. Roy Turkington (University of Brit-

ish Columbia) used data sets to demonstrate 

teaching experimental field ecology. and Lar-

ry and Carol Peterson (University of Guelph) 

also demonstrated fluorescence techniques 

but on fresh hand sections of living plant 

materials. Ian Ross (University of California, 

Santa Barbara) demonstrated fungal experi-

mentation, and John Bean, Larry Morse, and 

Richard Rabeler (NSF and Michigan State 

University) demonstrated computer-assisted 

plant identification (Abstracts, 1980).  



Doctoral Faculty 










Table 3. Departments and Full-Time Faculty, 

1977-78 (NSF, 1980).

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Roy Saigo was elected Teaching Section Pro-

gram Chair at this meeting and immediately 

began to reenergize the section. The success 

of participant-active workshops was immedi-

ately picked up although only two workshops 

were offered in 1981. To remedy this, the sec-

tion formed an ad-hoc Workshop Committee 

to solicit presenters and coordinate the pro-

gram. David Webb was committee chair in 

1982 and 1983, and Gordon Uno in 1984 and 

1985. During these years a variety of formats 

were tried to optimize attendance. In 1982 a 

workshop on plant tissue culture techniques 

was scheduled as a regular Tuesday session 

(AIBS, 1982). In 1983 three workshops were 

scheduled, in coordination with CBA, on 

Tuesday afternoon, Tuesday evening, and 

Wednesday morning (AIBS, 1983). In 1984 

one workshop on vegetation remote sensing 

was co-sponsored by the Ecological Section 

and offered twice on Sunday morning and af-

ternoon. Two more workshops were co-spon-

sored by the Developmental and Structural 

Section. These were also offered twice, either 

Sunday morning and evening (clearing tech-

niques) or Sunday afternoon and evening 

(control of Impatiens pollen tube growth). 

A fourth workshop on stereological analysis 

was co-sponsored by the Developmental and 

Structural Section on Monday morning. AIBS 

also offered a “computers in bioeducation” 

workshop Sunday morning (Abstracts, 1984; 

AIBS, 1984). The success of the Sunday work-

shops made them a staple of annual meeting 

programs through today.  
Another long-standing innovation initiat-

ed at the BOTANY 80 meeting began with 

Sundberg’s proposal at the Teaching Section 

Business Meeting for an exchange of teach-

ing slides. The following year, a call was put 

out to the membership to share slides repre-

sentative of the biomes of North America. Of 

the hundreds of slides submitted for consid-

eration, approximately 100 were duplicated 

and organized into a set (all originals were 

returned to the donors). On Thursday morn-

ing of the 1981 meeting, the set was screened 

and attendees could order copies of any of the 

slides in the set. The positive response, with 

more than 1000 slides distributed, encour-

aged expansion of the sets, which forms the 

core of the current image collection on the 

BSA homepage (


However, the response also highlighted the 

limitation of a single “showing” (Anonymous, 

1982).  Consequently, Sundberg negotiated 

with AIBS to set up a cost-free booth in the 

exhibit area where the sets would be available 

for viewing at any time during the conference. 

The booth also served as a repository for hand-

outs from the workshops so that members 

who were unable to attend a workshop could 

still gather materials. Hundreds of handouts 

and more than 4000 slides were distributed in 

this way during the first three years (Anon-

ymous, 1982, 1983, 1984). In 1983 a new 

item was available in the booth: a $5.00 BSA 

baseball cap, the first article of BSA clothing 

(Council, 1983). It quickly became apparent 

that volunteers would be needed to help run 

future booths. For several years Lee Kass took 

the lead on this project, scheduling volunteers 

to run the booth throughout the exhibitor 

display hours. In addition to active teaching 

section members, many others volunteered, 

such as Society officers Carol Baskin, David 

Dilcher, Ernest Gifford, Judy Jernstedt, and 

others (Anonymous, 1984, 1985). Jernstedt 

was instrumental not only in transitioning the 

booth from the Teaching Section to the BSA 

at large, which continues to this day, but also 

in designing the BSA logo. 
At the national level, science education re-

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ceived a Sputnik boost in 1957 that led to 

CUEBS and the commissions for the other 

sciences, but with the loss of federal fund-

ing in 1970, priority for science education 

had been gradually decreasing. This changed 

dramatically again with the report  A Nation 

at Risk (NCEE, 1983), which focused on 

K-12 education, and subsequently the NSBT 

Committee on Undergraduate Science and 

Engineering Education, the so-called



Report, which identified serious problems in 

undergraduate science education and made a 

number of recommendations, including for 

academic institutions and professional societ-

ies (NSB, 1986). Societies were charged with 

helping to improve science education and 

bridging the academic and industrial worlds. 

Discipline-based recommendations were pro-

vided by NSF (1989) with Peter Raven head-

ing the biology group. Among the recommen-

dations were to enhance laboratory and field 

experiences, particularly with inquiry-type 

activities, to develop stimulating introductory 

courses, to reward quality teaching, and to re-

cruit and retain students.
As with earlier national efforts, the BSA was a 

leader in many of the initiatives that followed.  

Workshops promoting field and laborato-

ry activities were now a staple of the annual 

meetings, and the AIBS Education Commit-

tee, now under Saigo’s leadership, was coordi-

nating with BSA in presenting workshops and 

symposia at the joint annual meetings. This 

reached its apex at the 1995 meeting in San 

Diego where a single, but multiple-session, 

AIBS-led symposium included more than 

50 papers highlighting recent NSF education 

equipment grants (see Fig. 1; AIBS, 1995).   
In 1986 Saigo first presented a proposal for 

a plant science education conference at the 

Wingspread Foundation in Racine, Wiscon-

sin (Council, 1986). Although this proposal 

was not successful, the BSA was a participant 

in the 1991 Wingspread meeting that result-

ed in the formation of the Coalition for Edu-

cation in the Life Sciences (CELS) with Barb 

Saigo and Terry Hufford representing the BSA 

(Council, 1991; CELS, 1998a). Finally, in 1998, 

CELS co-sponsored a workshop, “Toward Lit-

eracy in Plant Biology,” with Rob Reinsvold 

and Marsh Sundberg representing BSA and 

Susan Singer and Paul Williams representing 

the American Association of Plant Physiolo-

gists (ASPP), who co-sponsored the meeting 

(CELS, 1998b). It was at this meeting that the 

ASPP’s Principles of Plant Biology: Concepts 

for Science Education were introduced, which 

were eventually adopted by BSA in 2012 as 

the ASPB/BSA Statement on Botany in the 

Curriculum (Council, 2012). Although CELS 

was short lived, it was eventually subsumed 

into the current Center for Biology Education 

at the University of Wisconsin, and it was a 

forerunner of several multi-society groups fo-

cused on biology education that went beyond 

the organismal societies represented in AIBS, 

particularly involving the cell biologists and 

In 1950 the Teaching Section proposed that 

the Society establish an award for teaching, 

but that motion was tabled (Sundberg, 2014). 

The idea of a teaching award to highlight the 

importance of botanical education resurfaced 

in 1987 during a brief discussion initiated by 

Barbara Saigo at the Teaching Section Busi-

ness meeting. Chairman Uno appointed an 

ad-hoc committee of Drs. John Novak, Janet 

Detloff, and Jeanette Mullins to prepare such 

a proposal. A proposal to establish the Charles 

E. Bessey Award was included as the fourth 

of five amendments to the Section Bylaws the 

following year—all of which passed unani-

mously (Minutes, 1987, 1988; see Table 4). 

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At the annual meeting of the Botanical So-

ciety of America, the Teaching Section may 

bestow the Charles E. Bessey Award to one 

or more persons judged to have made out-

standing contributions in botanical instruc-

tion. The award(s) shall be determined by 

an Award Committee appointed from the 

Section by the Chairperson of the Section 

and consisting of a Chairperson, the Secre-

tary-Treasurer of the Section, and one oth-

er member each serving three-year terms, 

with one new member being appointed 

each year. The President of the Botani-

cal Society of America, or designee, is an 

ex officio member of the Committee. The 

Committee shall prepare a short citation for 

the awardee(s) and shall inform the Secre-

tary of the Society of its selection(s) at least 

one month in advance of the meeting during 

which the award(s) is (are) to be presented. 

(Bessey Award, 1988)

Four years later, the section voted to establish 

a new award, the Samuel Postlethwait Award, 

“for meritorious service to the Teaching Sec-

tion of the BSA” (Council Minutes, 1992). This 

was also the year another of Creighton’s ideas 

came to fruition—a BSA recognition for high 

school students. The Society made a three-

year commitment to participate in the Inter-

national Science and Engineering Fair, pro-

viding first-, second-, and third-place awards 

in plant biology (Council, 1992). In 1995 Sci-

ence Service increased the participation fee 

and mandated that all awards be at least $500. 

The Board approved, but the program was 

discontinued because of the difficulty of ob-

taining judges. During the three years of the 

program, more than 60 botanical entries were 

judged per year, the fifth highest number of 

projects among all disciplines (Council, 1992, 

1993, 1994).
A major achievement for the Society in 1995 

was publication of the booklet, Botany for the 

Next Millennium (BSA, 1995). This project be-

gan when President William Louis Culberson 

appointed a steering committee, chaired by 

Ray Evert, to provide research and education-

al goals, priorities, and opportunities for the 

21st century. The subcommittee on Education 

and Teaching consisted of Marshall Sundberg 

(chair), Jack Carter, Donald Galitz, Bruce Kir-

choff, Randy Moore, and Gordon Uno. It is 

significant that two thirds of the bulleted ac-

tion items in this report directly relate to edu-

cation and teaching (BSA, 1995; Fig. 6; http://
This document continues to serve as a guide 

to educational programs in the Society.

Next Millennium Years

One of the first efforts to implement some of 

the strategies outlined in Botany for the Next 

Millennium was for the BSA to participate 

in the annual meetings of the NABT and/or 

NSTA. During the CUEBS years, NABT fre-

quently met with the BSA and AIBS, and joint 

symposia and paper sessions were common, 

but during the intervening years there was no 

formal participation with either educational 

group. Gordon Uno had special interest in 

establishing a BSA presence at these teach-

er conferences as he was elected President of 

NABT the year the Millennium report was 

published. For the next several years, first un-

der David Kramer’s leadership and then un-

der Rob Reinsvold, the Education Committee 

was awarded funds from the Council to send 

teams of two or three BSA members to lead 

workshops and run booths at both the NABT 

and NSTA meetings. In addition to Kramer 

and Reinsvold, frequent presenters at these 

meetings included Stanley Rice, Ethel Stanley, 

and Daniel (Tim) Gerber (Council Minutes, 

1998-2002). For the first several years, $10,400 

was allocated to send teams out, but by 2001 

only $7000 was allocated.
The year 2002 saw a major shift in direction of 

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


Figure 6.  Botany for the Next Millennium  

with summary table (pp. 28, 29). 

BSA education under the guidance of Program 

Director, Jeffrey Osborn. His initiative resur-

rected Creighton’s idea of holding pre-confer-

ence workshops (see above), this time as the 

BSA Educational Symposium.  The first Ed-

ucational Symposium preceded Botany 2002 

on the University of Wisconsin campus, the 

site of the 1998 CELS conference “Towards lit-

eracy in plant biology” (CELS, 1998b).  
The Forum began with a Friday evening re-

ception followed by a day of 23 panels, discus-

sions, and breakout groups on Saturday and 

16 Sunday workshops. The Saturday sessions 

were grouped into five threads, and the day 

culminated with a Keynote Address by bota-

nist and textbook author, Neil Campbell: “Bot-

any education in our schools and colleges: an 

optimistic forecast” (Council Minutes, 2002).

To support this meeting “add-on,” Osborn ob-

tained additional sponsorship through NSF, 

Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL), the Council 

on Undergraduate Research (CUR), the Deep 

Gene Research Coordination Network, and 

Prentice Hall publishers.
Arguably the most significant Forum oc-

curred the following year in Mobile, Ala-

bama.  Although this was a much smaller 

meeting overall, only two thirds the size of the 

previous year, a similar format was used for 

the Forum. There were 14 Saturday sessions 

and 8 workshops. The plenary speaker was 

Dr. Bruce Alberts, President of the National 

Academy of Sciences, who spoke on “Science 

education and the national science education 

standards: the challenges ahead.” During in-

formal discussions with BSA Executive Di-

rector Bill Dahl, however, Alberts challenged 

the BSA to come up with a way to impact 

botany instruction at the K-12 level, and he 

mentioned a California program, ACME Ani-

mations, where professional animation artists 

had established an effective mentoring pro-

gram for high school students (Council Min-

utes, 2003). This was the seed that developed 

into PlantingScience (see below).
The Educational Forum continued as a major 

driver of BSA educational activities through 

the BSA/ASPB 2007 joint conference in Chi-

cago (see Fig. 1). The 2004 Forum included 

12 sessions and 7 workshops with a keynote 

by Eugenie Scott on “Just when you thought 

it was safe to teach evolution...” (Council 

Minutes, 2004). In 2005, 18 sessions and 12 

workshops were presented with a keynote 

by Barbara Schultz, teacher leader of the Na-

tional Academy of Science’s National Teach-

ers Advisory Council (Council Minutes). The 

Educational Forum for the 2006 Centennial 

meeting included 12 sessions and 11 work-

shops, and Roger Hangarter’s keynote presen-

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


tation on “Communicating and awareness of 

plants through science and art” included sev-

eral clips from his Plants in Motion website 

(Council Minutes, 2006). The final forum in 

2007 included 6 sessions, 10 workshops, and 

a short course on Teaching Innovations by 

Jim Wandersee and Marsh Sundberg in which 

participants earned 0.5 Continuing Education 

Units credit (Council Minutes, 2007).  
Although quite successful, the BSA Education 

Forum was an initiative driven by the BSA 

Program Directors, with considerable exter-

nal support, and could not be sustained by the 

Education Committee or Teaching Section 

In 2004, the Bessey Award was transferred 

from the Teaching Section to become a Soci-

ety-wide award with the intent of increasing 

its prestige and generating more nominees. 

This has had considerable success (Table 4). 

This was also the year that an ad-hoc commit-

tee was established to act on Albert’s challenge 

the previous year and investigate the potential 

of the Acme Animation project. 
At the Botany 2004 conference, Bill Dahl and 

Acme Animation’s founder, Dave Master, pre-

sented the concept of BSA Sci-π. A follow-up 

meeting was held in August at the University 

of Kansas where Dahl and Master present-

ed an in-depth demonstration of the Acme 

website to an ad-hoc committee of BSA Pres-

ident-elect Christopher Haufler, PSB Editor 

Marsh Sundberg, and BSA members Jennifer 

Archibald and Mark Mort. The concept was 

to use an interactive web page to coordinate 

student group projects at secondary schools 

under the mentorship of professional bota-

nists. Following this meeting, the committee 

recommended that the Education Committee 

move forward to design and implement a BSA 

Sci-π pilot project to demonstrate proof of 

concept activity; establish a funding and de-

velopment plan; and form an advisory com-

mittee to guide further development (Dahl, 

2004; Haufler and Sundberg, 2009). 
The objectives of the project directly focused 

on the BSA mission and Botany for the Millen-

nium report: to promote botany, to improve 

formal and informal botanical education, to 

encourage basic plant research, to provide ex-

pertise about plants, and to foster communi-

cation between botanists and the public. BSA 

Sci-π project also had six more specific objec-

1.  Promote BSA leadership in the plant sci-

2.  Promote botany and the plant sciences to 

the public.
3.  Establish an effective plant-based educa-

tional outreach program at the K-12 level pro-

moting scientific inquiry.
4.  Create an opportunity to foster relation-

ships with other plant scientists
5.  Provide a forum for mentorship and devel-

opment in the plant sciences
6.  Establish a framework for developing ed-

ucational programs across scientific societies 

and potentially with commercial organiza-

An allocation of $9800 was requested from the 

Society to establish three working committees 

tasked to develop and implement a pilot be-

fore the end of the year. A key to this devel-

opment was the hiring of Claire Hemingway 

in November, 2005, whose primary focus was 

to facilitate and coordinate BSA educational 

efforts and the Sci-π pilot project (Fig. 7). In 

addition to Dahl and Hemingway, the work-

ing group who met in January included Rob 

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


Brandt (BSA office), Jeff Osborn, Gordon Uno, 

Marsh Sundberg, Beverly Brown, and Barbara 

Schultz and Peggy Skinner from the National 

Academy of Science’s National Teachers Advi-

sory Council. The team developed “The Won-

der of Seeds” and changed the project name to 

SIP3 before the fall pilot, which involved more 

than 400 students in 10 schools and nearly 

40 scientist mentors (Haufler and Sundberg, 

2009). Additional modules were developed 

and tested, and ASPB became a formal partner 

in 2006 when the name was again changed to 

PlantingScience. Formal mentor training also 

began in 2006 with the inauguration of the 

Master Plant Science Team (Hemingway and 

Dahl, 2007). In 2007 the project was awarded 

a Monsanto Fund grant of $81,173 over a two-

year period for materials development. Later 

the same year NSF provided $1,576,294 for a 

three-year Planting Science Research in Edu-

cation Study.
A major component of the NSF grant was four 

PlantingScience Summer Science Institutes for 

teachers (Fig. 8). The first five days consisted 

of an inquiry immersion experience focused 

on two of the PlantingScience modules, while 

the last three days used discussion groups and 

collaborative team building among participat-

ing teachers to design classroom implemen-

tation. The immersion activities involved role 

playing, with the module developer playing 

the role of teacher and participants divided 

into student research teams. Research teams 

were enrolled in a mock PlantingScience web-

site and reported daily getting feedback from 

the developers who now functioned as scien-

tist mentors.
By 2012, eight modules had been developed 

and over 15,000 students in 38 states and sev-

eral foreign countries discussed their plant 

investigations with scientist/mentors. In ad-

dition to several journal publications (Hem-

ingway et al., 2011, Hemingway and Packard, 

2011; Peterson and Stuessy, 2011; Stuessy et 

al., 2012), a book-length practical guide was 

produced by Uno, Sundberg, and Hemingway 

(2013). In 2015 a new PlantingScience: Dig-

ging Deeper Together grant ($2.9 million) was 


Table 4. Botanical Society of America Education/Teaching Awards.



Charles E. Bessey Award 

Samuel Noel Postlethwait Award 


Samuel N. Postlethwait 



Barbara W. and Roy H.  Saigo 



Gordon E. Uno 



Marshall D. Sundberg 



Lawrence J. Crockett 

Jerry M. and Carol C. Baskin 



Ritchie Franks, Jeanette Mullins, Jan Balling 


Joseph E.  Armstrong 

John S. Galitz 


William A. Jensen 




Robert J. (Rob) Reinsvold 


Joseph D. Novak 



Donald R. Kaplan 



W. Hardy Eshbaugh, David W. Lee 



Thomas L. Rost, James H. Wandersee 



Beverly J. Brown, Michael Pollan 



Roger P. Handgarter 



Geoff E. Burrows, Christopher T. Martine 



Susan R. Singer 



Paul H. William, Leslie G. Hickock, Thomas R. Warne 



Shona M. Ellis 

James H. Wandersee 


Bruce K. Kirchoff 

Marshall D. Sundberg 



Stokes Baker 


Table 4. Botanical Society of America Education/Teaching Awards.

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


funded by NSF to bring the program to new 

levels (AAAS, 2015).
A final major change in botanical education 

within BSA was a structural organizational 

change in 2009. To improve the efficiency of 

the governance structure of the society, three 

new Director-at-Large positions were estab-

lished to oversee and coordinate major areas of 

function.  One of these was Director-at-Large 

for Education. As one of his first activities, 

Chris Haufler, the first Director-at-Large, 

called for a BSA Education Summit to discuss 

the roles of the BSA Director-at-Large for Ed-

ucation, the BSA Education Director, the Ed-

ucation Committee, and the Teaching Section 

(Haufler, 2010).
The organizational plan and responsibilities 

are summarized in Fig. 9. In short, the Direc-

tor-at-Large serves as the liaison between all 

of the other entities and the BSA Board. The 

Teaching Section is primarily responsible for 

programs at the annual meetings, especially 

contributed paper and poster sessions, sec-

tion business meetings, and symposia. The 

Education Committee, while involved with 

symposia at the annual meeting, is primarily 

involved with Society-wide educational pro-

grams, especially outreach activities and col-

laborations with other societies. For example, 

other current initiatives include Plant Ed, the 

U.S. Science and Engineering Festivals, Life 

Discovery workshops, and Botany Booth in a 

Box competition. The Education Director has 

primary responsibility for PlantingScience 

and other collaborations and serves as the 

staff support persons for both the Teaching 

Section and Education Committee. 

Figure  7.  Evolution of PlantingScience from top left around BSA Executive Director 

Bill Dahl: Sci-π; Sip3; PlantingScience.; Education Director Claire Hemingway

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


...the continued close 

association between 

BSA and AIBS provided 

an opportunity for a 

new group of botanical 

educators, botanists 

with positions requiring 

a major teaching 

emphasis, to provide a 

new focus, emphasizing 

i n t e r d i s c i p l i n a r y 

cooperation and 

outreach that continues 

to the present.


The CUEBS era is in some ways comparable 

to the early days of BSA educational activities. 

Some of the most active participation was by 

leading botanical researchers, including sev-

eral presidents of the Society. Furthermore, 

CUEBS and its parent, AIBS, also provided 

a forum through which BSA members pro-

vided national leadership in science educa-

tion initiatives stimulated by Sputnik and the 

perception that the United States was falling 

behind the Soviets in science innovation. Un-

fortunately, with the Apollo moon landing in 

1969, it became clear that this “science gap” 

was more imagined than real and funding for 

many of the NSF-sponsored science educa-

tion programs, including CUEBS, was cut.  
With the urgency gone, it is not surprising 

that BSA educational activities waned, but 

the continued close association between BSA 

and AIBS provided an opportunity for a new 

group of botanical educators, botanists with 

positions requiring a major teaching empha-

sis, to provide a new focus, emphasizing in-

terdisciplinary cooperation and outreach that 

continues to the present.  At the same time the 

Society was raising concerns about what role 

botany would play in the changing scientific 

landscape moving toward the new millenni-

um. It was clear that both formal and public 

education about plant science would be crit-

ical, and this formed much of the framework 

for the resulting publication Botany for the 

Next Millennium, in which many of the goals 

and actions relate to outreach and education.
With  Botany for the Next Millennium as a 

guide, two major initiatives were instigated in 

the early 2000s: the BSA Educational Forums 

and PlantingScience. The latter is arguably the 

single most important and successful educa-

tional initiative ever undertaken by the Soci-

ety and has the potential to rejuvenate botany 

as a go-to discipline for young scientists-to-be. 

Figure 8. Participants at the 2011 Planting-

Science Summer Science Institute, veterans of 

the 2010 institute, involved in a special “fern 

challenge.”  From left: Dick Willis (back), Kim 

Parfitt, Amanda Schrader, Kurt Springer, and 

Stan Kosmosky. (Photo compliments of Claire 


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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


Attracting and training young plant scientists 

is especially critical given the global environ-

mental challenges facing society (Sundberg et 

al., 2011). The recent addition of affiliate so-

cieties to the PlantingScience team—such as

Botanical education, 

through the BSA, has the 

potential to achieve the 

vision of “strengthening 

education and 

communication about 

plants and botanical 

sciences at all levels of 

society” and thus imbuing 

botany with renewed 

vigor during the BSA’s 

second century.

The American Phytopathological Society, the 

American Society of Agronomy, the Crop 

Science Society, the Ecological Society of 

America, and the Soil Science Society, among 

others—will enhance our ability to make a 

convincing argument that botany and plant 

science is critical to feeding the world, pro-

tecting biodiversity, and moderating climate 

change. Botanical education, through the 

BSA, has the potential to achieve the vision 

of “strengthening education and communi-

cation about plants and botanical sciences at 

all levels of society” and thus imbuing botany 

with renewed vigor during the BSA’s second 

century (BSA, 1995).


I want to thank the BSA professional staff 

in  the  St.  Louis  office,  particularly  Richard 

Hund, for their assistance and support in lo-

cating materials and records and providing 

research space. I also wish to thank two anon-

ymous reviewers for their helpful comments 

on the original draft.   

Literature Cited

Abstracts of Papers. 1964. American Journal of 

Botany 51(6) part 2: 641.

Abstracts of Papers. 1965. American Journal of 

Botany 52(6) part 2: 653-654.

Abstracts of Papers. 1966. American Journal of 

Botany 53(6) part 2: 641.

Figure 9. Organizational plan and responsi-

bilities of BSA Educational entities (modified 

from PSB 56: 152.)

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


Abstracts of Papers. 1967. American Journal of 

Botany 54(6) part 2: 662-663.

Abstracts of Papers. 1968. American Journal of 

Botany 55(6) part 2: 741.

Abstracts of Papers. 1970. American Journal of 

Botany 57(6) part 2: 766-767.

Abstracts of Papers. 1972. American Journal of 

Botany 59(6) part 2: 673-674.

Abstracts of Papers. 1973. American Journal of 

Botany 60(4) supplement: 37.

Abstracts of Papers. 1979. Botanical Society of 

America, Miscellaneous Series 149: 70.

Abstracts of Papers. 1980. Botanical Society of 

America, Miscellaneous Series 150: 3-4.

Abstracts of Papers. 1984. American Journal of 

Botany 71(5) part 2: 201-203.

American Association for the Advancement of 

Science. 1961. Annual Meeting Program. Science 

134: 1633.

American Association for the Advancement of 

Science. 1962. Annual Meeting Program. Science 

138: 1133.

American Association for the Advancement of 

Science. 1963. Annual Meeting Program. Science 

140: 912.

American Association for the Advancement of 

Science. 1964. Annual Meeting Program. Science 

146: 1347.

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Science. 1965. Annual Meeting Program. Science 

150: 1350.

American Association for the Advancement of 

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American Institute of Biological Sciences. 1972. 

The AIBS Story. Washington, D.C. 

American Institute of Biological Sciences. 1979.  

35th Annual Meeting Program. Washington, D.C. 

pp 29, 83-85. 

American Institute of Biological Sciences. 1982. 

28th Annual Meeting Program. Washington, D.C.

American Institute of Biological Sciences. 1983. 

29th Annual Meeting Program. Washington, D.C.

American Institute of Biological Sciences. 1984. 

30th Annual Meeting Program. Washington, D.C.

American Institute of Biological Sciences. 1995. 

46th Annual Meeting Program. Washington, D.C. 

Anonymous. 1982. Teaching Section exchanges 

continue. Plant Science Bulletin 28: 43.

Anonymous. 1983. Teaching Section slide ex-

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Anonymous. 1984. Plant Science Bulletin 30.

Anonymous. 1985. Teaching Section information. 

Plant Science Bulletin 31: 39.

Bessey Award. 1988.  Proposed Amendments, 

Teaching Section By-Laws, August, 1988, p. 2.

Botanical Society of America. 1995. Botany for 

the next millennium: A report from the Botanical 

Society of America. Columbus, OH.

Coalition for Education in the Life Sciences. 

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Scholar: Promoting Scholarship and Learning in 

the Life Sciences. CELS, Madison, WI.

Coalition for Education in the Life Sciences. 

1998b. Towards Literacy in Plant Biology. CELS, 

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of the Commission. CUEBS News 1: 1.

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Biological Sciences. 1972. CUEBS, 1963-1972: 

its history and final report. CUEBS News 8: (Final 

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Dahl, William. 2004. Report to the BSA Educa-

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DiSelvestro, Roger L. 1997. The first half centu-

ry: a history of AIBS. BioScience 47: 643-649.

Eshbaugh, W. Hardy and Thomas K. Wilson. 

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Eshbaugh, W. Hardy. 1983. Plant biology in the 

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Haufler, Christopher H. 2010. Good Green Teach-

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Haufler,  Christopher  H.  and  Marshall  D.  Sund-

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Heimsch, Charles. 1973. Teaching and Introduc-

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H. Haufler, and Carol L. Stuessy. 2011. Building 

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search Methods in Plant Science. Natural History 

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tion. 1983. A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for 

Educational Reform. Washington, D.C.

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Postlethwait, S.N. and N. Jean Enochs. 1967. 

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1976. Biology of Plants, ed 2. Worth Publishing, 

Inc., New York.

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in a unified science of biology. BioScience 17: 83-


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Steward, F. C. 1967. Botany in the biology curric-

ulum. BioScience 17: 88-91.

Stuessy, Carol, Carol Peterson, Lynn Ruebush, 

and Claire A. Hemingway. 2012. There’s more to 

IT than pre-post gains: Outcomes in inquiry-based 

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St. Louis, MO: Botanical Society of America.

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By Catrina Adams,  

Education Director

BSA Science Education News and Notes is 

a quarterly update about the BSA’s educa-

tion efforts and the broader education scene. 

We invite you to submit news items or ideas 

for future features. Contact Catrina Adams, 

Education Director, at

The new website, now 

based on the HubZero scientific collaboration 

platform, is launching this fall. The website has 

been completely redesigned to take advantage 

of the new platform’s community features and 

resource sharing capabilities. 

We have a full cohort of teachers signed up to 

work with PlantingScience modules this fall. 

Our Digging Deeper teachers will be partici-

pating with their students using a new version 

of our Power of Sunlight photosynthesis and 

respiration investigation theme.  Altogether 

we are expecting 65 teachers and several thou-

sand students to be online this fall. This is the 

largest session we have hosted in our 11-year 


PlantingScience Launches  

New Website,  

Needs Volunteer Scientist Mentors!

To meet the increased demand for mentors, 

we need your help (Figure 1). Please consider 

signing up on the website to mentor a team 

or two this fall! It takes just an hour or so per 

week, and you can mentor from anywhere 

with an internet connection. If you already 

mentor, do you know colleagues who might 

be able to help? Please help us spread the word 

about this easy way to share your passion for 

plant sciences with the next generation. 

Figure 1. PlantingScience seeking 100 new sci-

entist mentors.

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


Science Education

Once again, we will have the help of a selected 

cohort of early career scientists who will serve 

as Master Plant Science Team members, help-

ing our teachers to work with other scientists 

and keeping the team conversations going 

strong.  Congratulations to the 2016-2017 

Master Plant Science Team: Jesse Adams, 

Kara Baldwin, Katie Becklin, Amanda Beno-

it, Matthew Bond, Riva Bruenn, Sally Marie 

Chambers, Victory Coffey, Lia Corbett, Tay-

lor Crow, Derek Denney, Jessa Finch, Kelsey 

Fisher, Diana Gamba, Robert Harbert, Ju-

lia Gardener Harencar, Irene Liao, Elizabeth 

Marcella Lombardi, Wendy McBride, Christi-

na L. McClung, Nora Mitchell, Juliet Oshiro, 

Agnesa Redere, Carrie Malina Tribble, Joshua 

P. Vandenbrink, Daniel Winkler, Heidi Wipf, 

Brett Younginger, and Justin Zweck. 

Digging Deeper  

Professional Development 

Workshops Challenge 

PlantingScience Teachers 

and Early Career Scientists, 

Create Deeper  


The BSA, Biological Sciences Curriculum 

Study (BSCS), and the American Society of 

Plant Biologists (ASPT) teamed together this 

summer to create a professional development 

workshop for a cohort of 50+ science teachers 

and early career scientists (Fig. 2). Together, 

teachers and scientists strategized about how 

to use the PlantingScience online mentoring 

Figure 2

. Collage of pictures of teachers and early career scientists working together at the Digging 

Deeper Professional Development workshop held in Colorado Springs in June and July.

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


Science Education

program to engage high school students and 

jointly support students in doing real science 

With chart paper, sticky notes, algae balls, 

aquatic plants, leaf disks, and laptops cov-

ering every available surface, mentors and 

teachers connected over teaching techniques 

and photosynthesis investigations. Using the 

“Power of Sunlight” module as a jumping 

point, teachers worked as students through 

the revised module and practiced using the 

new PlantingScience website, which provides 

new tools for bringing teachers, scientists, 

and students together. Teachers and scientists 

learned new teaching techniques, such as sev-

eral of the BSCS STeLLA Strategies (Science 

Teachers Learning through Lesson Analysis). 

They will use these new strategies while teach-

ing science in the classroom, especially some 

of the challenging concepts of photosynthe-

sis. Mentors and teachers both thoroughly 

enjoyed the professional development train-

ing and are excited to implement their newly 

learned strategies online and in the classroom 

this fall.

Botany Booth in a Box 

Competition Entertains and 

Inspires Botany 2016  


The first Botany in a Box Outreach competi-

tion was held during the opening reception at 

Botany 2016 in Savannah, GA (Figure 3). Nine 

booths were arrayed at the far end of the ex-

hibit hall, and competitors shared everything 

from giant posterboard cell diagrams for tak-

ing “Cellfies” to microscopic cattail pollen for 

a Citizen Science Cattail Monitoring project. 

Botany attendees flocked around the tables, 

learning more about the outreach efforts of 

BSA members and voting for their favorite 

booth activities. It was a mad rush at the end 

of the evening to get all the ballots collected 

and counted before announcing the winners 

at the end of the reception. 
The overall top prize went to Jessica Stephens 

and Chelsea Cunard for the booth “Oddities 

of Botany: Using Carnivorous Plants to Ex-

plain Diversity,” and the student prize went to 

Jennifer Blake Mahmud for the booth “Seeds, 

Seeds Everywhere! Seed Dispersal of Wild and 

Weedy Plants.” Thanks to all our competitors 

for sharing their outreach ideas (Figure 4)!

Figure 3. Botany Booth in a Box Bal-

lot with contestants and entries listed.

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


Botany Booth in a Box Lending Program  

Coming Soon

Winning projects will be coming to the digital library, and we are working on 

putting together boxes based on the winning entries that will be available for BSA members to 

“check out” for local outreach events. More information about these boxes and about how the 

loan program will work will be coming in a future PSB and via membership e-mails. 

Figure 4. Collage of several of the Botany Booth in a Box entries, with competition winners  

Jessica Stephens and Chelsea Cunard (at center).

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By Becky Povilus and James McDaniel 

BSA Student Representatives

Each year, the Executive Board of the Botan-

ical Society of America holds an election to 

replace the board members whose terms have 

come to an end. This always includes one of 

the student representative positions, as each 

of the two student reps serves a two-year 

term. The student representative position was 

first created in 2006 as a way to engage student 

members of BSA in the governance of the so-

ciety, meaning that this year we can celebrate 

10 years of BSA student reps! To celebrate our 

11th elected representative, James McDaniel 

of University of Wisconsin-Madison, current 

student rep Becky Povilus and outgoing stu-

dent rep Angela McDonnell  welcomed him 

to the board with this interview. 

10 Years of Student Reps, and  

10 Questions Featuring BSA’s  

New Student Representative to the 

BSA Board, James McDaniel 

If you or a student you know are interested in 

serving on the board in the future, read on un-

til the end for more information.
Becky and Angela: When did you join BSA 

and what motivated you to do so? 
James McDaniel:
  In the summer of 2011, I 

joined the Botanical Society of America as an 

undergraduate at Lynchburg College (Lynch-

burg, Virginia). As a recipient of the PLANTS 

grant, BSA provided me with the opportunity 

to attend the National Botany Conference (St. 

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Louis, Missouri) as an undergraduate mentee. 

Graciously, BSA also provided me (along with 

the other undergraduate mentees) with a five-

year membership to the society as a PLANTS 

grant recipient. 
What motivated you to run for the position 

of Student Representative to the Board of 

I was motived to run for the position of Stu-

dent Representative to the Board of Directors 

by many of the past Student Representatives 

who were actively involved during their ten-

ure. At first, I was hesitant to run for the po-

sition, but then I began to think about the 

possible influence I could have as a student 

on decision making regarding the future of 

BSA as well as botany. When I started think-

ing about all of these scenarios, I knew that I 

had to run for the position with the hope that 

I would have a chance to make an impact—

whether big or small. 
What is your favorite thing about BSA so far?
My favorite thing about BSA has and always 

will be its push for diversity in the biological 

sciences (specifically botany). Although there 

has been a glaring discrepancy in terms of 

gender, race, and ethnicity in the biological 

sciences, BSA as well as other botanical societ-

ies have taken a strong stance towards shrink-

ing the gap. 
What is your research about?
I study a group of Neotropical orchids from 

the genus Porroglossum. Porroglossum is com-

posed of 53 described species, most of them 

endemic to Ecuador, that are distributed 

throughout the Andean cloud forests of South 

America. These small plants from the orchid 

subtribe Pleurothallidinae are remarkable be-

cause physical stimulation of the flower’s la-

bellum (lip) causes it to actively snap inward, 

thrusting pollinators against the column. My 

research is focused on the evolutionary histo-

ry of this group as well as learning more about 

the fast-action snap trap and how it varies 

among species in the genus. 
Why did you choose to attend graduate school 

at the University of Wisconsin-Madison?
I chose to attend graduate school at the 

UW-Madison for multiple reasons. UW-Mad-

ison is one of the few schools left in the United 

States that still has an actual Botany depart-

ment, which was extremely important to me. 

Also, as an undergraduate, I realized that I 

wanted to pursue a career in orchid systemat-

ics, which led me to work with Ken Cameron, 

who is one of the world’s leading experts in the 

field of orchid systematics. Lastly, I knew that 

the sheer abundance of resources available for 

scientists at UW-Madison would make my life 

easier as a graduate student because I would 

not have to rely on companies outside of 

UW-Madison to utilize modern technology.
What sorts of experiences have you had that 

helped to guide you to the path of your cur-

rent research interests?
As an undergraduate, I had many experiences 

that helped guide me to becoming a graduate 

student in botany. In particular, my under-

graduate advisor at Lynchburg College, Nancy 

Cowden, helped pave the way for my success 

by taking me on field excursions to collect flo-

ral fragrance from orchids as well as roses. At 

first, I was hesitant because I did not have any 

desire to venture out into the field, but I quick-

ly fell in love with the outdoors, plants, and 

the experimental design that we were utilizing 

to analyze fragrance.
What has been the most challenging part of 

your research?
As a graduate student, I have been very for-

tunate because I started my journey during 

a time period where technology and instru-

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PSB 62 (3) 2016      

 Student Section


ments for scientific studies are rapidly im-

proving everyday. However, this has also 

come at a price because many of the programs 

that I utilize to process data require extensive 

knowledge about programming languages. By 

far, the most challenging part of my research 

has been learning these languages. 
What has been the most rewarding part of 

your research?
The most rewarding part of my research ex-

perience has been traveling internationally. 

In the summer of 2014 and 2015, I was able 

to travel to the orchid nursery Ecuagenera 

(Gualaceo, Ecuador) and conduct research 

in their greenhouses. While I was there, I was 

also given the opportunity to participate in 

field excursions, including a trip to the 



 in the Andes where we were able to find 

extremely rare orchids and bring them back to 

Ecuagenera for cultivation.
Is there anything you know now about being 

a graduate student that you wish you would 

have known as an undergraduate student?
As an undergraduate student, I wish I had 

known about the tremendous amount of 

stress that comes with being a graduate stu-

dent. More importantly, I wish I had known 

that this stress is often alleviated when re-

search projects come together. Ultimately, if I 

had another chance, I would have found bet-

ter ways to manage the stress that comes with 

being a graduate student.
What sorts of hobbies do you have?
Although I have many hobbies, I will only 

name a few to keep this brief. For starters, I en-

joy hiking/walking with my Shiba Inu named 

Nugget. Also, I have a healthy addiction to 

watching sports (particularly college football 

and the NFL) on the weekends. Lastly, I enjoy 

learning new information whether it is related 

to my area of expertise as a botanist or not. 

Connect with BSA, become 

a student rep!

If you are interested in nominating a student 

to become the next student representative, or 

if you’re a student interested in serving on the 

Board, be sure to look out for the call for nom-

inations in your email from BSA each spring. 

It’s a great opportunity to learn about the soci-

ety and to gain a variety of experiences. Duties 

for the position typically include organizing 

student-oriented events at the annual meeting, 

writing articles for the Plant Science Bulletin, 

and attending two yearly board meetings, one 

of which happens at the annual meeting. If 

you have any questions about the position, 

feel free to contact the student representa-

tives—Becky Povilus at rpovilus@fas.harvard.

edu and James McDaniel at jlmcdaniel@wisc.

edu—any time. We’re always open to hearing 

your ideas or answering questions! You can 

also connect with us on our Facebook group 

page by searching for Students of the Botani-

cal Society of America.  

Quick notes on the  

Botany 2016 conference

We also would like to extend a “thanks!” to 

everyone who attended the annual Botany 

2016 meeting in Savannah, Georgia. From the 

student side of things, it was filled with great 

workshops, mixers, and of course talks (and 

so many of those were given by students—it is 

wonderful to have so much student participa-

tion at the conferences!).
This year was our largest “Careers in Botany” 

Student Luncheon yet! We had a truly ex-

cellent presentation from Dr. Pamela Diggle 

about how we can use the skills that we are 

learning now, no matter what we end up doing 

with our degrees, followed by discussions with 

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PSB 62 (3) 2016      

 Student Section


panelists from a broad range of botanically or 

scientifically oriented careers. The panelists 

really enjoyed talking with the students who 

attended, and we already have some lined up 

for the luncheon next year.
We also had a wonderfully useful workshop 

on “elevator speeches”—how to introduce 

yourself and your science. After hearing Dr. 

Doug Soltis present his invaluable thoughts 

and experiences on getting people interested 

in what you do, we all got to practice intro-




60 years ago:  “A significant fact about our meetings this year is that the problems of teaching have 

such an important place on the program. Not only the AIBS but the AAAS, the NAS, the NRC, the 

NSF and various other alphabetical agencies are now concerning themselves with the problems of 

science teaching. This matter has lately assumed national importance because of the growing deficit 

of men and women trained in the sciences.

"As botanists we are particularly interested in the teaching of our own science, and our concern with 

it is shown by the establishment of a section in our society to serve as a center for the discussion of 

teaching problems. Fifty years ago such concern was much less evident. Botany had only recently 

become a science in the modern sense, and botanists devoted their meetings almost wholly to reports 

of research. Formal recognition of teaching problems was rare. Many of the best botanists of early 

days, however, such as Asa Gray, C. E. Bessey, W. J. Beal and L. H. Bailey were good teachers and gave 

much attention to their students.”

 - Sinnott, Edmund W.  Fifty Years of Botanical Teaching. PSB 2(4): 3-4

50 years ago:  “As scientists we have the obligation to extend our enquiries beyond our own little bai-

liwick, even if at a more superficial level. We must train ourselves to think beyond the DNA molecule, 

the chloroplast, the species, in relating plants to the past, to the present welfare of man, and to our 

hopes for the future. In addition, it is incumbent upon us to teach not only our students, but also our 

fellow-citizens and our politicians of these relationships.”

- Sharp, A. J.  The Botanist as Scientist and Citizen.


PSB 12(4): 1-3.

ducing ourselves one-on-one. Overall, this 

was useful skill to learn at the beginning of the 

And of course, we loved getting to meet all of 

you at the student mixer, at the Moon-River 

Brewing Company. We are look forward to 

seeing you all again, or getting to meet you for 

the first time, at next Botany meeting in 2017 

in Fort Worth, Texas, June 24-28!

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New Book Announcement 

from CABI:  

“Plant Biodiversity: Monitor-

ing, Assessment and  


Plants are important components to the eco-

system. They are the base of the food chain 

and play a significant role in energy flow and 

biogeochemical cycling of nutrients between 

terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. They must 

constantly fight against the environmen-

tal modifications, however, that threaten to 

cause global species extinction and habitat 

destruction. A new multidisciplinary science 

has evolved to deal with the crises confront-

ing biological diversity. It has two goals: first, 

to investigate human impacts on biological 

diversity and second, to develop practical ap-

proaches to prevent extinction of species. 
This new book, “Plant Biodiversity: Monitor-

ing, Assessment and Conservation,” set for a 

November 2016 release, is a practical update 

on our knowledge on monitoring, assess-

ment and conservation of plant biodiversity 

in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and re-

lated fields. It includes a general overview of 

plant biodiversity and investigates a wealth 

of factors affecting and hindering plant bio-

diversity before exploring in depth methods 

of monitoring, assessing, and conserving our 

plant species. Globally relevant, this book is 

a valuable resource for all researchers, pro-

fessionals and students of botany and plant 

biodiversity studies. For more informa-

tion, go to


Harvard University Bullard 

Fellowships in  

Forest Research 

Harvard University annually awards a limited 

number of Bullard Fellowships to individuals 

in biological, social, physical, and political sci-

ences and the arts to promote advanced study 

or the integration of subjects pertaining to for-

ested ecosystems. The program seeks to allow 

mid-career individuals to develop their own 

scientific and professional growth by utilizing 

the resources and interacting with personnel 

in any department within Harvard University. 

In recent years Bullard Fellows have been as-

sociated with the Harvard Forest, Department 

of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and 

the J. F. Kennedy School of Government and 

have worked in areas of ecology, forest man-

agement, policy, and conservation. Stipends 

up to $60,000 are available for periods rang-

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


ing from six months to one year and are not 

intended for travel, graduate students, or re-

cent post-doctoral candidates. Applications 

from international scientists, women, and mi-

norities are encouraged. Additional informa-

tion is available on the Harvard Forest website 

( Annu-

al deadline for applications is February 1. 

Hunt Institute Director  

Robert W. Kiger Retires,  

T. D. Jacobsen Becomes 


Pittsburgh, PA—After directing the Hunt In-

stitute for 39 years, Robert W. Kiger has re-

tired. Effective 1 July, 2016, Assistant Direc-

tor T. D. Jacobsen became the fourth director 

since the Institute was dedicated in 1961 un-

der the leadership of George H. M. Lawrence 

(1910–1978; founding director, 1960–1970).
Robert W. Kiger received his B.A. in Spanish 

from Tulane University and his M.A. in his-

tory of science and Ph.D. in systematic bot-

any from the University of Maryland. Prior 

to joining the Institute as assistant director in 

1974, he was research botanist and associate 

editor with the original Flora North America 

Program in the Department of Botany at the 

Smithsonian Institution. He became director 

and principal research scientist at the Hunt 

Institute in 1977, succeeding Gilbert S. Dan-

iels (assistant director, 1967–1970; director, 

1970–1977). Kiger’s main research interests 

include: vascular plant taxonomy, especially 

of Flacourtiaceae, Talinum (fameflowers, Por-

tulacaceae), and Papaver (poppies, Papavera-

ceae); floristics, especially of North America; 

evolutionary theory in relation to systematic 

principles and practice; botanical bibliogra-

phy; and morphological terminology. As di-

rector and principal research scientist, emer-

itus, Kiger will continue his research projects 

and his work with the Flora of North America 

project, where he serves as a member of the 

Editorial Committee, the bibliographic editor, 

and a taxonomic editor.
T. D. Jacobsen received his B.S. in biology 

from the College of Idaho and his M.S. and 

Ph.D. in systematic botany from Washington 

State University. He joined the Hunt Institute 

staff in 1979 and has been assistant director 

and principal research scientist since 1980. 

His main research interests include vascular 

taxonomy, especially of Allium (onion, Lil-

iaceae) in North America, and toxic plants 

and fungi. For the FNA project, he and Dale 

McNeal, a colleague at the University of the 

Pacific, prepared the treatment of Allium (on-

ions and their relatives), the native species of 

which are widely distributed throughout the 

continent; there are approximately 90 species 

and varieties in the flora area. Additionally, 

Jacobsen prepared the treatment for Notho-

scordum (relative of onions, Liliaceae). An 

application for online identification of more 

than 325 native and exotic vascular plant gen-

era found in North America was developed by 

Jacobsen, Kiger, F. H. Utech, D. M. Kiger, and 

E. R. Smith in conjunction with the Pittsburgh 

Poison Center. To aid identification, they pro-

duced a directory that contained represen-

tative illustrations of all the genera found in 

the program. Jacobsen collaborated with Dr. 

Edward P. Krenzelok, who was director of the 

Pittsburgh Poison Center, in the systematic 

investigation of pediatric plant poisoning. The 

project involved the statistical analysis of the 

clinical data on plant poisonings recorded by 

the American Association of Poison Control 

Centers Toxic Exposure Surveillance System 


About the Institute

The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, a 

research division of Carnegie Mellon University, spe-

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cializes in the history of botany and all aspects of plant 

science and serves the international scientific commu-

nity through research and documentation. To this end, 

the Institute acquires and maintains authoritative col-

lections of books, plant images, manuscripts, portraits 

and data files, and provides publications and other 

modes of information service. The Institute meets the 

reference needs of botanists, biologists, historians, con-

servationists, librarians, bibliographers and the public 

at large, especially those concerned with any aspect of 

the North American flora.

The New York Botanical 

Garden and the Chrysler 

Herbarium Provide  

Resources for Research  

on Ericaceae 

The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) and 

the Chrysler Herbarium (CHRB) of Rutgers, 

the State University of New Jersey, announced 

the completion of a project that integrates 

their recourses for biodiversity research on 

Ericaceae. The NYBG has a long history of 

systematic research on Ericaceae and Rutgers 

has long-term floristic and ecological investi-

gations in the region, where the family is an 

important component of the Pine Barrens. 

Resources include herbarium specimens from 

NYBG and CHRB, specimen and live plant 

images, and laboratory samples and prepara-

tions housed at NYBG. A large number of the 

latter were donated by Barbara Palser when 

she retired from Rutgers after a long career 

investigating plant anatomy, especially of Er-

icaceae. (Palser is well known to many in the 

Botanical Society of America and served as its 

president [1976].) The samples she amassed, 

collected from throughout the world in col-

laboration with 100 collaborators, augment 

the neotropical emphasis of those made by 

NYBG researchers and students, particularly 

James L. Luteyn, Bassett Maguire, Paola Pe-

draza-Peñalosa, and Nelson R. Salinas. Labo-

ratory samples include fluid-preserved, dried 

wood, tissues preserved to extract DNA, ge-

nomic DNA, seeds for identification, leaf 

clearings, and microscope slide and other 

Funded by NSF (CSBR: 1203278), the project 

databased and imaged all CHRB specimens 

of Ericaceae and those at NYBG that voucher 

laboratory collections. Other Laboratory col-

lections were databased, and some (e.g., leaf 

clearings) were imaged. The fluid-preserved 

samples were transferred to glass jars with 

polyethylene foam-lined lids and organized 

into a single taxonomic sequence in plastic 

boxes for efficient storage. The Mertz Library 

and living collections at NYBG, and Rutgers’s 

Philip E. Marucci Center for Blueberry and 

Cranberry Research complement these inte-

grated resources. A web portal will soon be 

available (

projects/ericaceae) for use as a research tool 

and to search the collections, herbarium spec-

imen and laboratory sample images, live plant 

images, taxonomy and distributions of taxa 

of Ericaceae, species descriptions from Flora 

Neotropica digitized for the World Flora On-

line project, and NYBG’s living collection of 

the family. 
For information contact: Dr. Lisa M. Camp-

bell ( or Dr. 

Lena Struwe (

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Alfred Traverse  


With the death of Professor Al Traverse on 

September 15, 2015, the science of palynol-

ogy lost what many of us would regard as 

the single most productive and influential of 

contemporary workers in this field.  The top-

ics of his 200+ research papers range from 

acritarchs of the Pre-Cambrian to angiosperm 

pollen from the Tertiary, together with papers 

dealing with process and ecology in palae-

opalynology, with problems of nomenclature, 

and a range of other papers relating to broad-

er issues of plant evolution. Undoubtedly his 

most important publication was his great 

book,  Paleopalynology, of which the second 

edition was published eight years ago. As he 

said himself, “It offered most of the informa-

tion necessary to teach a good course in paly-

nology, and as a handy, one-volume reference 

to palynological subjects.” This 600-page book 

formed the core of a course that he ran from 

1966 until the year after he retired, and un-

doubtedly played a similar role in the hands 

of many other teachers of palaeopalynology in 

universities in other parts of the world. 
Alfred Traverse was born on September 7 in 

Prince Edward Island, Canada, son of an An-

glican priest, the Rev. Freeman Traverse, and 

Pearle Traverse, dietician and school-teacher. 

In 1928 the family moved to Allegan, Mich-

igan, and later Al became a naturalized U.S. 

citizen. He went to public schools in St. Jo-

seph, Michigan, graduating from high school 

in 1943 as valedictorian of his class. He was 

awarded a freshman scholarship at Harvard, 

where he majored in biology and graduated 

magna cum laude in 1946. His honours the-

In Memoriam

sis dealt with a problem in corn genetics.  On 

graduation Traverse won a fellowship to study 

in England, and spent 1946-47 at Kings Col-

lege Cambridge, studying palaeobotany in 

the Cambridge Botany School. He returned 

to Harvard in 1947 with an Anna C. Ames 

scholarship and was awarded a Master’s in 

palaeobotany in 1948.  Then coming under 

the influence of his supervisor Elso Barghoo-

rn, he embarked on palynological research in 

the Tertiary Brandon Lignite of Vermont, on 

which he published a very seminal paper in 

1951. In that same year he married Betty Ins-

ley (a Harvard Botany graduate) and was hired 

by the U.S. Bureau of Mines (USBM) to work 

on the Tertiary lignite in Grand Forks, North 

Dakota. During his period in North Dakota 

he stopped by in the autumn of 1953 at Ann 

Arbor, Michigan, to meet Chester Arnold, one 

of the leading palaeobotanists of that time.  I 

was working with Arnold on Carboniferous 

megaspores, and the three of us went out on a 

collecting trip to a very productive Pennsylva-

nian quarry near Ann Arbor.  Our meeting on 

that occasion started a friendship with Al that 

lasted some 60 years.
In 1955 the USBM transferred Al to Denver to 

head the coal microscopy lab, but very shortly 

after that he accepted an offer from Shell to set 

up a palynology lab in Houston, Texas.  This 

led to his travelling to Shell’s headquarters in 

The Hague, Netherlands, where he spent four 

months studying their palynological tech-

niques. On his return, Al and his family set-

tled in Houston where he held that position 

until 1962.  His research with Shell included 

the study of the palynology in the present-day 

sedimentation off the Gulf Coast.  But in 1962 

he resigned from Shell and enrolled in the 

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Episcopal Theological Seminary in Austin, 

Texas (to the more-than-slight surprise of con-

temporary palynologists!).  He was awarded a 

Master of Divinity in 1965 and was ordained 

deacon in the Episcopal Church, which he 

combined with acting as Visiting Lecturer in 

Geology in the University of Texas.
But in 1966 Al returned to academic palynol-

ogy, accepting the position of Associate Pro-

fessor of Geology in Penn State University, 

and in 1970 became Professor of Palynology.  

Concurrently, he held positions as priest and 

vicar in several Episcopal churches in Pennsyl-

vania.  One of the more memorable episodes 

in his time at Penn State was in being invited 

to serve as on-board scientist on the Deep Sea 

Drilling Project’s Glomar Challenger expedi-

tion to the Black Sea in 1975.  Later in his life 

he always enjoyed conjuring up some of the 

results of that expedition to support his argu-

ment in whatever controversy he was engaged 

in.  One of the results of that expedition for Al 

was the contact that he made with Prof. K.J. 

Hsii, who had been its chief scientist, for an 

invitation to be Visiting Professor at the Swiss 

Federal Technical Institute in Zurich 1980-81 

ensued, and he and Betty spent a year’s sab-

batical there.  Some ten years later, Al and 

Betty returned to Europe when he took up a 

Senior Fulbright Research Professorship at 

the Senckenberg Natural History Museum, 

Frankfurt.  During his time at Penn State Al 

also played an important role in the (joint) 

publication of the Catalogue of Fossil Spores 

and Pollen, which was published out of Spack-

man’s department.  Gustav Kremp had played 

a key role in getting that catalogue underway 

together with Tate Ames, when he first joined 

Penn State, and Al joined that team to publish 

with them, and subsequently with Spackman 

and with Ames alone (see the full list of parts 

of the Catalogue in the AASP list of Traverse’s 


During his time in Zurich he had his last for-

mal connection with the Episcopal Church, 

serving as assistant priest in a parish of the 

Old Catholic Church (which had close affilia-

tion with the Anglican Church).  For on their 

return to Penn State, he came to feel that he 

might be better categorised as a humanist, but 

without rejecting his religious past.  Nonethe-

less, he continued to serve in a religious role at 

a number of minor local functions.  He ran his 

course in palynology in Penn State from 1966 

until 1996.  In the previous year he had been 

made Professor Emeritus, a position he held 

for the remainder of his life.
Al and Betty had four children; the first two, 

John and Celia, were born in Houston, Tex-

as during Al’s phase with Shell, with Paul and 

Martha following later. Two of these four 

made successful careers in the medical world.  

At the time of Al’s death, he and Betty had sev-

en grandchildren, one great-grandchild, two 

step-grandchildren and two step-great-grand-

children.  Though somewhat dispersed, they 

had many occasions when a large part of this 

family was able to get together!
Al’s contribution to palynology went far be-

yond his research and his publications.  He 

was an enthusiastic and very active member 

of the several national and international or-

ganisations associated with the growth of pa-

laeopalynology over the last 50 years.  Most 

particularly he was a founding member of 

the American Association of Stratigraph-

ic Palynology (now the Palynological Soci-

ety) of which he was Secretary-Treasurer in 

the 1960s and President in the 1970s. Later, 

he was awarded the Medal for Excellence in 

Education of that body, and for a time was 

their archivist.  He was Secretary-Treasurer 

and (twice) Chairman of the Palaeobotani-

cal Section of the BSA.  On the international 

stage, he was for many years Secretary of the 

International Association for Plant Taxono-

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


my’s (IAPT) Committee for Fossil Plants.  He 

was also a Fellow of the Geological Society of 

America, and a member of many other scien-

tific societies.
Al was always very open about changing his 

mind—a process he was driven to several 

times in his life-long involvement with fos-

sil plant nomenclature and taxonomy.  As a 

member of the IAPT Fossil Plant Committee 

for many years, Al always enjoyed debating 

the oftenconvoluted issues associated with 

fossil plant nomenclature—both verbally at 

Congresses, and in a number of publications.  
One of the several areas of nomenclatural 

controversy to which Al made a significant 

contribution was the use of modern generic 

names for Tertiary angiosperm pollen. This 

arose at an early stage in his career from his 

attributing several of the pollen types in the 

Brandon lignite (Traverse, 1955), such his 

Nyssa, to extant genera.  But as he wrote many 

years later (Traverse, 2008), “For years I felt 

that where the generic reference is absolutely 

clear there is no reason at all to avoid the ex-

tant generic name. However, after decades of 

thinking about the matter, I have now changed 

my mind, and now feel that pre-Pleistocene 

palynomorphs should be referred to morpho-

taxa (morphogenera, morphospecies) such 

as  Nyssapollenites, not Nyssa, even though, 

for example, association with other organs 

makes it clear that Nyssa pollen in the Bran-

don Lignite described by me (Traverse, 1955) 

was produced by plants that probably were 

congeneric with the extant genus Nyssa.” So 

although he withdrew from his original stand, 

he characteristically showed that he really felt 

that the basis for it had been perfectly valid!
Another related debate that he enjoyed in-

volved the term morphotaxon. That desig-

nation, applicable to fossil taxa in the Vien-

na Code, was taken out of the International 

Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and 

plants (previously the International Code of 

Botanical Nomenclature [ICBN]), following 

the Melbourne International Botanical Con-

gress of July 2011.  Writing as a member of 

the Fossil Plant Committee, commenting on 

the proposal that led to its removal, he wrote, 

“The elimination of morphotaxon… seems to 

me questionable.  At least, the subject needs 

more thinking about various ramifications.  

Let’s take paleopalynology as an example. 

Aquilapollenites is a generic name for a kind 

of (mostly) Cretaceous angiosperm pollen 

grains.  In no way could such a generic name 

(and there are several thousand of them) be 

applied to anything other than dispersed pol-

len grains.  If they are found in the anthers of a 

megafossil flower, called say Stupidoflora, they 

would be the ‘pollen of Stupidoflora’ with a 

note that the pollen, if found dispersed, would 

be Aquilapollenites.  The latter is a morphotax-

on name by definition of the ICBN and could 

not become the name of a flower or of a plant” 

(email Sept. 20, 2010).  But despite Al’s plea, 

the term morphotaxon has vanished from the 

present Code.
Some of Al’s contemporaries have suggested 

that he took life too seriously and was lacking 

in a well-tuned sense of humour.  I never felt 

this, but rather that we were tuned to the same 

wavelength. Once while we were driving to a 

Silurian palynological collecting site in Penn-

sylvania, he needed some guidance on finding 

the location.  He cheerfully reached for a road 

map in the back of the car (in those happy, 

pre-Sat Nav days) and slung it across his lap 

below the steering wheel, and began to peruse 

the map while driving, occasionally glancing 

up at the road traffic.  After some minutes of 

this, and several near misses, I snatched the 

map from his lap and said, “I’ll read the map, 

you drive!” 

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He took this in good humour, and roared with 

laughter, explaining that he often did this, and 

also “on open interstates with little traffic I 

also peel oranges and bananas while simulta-

neously studying language cards.”  He added 

that Betty’s reaction to the map-reading had 

been similar to mine, but she had never actu-

ally snatched the map away.  
A more recent illustration of his cheery accep-

tance of the results of surviving into one’s late 

80s is his aside in the course of an email in 

2012.  “I am now ‘four score and seven years’ 

as in the Gettysburg address. That made me 

think of the fact that from Lincoln’s assassi-

nation in April 1865 to the birth of our son, 

Paul, was exactly 87 years—man that is a 

LONG time and I must be OLD.” He went on 

to remark that “since 70 years ago I have been 

a skilled touch typist—no more.  I hit 30% 

wrong keys.  I am doing this with one finger.” 
Despite his international standing as a pa-

laeopalynologist, Al was always at heart a 

botanist, and one who enjoyed “country life.”  

When he and Betty acquired their rural estate 

outside Penn State, he named it the “Alphabet 

Arboretum,” with good cause, as it was wood-

ed land of some diversity of content.  But of 

course the label appealed to him in combining 

his and Betty’s names—a point he always liked 

to make!  Although his work gave him little 

time for it, he greatly enjoyed the rural activi-

ties such as felling timber and cutting logs for 

fuel.  But his real commitment as a botanist 

came when, after his formal retirement, he 

took on the assignment of Voluntary Cura-

tor of the Penn State University’s Herbarium, 

from 2007 until 2015.  This had great histor-

ical significance for the University, as it was 

initiated by its first President, Dr. Evan Pugh, 

who acquired much of the original material in 

Germany, where he was living in Gottingen 

and elsewhere at the time. Significantly, Pugh 

believed the herbarium was an important base 

for teaching and research in what had been 

the “Farmers High School” and renamed by 

Pugh, “Pennsylvania College of Agriculture.”  

Pugh added the specimens of his own her-

barium—of some 5000 items—to the collec-

tion.  In the retirement years that he devoted 

to rearranging and updating that herbarium, 

and incorporating his and other material into 

the original collection, the number of speci-

mens rose from 95,000 to 107,000.  No small 

achievement “in retirement”!

-By Prof. William Chaloner

Literature Cited  

The Home Page of the American Association 

of Stratigraphic Palynologists gives access to a 

“Biographical Sketch” of Dr. Alfred Traverse, 

and lists all of his major accomplishments and 

publications.  This source has been used freely 

in compiling this brief obituary.

Anonymous. 2015. Alfred Traverse: Obituary. 

Centre Daily Times, Sept. 20, 2015, State Col-

lege, Pennsylvania.  

Traverse, A. 1955. Pollen analysis of the Brandon 

Lignite of Vermont.  U.S. Bureau of Mines Report 

of Investigations 5151: 108 pp.

Traverse, A. 2007. Paleopalynology (ed 2). 

Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, xviii + 813 



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William D. Tidwell 


William D. Tidwell died in September, 2015. 

Known to friends and colleagues as Don, 

he contributed to paleobotany through his 

teaching, research, and popular writing. He 

was born in June 1932 to John Leslie Tidwell 

and Ida Geraldine Carson Tidwell in Nampa, 

Idaho. He served in the U.S. Army during the 

Korean conflict at Fort Ord, California. His 

love of nature was evident early in his career 

while he served in the National Park Service 

as ranger/naturalist at Yosemite, Olympic Na-

tional Park, Lake Mead National Recreation 

Area, and Blue Ridge Parkway.
Don received his MS degree from Brigham 

Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah 

(1962), and earned his PhD in Geology ad-

vised by Aureal Cross at Michigan State Uni-

versity (1966). He helped to establish their 

Department of Geology at Eastern Wash-

ington State College, Cheney. Soon after, he 

joined the faculty of the Botany Department 

at Brigham Young University in 1967.  



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Don received tenure and spent the remainder 

of his career at BYU. This university is known 

for its traditional Mormon religious roots, but 

Don explained to me that the church position 

on evolution was one of endorsing the need 

to investigate thoroughly all lines of evidence. 

He interpreted this as a directive to expand 

our knowledge of plant evolution. Don trav-

eled extensively collecting fossil plants and 

named many new taxa. He enjoyed taking 

his students and his children on field trips, 

exploring, and collecting fossil plants all over 

the western United States, often driving and 

overnighting in his camper truck fitted with 

on-board kitchen and sleeping quarters. He 

was a regular participant in Botanical Society 

of America and International Organization of 

Paleobotany meetings and field trips, known 

for his friendly demeanor and unique sense of 

humor. He served as Chair of the Paleobotan-

ical Section of the BSA in 1983.
I first became aware of Dr. Tidwell through 

his popular book, “Common Fossil Plants of 

Western North America,” which I received 

as a birthday gift from my parents. The book 

made an impression on me as I began study-

ing fossil plants found in my home state of Or-

egon and was curious how to identify them. 

Don’s book—first published by BYU Press in 

1975, then revised and published in a second 

edition by Smithsonian Press in 1998—was an 

excellent guide for amateurs and budding pa-

leobotanists like me. The book found its way 

to many public libraries as well as university 

holdings, and it has had the positive effect of 

encouraging interaction between hobbyists, 

who are actively collecting petrified wood and 

other fossil plants, and the academic commu-

nity. Don recognized the importance of am-

ateur contributions to paleontology through 

discovery of new localities and recovery of 

specimens that might otherwise be lost to sci-


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I first had the opportunity to meet Dr. Tidwell 

during the Botanical Society of America con-

ference in Corvallis, Oregon (1976), where I 

was an undergraduate at Oregon State Uni-

versity. Following that meeting, he endorsed 

and occasionally participated in the instruc-

tional program for the high school students 

that I directed for the Oregon Museum of Sci-

ence and Industry during several successive 

summers. He joined us in local field work and 

provided basic instruction in botany and pa-

leobotany to students in the field program lo-

cated at Hancock Field Station near the down 

of Fossil, Oregon.
Don’s paleobotanical research contributions 

ranged through the geologic column with 

many contributions on Carboniferous, Me-

sozoic and Cenozoic floras. He especially en-

joyed working on anatomically preserved fern 

stems (particularly Tempskya and Osmunda-

ceae), conifers, and angiosperm woods as well 

as the study of various impression and com-

pression fossil leaf assemblages.
Don retired in 2000 and continued his re-

search with emeritus recognition. Lisa Bouch-

er and I had the pleasure of working together 

with him to prepare a field guide and lead a 

paleobotanical field trip in Utah and Colo-

rado associated with the Botanical Society of 

America meeting, in Snowbird, Utah (2004). 

Don guided us to some fascinating places and 

hosted us at his laboratory to have a look at 

numerous specimens gathered during his ca-

reer. When the Botany Department at BYU 

was abolished in 2003, Don’s extensive collec-

tions were moved to the Paleontological Mu-

seum of the Department of Geological Sci-

ences, BYU, where they remain an important 

part of the holdings today.

-By Steve Manchester


Sylvia “Tass” Kelso  


Sylvia “Tass” Kelso, Professor Emeritus at Col-

orado College, passed away on June 8, 2016 

after an 18-month struggle with pancreatic 

She was born on May 1, 1953 (May Day) and 

grew up in Duxbury, Massachusetts, where 

she spent her childhood years exploring the 

woods behind their house and the tidal pools 

of Duxbury Bay. This is where her fascination 

in nature began.
 She entered Smith College in Northampton, 

Massachusetts, in 1971, and finished her un-

dergraduate studies in 1974 from Dartmouth 

College in Hanover, New Hampshire, with a 

major in Geography and a minor in Biology, 

graduating Magna Cum Laude. Continuing 

from there she earned a master’s degree in Ge-

ography at the University of Colorado, Boul-

der, in 1980, while working as Herbarium As-

sistant in the university’s museum. She earned 

a PhD in 1987 in Biology at the University of 

Alaska in Fairbanks, while working as a teach-

ing assistant in the Biology Department and 

Research Assistant with the Bureau of Land 


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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


Wherever she lived—be it New England, Alas-

ka, or Colorado—her keen interest in botany 

resulted in acquiring a detailed knowledge of 

local flora.
Since 1987 she was a member of the faculty 

at Colorado College, teaching courses in bot-

any, conservation, and evolutionary biology, 

among others, and was Curator of the Carter 

Herbarium (COCO).  She was dedicated to 

sharing her enthusiasm and teaching about 

plants with students and with the public.  Her 

promotions were timely, reaching full Profes-

sor, not to mention serving a term as Chair of 

the Biology Department.
Awards and honors include the Colorado Col-

lege Burlington Northern Award for Faculty 

Achievement in Teaching (1992); the John D. 

and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor at Col-

orado College (1992-1994); and the Verner Z. 

Reed Professor of Natural Sciences endowed 

position (2004-2007). Tass’  was also  recog-

nized as Outstanding Volunteer by the Colo-

rado Natural Heritage Program.
She served on many important faculty com-

mittees, some as chairman. She was a member 

of the Board of Trustees of the Palmer Foun-

dation (1994-2000); the Palmer Land Trust, 

Advisor (2004-present); the Nature Conser-

vancy, Colorado Science Advisory commit-

tee; Education Coordinating Committee of 

the National Ecological Observatory Network 

(NEON); and the Colorado Native Plant Soci-

ety Field Trip and Workshop leader.
Tass’s botanical specialties included the sys-

tematics and reproductive biology of the 

Primulaceae, on which she authored numer-

ous papers. She also studied and published 

papers on the arctic and alpine flora and its 

phytogeography, the floras of southeastern 

Colorado and the Pikes Peak region, edaphic 

endemism, grasslands, the influence of Qua-

ternary environments on plant distributions, 

plant reproductive biology, and the continu-

ing importance of floristic exploration. Her 

cherished research on Primulaceae has result-

ed in most of her contributions, culminating 

most recently in treatments of Primula,  An-

drosace, and Douglasia in volume 8 of Flora of 

North America and Dodecatheon and Primula

in the revision of the Jepson Manual of the flo-

ra of California.
On June 29, 1996, she married George Maentz, 

who had been and continued to be collabora-

tor with her on some of her local projects.
On a personal note, I first met Tass in the 

mid- or late-1980s when she visited the New 

York Botanical Garden. She came to examine 

the herbarium’s holdings of Primula, and she 

used the opportunity to meet me, since I had 

published a couple of new Primula discoveries 

from Nevada. We didn’t meet again until April 

4, 1991, when per chance we found ourselves 

in the College of Idaho herbarium, Caldwell, 

Idaho, both there for the same purpose: to 

see and collect the early blooming Primu-

la cusickiana. At that time I was working on 

the Primulaceae for Intermountain Flora. The 

next morning we were treated to a guided 

field trip to Freezeout Hill and to a slope along 

the Bogus Basin Road led by a contingent of 

Idaho botanists familiar with these Primu-

la localities. Tass and I became good friends 

from that time on, getting together whenever 

an opportunity would arise, such as at annual 

meetings of the Botanical Society of America, 

at their home in Colorado Springs, and in the 

field. Pat and I joined Tass and George twice 

in the field in Nevada to search for Primula 

capillaris in the Ruby Mountains (2002) and P. 

nevadensis in the Schell Creek Range (2007). 

It was fun to be with the two of them in the 

field, sharing a love of plants and landscape 

and botanical knowledge.

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


I asked George where the nickname “Tass” 

came from. His reply: “From the time of her 

hair’s appearance as a toddler through late 

childhood, Tass had a head full of bright 

blond hair that looked to her parents (or per-

haps grandparents) like corn tassels. Her fam-

ily called her ‘Tassel’ from the onset, which 

shortened to ‘Tass’ in school and ever since. 

She was named ‘Sylvia’ after a close friend of 

her mother, but never used the name except 

in official context.” George adds, “I could eas-

ily sort and usually declined phone calls for 

‘Sylvia,’ knowing that the person seeking her 

attention was a total stranger dialing from a 

marketing list.”

John Melvin Herr, Jr.  


Dr. John M. Herr, Jr., 85, of Columbia, SC, 

passed away on June 19, 2016 in Belford, VA. 

After a hike in the beautiful sunshine at The 

Peaks of Otter off the Blue Ridge Parkway, 

he sat resting with his wife, Lucrecia. He 



o cr


it t

o S


an B

. F




reached out, touched her hand, and breathed 

his last breath. He did not suffer, but died in 

peace after hiking in his beloved mountains

He was often referred to as a 

true Southern 




Dr. Herr was Distinguished Professor Emeritus 

in the Department of Biological Sciences at 

the University of South Carolina (USC)


graduated from the University of Virginia 

with BA and MA degrees, from the University 

of North Carolina with a PhD in botany, 

and served a post-doctoral appointment at 

the University of Delhi, India on a Fulbright 

Fellowship (1957



He was also a Fellow of 

the Linnean Society of London (1988)


his 34 years of service at USC, before retiring 

in 1993, Dr

Herr taught courses in botany 

and performed notable research in flowering 

plant embryology, culminating in theoretical 

papers on the evolutionary origin of seeds 

and leaves

His inventions included tissue 

processing and microscopy techniques now 

utilized worldwide

For the 23 years following 

retirement, he contributed his wisdom to 

the university and multiple students and 


His office and lab were never 

silent. He served on many committees, 

authored guidelines for organizing the USC 

Faculty Senate, chaired the faculty senate, and 

served as President of the Thomas Cooper 



He held memberships in several scientific as-

sociations such as the Southern Appalachian 

Botanical Society, which awarded him the 

Elizabeth Ann Bartholomew Award in 1996. 

He led workshops and seminars all over the 

world and supervised numerous disserta-

tions. Dr. Herr’s major professional affiliation 

was with the Association of Southeastern 

Biologists (ASB) where he was the Archivist 

for many years and served on the Executive 

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


Committee (1973), and served as Vice Presi-

dent (1974) and President (1976)

He was the 

author of the constitution and bylaws of the 

Association and was 


in design-

ing the ASB logo that we use today. ASB pre-

sented him the Meritorious Teaching Award 

(1989) and the Senior Research Award (1998)

Only six ASB members have received the Mer-

itorious Teaching Award

the Senior Research 

Award, and have served as President. He was 

awarded the inaugural 


Herr Lifetime 

Achievement Award” (2007)

In presenting 

the Herr Award

the Association noted: “He 

is perspicacious, sagacious, and mighty fine!” 


Herr helped the Association to weather 

some very difficult times.


2005, Dr. Herr decided to g


ve a unique gift 

to the university. He set about composing a 

specific tune for Carolina’s alma mater, “We 

Hail Thee, Carolina,” which has traditionally 

been sung to the tune of “Flow Gently, Sweet 

Afton.” The new tune was performed by the 

USC Concert Choir in 2009, but has not (at 

least, yet) been accepted as the official tune 

for the alma mater. The experience of having 

his tune brought to life helped build a deeper 

relationship between Dr. Herr and the School 

of Music. With funds contributed by Dr


and his wife, the School of Music established 

the annual John and Lucrecia Herr Composi-

tion Award, open to all music students. 


Herr, a native of Charlottesville

VA, is 

survived by his wife, Lucrecia Linder Herr, for 

whom the Lucrecia Herr Outstanding Biology 

Teacher Award is named

his s


ster, Dr. Nan-

cy Herr Fallen; his daughters and their hus-

bands: Susan Rebecca (John) Fallen


Lynn (Michael) Leach

his stepson and his 

wife, Frederick Brent (Mary Grace) Wahl; his 

niece, Margaret Fallen

and six grandchildren

A private family service will be followed by a 

celebration of his life at a future date


Those wishing to make a contribution in 

memory of Dr. Herr are asked to consider The 

John and Lucrecia Herr Composition Award, 

University of South Carolina School of Mu-

sic, 813 Assembly Street

Columbia, SC 29208 

and/or the Association of Southeastern Bi-


C/O Dr. Edgar B. Lickey, Treasurer; 

Department of Biology; Bridgewater College; 

402 East College Street, Box 125; Bridgewater, 

VA 22812.


-This obituary was prepared by Lucrecia Herr, 

Columbia, SC; Dr. J. Kenneth Shull, Appala-

chian State University

Boone, NC

and Dr

James D. Caponetti

University of Tennesse



TN. The text has been reprinted with 

permission from Southeastern Biology 63(3): 


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What Should a Clever Moose Eat?: ................................................................................................. 175 

Quiver Trees, Phantom Orchids & Rock Splitters: The Remarkable Survival  

Strategies of Plants .................................................................................................................................. 176

Economic Botany

Seeds: A Natural History. ........................................................................................................................ 178

CITES and Cycads: A User’s Guide ................................................................................................. 179


Plant Sensing and Communication .................................................................................................. 181


Flora of Florida, Vol. II and Vol. III ..................................................................................................183v 

What Should a Clever 

Moose Eat?: Natural 

History, Ecology, and the 

North Woods 

John Pastor


ISBN-13: 978-161091-677-6

Paperback, US$30.00. 336 pp. 

Island Press, Washington, DC, 


What Should a Clever Moose Eat? is an inter-

esting and informative read from start to fin-

ish, covering species assemblages and bioge-

ography of the North Woods, which includes 

the Great Lakes region into New England. The 

essays and observations are grouped into five 

parts, including several chapters within each 

part that link natural history traits among or-

ganisms to pull it all together. While much is 

known, the author postulates on questions 

that are still unanswered.

Part I of the book emphasizes the importance 

of beavers as landscape engineers and their 

role in European trade and exploration 

throughout this region. This also plays into 

later sections on forest formation and the 

tremendous influence of a keystone species. 

The book could have even garnered its 

namesake from the beaver as it is the focus of 

several chapters.     
The essays in Part II, which cover leaf 

formation and their eventual demise, are 

excellent and would find a good home in 

any botany course. They explain this process 

and the evolutionary costs and benefits of 

the many species observed in the North 

Woods throughout the ecological spectrum, 

from disturbance to climax community. The 

physiology of the process and how it relates to 

when a tree sheds its leaves are things I have 

never considered in my quest to identify the 

tree they came from. The sizes and shapes of 

leaves in relation to where they are found in a 

canopy fits nicely into the ecosystem puzzle.


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Book Reviews

Part III discusses foraging behavior of beavers 

and moose and how they each use similar 

food stocks. We find out what a clever moose 

eats and why it focuses on these species as 

they are the highest quality available. The 

discussion of beaver meadows and fungi was 

fascinating as the conifers do not invade the 

beaver meadows because they do not retain 

fungi in the soil after years of inundation. 

Plant chemical defenses and their cost to the 

tree against caterpillars are weighed, along 

with warbler trophic levels within a conifer 

forest avoiding competition.   
Skunk cabbage is one of my favorite signs of 

spring, and Part IV begins with describing 

how this species tricks blowflies into being 

pollinators. Serviceberry and its early flowering 

timeframe and fruit production are discussed 

with a focus on the natural selection benefits 

of starting early. The formation of blueberries 

takes up a lot of energy but effectively disperses 

the seeds. Crossbills provide a good example 

of coevolution as their bills provide them with 

access to a mostly untapped conifer seed food 

source until introduced mammals change the 

Part V describes the importance of fire to 

maintaining this ecosystem, especially for 

certain conifers that depend on fire to open 

their cones. This process, known as serotiny, 

is seen in other species with seed release tied 

to an environmental trigger. The periodic fires 

in the North Woods allow for young trees 

to grow in full sun and replenish a stand as 

the thick canopy diminishes recruitment by 

shading out the younger trees. 
The epilogue presents disheartening data about 

climate change from observations of natural 

history in the North Woods. Flowering times 

are coming earlier, as are insect outbreaks, 

which could put more species in jeopardy; one 

example of this is warblers, whose migration 

movements are tied into photoperiod more 

than temperature, unlike their prey. The 

postscript and its observations on color 

perception differences between humans and 

bees was just one of many potential future 

research projects skillfully placed throughout 

the text.
The notes are helpful for readers who want 

to learn more about any topic addressed and 

the glossary is a useful alternative to search 

engines. This book would be a great addition 

to any natural history course or personal 

library of those interested in learning more 

about this ecosystem. 
–David W. MacDougall, CWB® Consulting 




Quiver Trees, Phantom 

Orchids & Rock Splitters: 

The Remarkable Survival 

Strategies of Plants

Jesse Vernon Trail

2015. ISBN-13: 978-177041-208-8

Paperback, US$24.95. 300 pp. 

ECW Press, Toronto, Ontario, 


The publisher’s website describes Quiver 

Trees, Phantom Orchids & Rock Splitters: The 

Remarkable Survival Strategies of Plants as a 

book that “…showcases exceptional plants 

with absorbing information and stunning 

photos that will inspire a new respect for 

nature’s innovation and resilience.” Many 

of the photographs can indeed be labeled 

stunning, but in information content and in 

writing itself the book is lacking. The author 

attempts to cover so many aspects of botany 

that the end result is a mile wide and an inch 

deep. The numerous topics lack the substance 

needed to attract and hold the reader’s interest. 

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Book Reviews

At first glance, this book would seem to lend 

itself as a supplemental text to an introductory 

botany class, something to arouse and engage 

student interest in plant biology and plant 

adaptations. However, the adaptations and 

structures that allow plants to survive are 

not adequately discussed. The text functions 

instead more as a listing than an in-depth 

description of these interesting and unique 

plants. There are certainly chapters of the 

book that offer a more complete description 

than others. For example, the “Arctic 

Example” chapter does well in describing 

adaptations and plant survival in harsh arctic 

environments. However, even this chapter 

could be better organized, and there is much 

overlap between this and the following 

chapter, “Alpine Adaptations,” making this 

section of the book largely redundant. 
More typical are chapters like “A Firm 

Footing.” Throughout the book, the author 

almost gives the impression he is narrating 

a nature video by using phrases like “Let us 

take a trip to Australia to observe a few of 

these plants…” or “We have plenty of time so 

let’s travel to further regions of Oceania…”. 

In the “Firm Footing” chapter, the author 

devotes much more text to these phrases or in 

describing the habitat than he does explaining 

the “remarkable survival strategies of plants” 

that is the subtitle of the book. This chapter 

also contains a section titled “Rocksplitters” 

that is essentially a list of plants that can grow 

in rocky environments. While many of these 

are fascinating plants, the characteristics and 

adaptations that enable them to grow in harsh, 

rocky environments are not described. 
The photographs, which are the work of 

numerous photographers, are undoubtedly 

the strength of the book. While the images 

themselves are fascinating, they are not 

integrated into the text. For the most part, the 

figure legends for photos only give the species 

name, not the attribute of the plant that the 

author wants to highlight. Many of the plants 

he describes at length are lacking pictures 

(for example, there is a 16-line description of 

Protea cynaroides but no picture), while plants 

that are only briefly mentioned have an image 

(for example, Ficus aurea is described in three 

lines of text but has a full-page image). 
A particularly bothersome aspect of the 

book is the lack of a bibliography, literature 

cited section, or even chapter notes. All that 

is included is a short section containing 56 

“Selected Sources,” but there is no indication 

of what material came from these sources. This 

is particularly frustrating when the author 

makes statements that cannot be verified. In 

the section on chemistry, the author states 

that “about 70,000 different kinds of chemicals 

have been identified in plants,” yet there is 

no citation or note on this for the reader to 

verify or pursue further. In another instance, 

the author states that “roots seldom go any 

further than 10 feet into the ground,” but 

then gives numerous examples throughout 

the text of much deeper roots. This includes 

his statement that “during the building of the 

Suez Canal in Central America an unspecified 

species of tamarisk was recorded as having 

roots that extended to the phenomenal depth 

of 164 feet.” The Suez Canal is obviously not 

in Central America, and there is no indication 

of the author’s sources for his information on 

root depth. This is far from the only instance 

where the author’s writing and word choice 

are careless. In another example, the author 

states that “The majority of flowering plants, 

however, have both sexes (stamen and pistil) 

within each flower, but pollination must be 

transferred from one flower to the next for 

fertilization to occur.” In this case, not only 

does he use “pollination” when he should 

use “pollen,” but he also neglects those 

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


Book Reviews

autogamous plants where self-pollination can 

lead to self-fertilization.
In conclusion, this book could be used as a 

list of interesting plants, but is so superficial 

in its coverage that to really understand the 

amazing biology of these plants readers would 

need to do much more research on their own.
–Stephen Stern, Department of Biological 

Sciences, Colorado Mesa University, Grand 

Junction, Colorado, USA


Seeds: A Natural History

Carolyn Fry

2016. ISBN-13: 978-0-226-


Cloth, US$35.00. 192 pp.

ISBN-13: 978-0-226-22449-7 

e-book, US$21.00. 

University of Chicago Press, 

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Seeds: A Natural History is a well-illustrated 

volume addressed to generalists that provides 

much worthwhile information: seeds may 

be edible, or harmful, poisonous, and 

even deadly; persistent or perishable; store 

nutrients as carbohydrate, fat, or protein; vary 

in size from fractions of a millimeter to tens of 

centimeters; and function as agents to nourish 

the embryo, provide dispersal, and dormancy. 

The book’s six chapters are titled: (1) “The 

Importance of Seeds to Humanity”; (2) “How 

Plants Evolved on Planet Earth”; (3) “How 

Seed Plants Reproduce”; (4) “Dispersal Takes 

Seeds to New Pastures”; (5) “Germination 

Brings Plants Back to Life”; and (6) “Using 

Seeds to Ensure Humanity’s Survival.” Each 

chapter is divided by subheadings, and within 

each of those, additional headings serving as 

bullet points to draw attention to important 

information within the pages so that the reader 

can identify the key issues and facts quickly. 

Each chapter closes with a “Seed Profile,” 

which provides a descriptive example of a 

species representing the subject matter of that 

chapter. To illustrate the author’s approach, 

the following are the subheadings in Chapter 

1: “Separating Humans from the Monkeys”; 

“From Hunter-Gatherers to Farmers”; “How 

Crop Wild Relatives Have Helped Us Breed 

Resilient Varieties”; “Human Uses of Seeds 

Down the Ages”; “The Father of Seed Science” 

[i.e., Vavilov]; “The Seed Bank that Survived 

a Siege”; “Plants and Seeds from the World’s 

Arid Lands”; and “Seed Profile: Grass Pea.”
While the contents of this book obviously 

show scholarly strength, they consist of 

summaries, or present succinct and often 

gripping overviews. Brevity seems to be one 

attribute to describe this book. Although it 

is admirable that Vavilov’s expeditions to 

study wild relatives of crops and traditional 

landraces (which led to his and co-workers’ 

assessment of genetic resources and centers of 

crop origins) is celebrated early in the book, 

along with their dedicated choice to barricade 

themselves in the seed bank and to starve to 

death or die of disease rather than eat those 

seeds that could have saved them, Vavilov’s 

own death by starvation in prison is not 

These chapters are by no means exhaustive 

or comprehensive. The glossary is only one 

page long, and the index, which unfortunately 

contains a misspelling, only two pages long; 

however, the handsome photographs and their 

captions are inviting and effective so as to be 

suitable as groundwork, for example, for an 

instructor’s lectures in an advanced placement 

high school class, or as a launching pad for a 

general education college class about diverse 

topics within these broad subject categories. 

An entire course could potentially be built 

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Book Reviews

around the two-page chronology titled: 

“Human Uses of Seeds Down the Ages.” There 

we learn that the use of the term “carat” to 

measure the weight of a diamond derives from 

the name of the carob plant (Ceratonia siliqua 

L.). Carob seeds were used by Mediterranean 

traders as a unit of measurement. A jewel that 

weighed the same as five seeds became known 

as five carobs, or five carat, in weight. The 

average weight of a carob seed was found to 

be 0.197 g; this was standardized to 200 mg in 

1907. This standard, still used today, denotes 

5 carats per gram. On the same page we learn 

that in 2001 the headless torso of a boy named 

by police as “Adam” was pulled from the River 

Thames in London. Scientists at Kew Gardens 

later found that he had been poisoned with 

the calabar bean (Physostigma venenosum 

Balf. f.), a plant that has been linked to African 

witchcraft practices.
Author Carolyn Fry is a science writer and the 

former editor of The Geographical Journal, the 

magazine of the Royal Geographical Society. 

She has written five books on botanical 

themes, including The Plant Hunters: The 

Adventures of the World’s Greatest Botanical 

Explorers. Fry’s examples here are fresh, not 

conventional; e.g., seed banks profiled include 

the Australian PlantBank; the Germplasm 

Bank of Wild Species, Kunming, Yunnan 

Province, China; the Greenbelt Native Plant 

Center, a small restoration project in New York 

City; and the N. I. Vavilov Institute of Plant 

Genetic Resources, St. Petersburg, Russia. 
Throughout this volume, Fry’s bias toward 

sustainability is evident. Fry points out 

that wild harvesting of Harpagophytum 

procumbens DC., which is used medicinally 

to reduce pain and improve movement in 

people with osteoarthritis, is putting the 

species under pressure. According to the 

Food and Agriculture Organization of the 

United Nations (FAO), the projected export 

value of its products in Namibia alone is $2.7 

million. However, in Namibia there is limited 

cultivation because of concern that this would 

be to the detriment of communities that 

sustainably harvest the plant from the wild. 

Therefore, the trend in Namibia now is toward 

“enrichment planting” or rehabilitation of 

unsustainably harvested areas, rather than 

traditional cultivation.
This book would make an excellent means 

to introduce family and friends to concepts 

that delight botanists, especially favoring 

the interests in applied, economic botany. 

International in scope, it would also be well-

suited as a reference book serving students for 

whom English is a second language. There is 

some depth without verbosity.
–Dorothea Bedigian, Research Associate, Mis-

souri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri, 


CITES and Cycads: A 

User’s Guide

Catherine Rutherford, John 

Donaldson, Alex Hudson, H. 

Noel McGough, Maurizio Sajeva, 

Uwe Schippmann, and Maurice 



ISBN-13: 978-1-84246-489-2

Paperback with CD-ROM, £40.00. 114 pp. 

Kew Publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Rich-

mond, United Kingdom

As one who has had a long-time interest in 

cycads, I found this book to be enormously 

interesting on many levels. The aim of 

the Convention on International Trade in 

Endangered Species (CITES; www.cites.

org) “is to ensure that international trade in 

specimens of wild animals and plants does 

not threaten their survival in the wild.” As 

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Book Reviews

amply documented in this volume, there 

are numerous ongoing threats to cycad 

populations throughout the world, and some 

species are far more threatened than others. 
Prepared by staff at Kew Gardens and others 

in Italy, South Africa, and Germany, the 

book is profusely illustrated with over 100 

excellent color photographs, is well-written, 

and is chock-full of interesting facts and 

information. The primary purpose of the book 

is to provide the user with a series of slides and 

notes (written on the slides) that can be used 

to educate and train workers on numerous 

details regarding the provisions of CITES as 

it relates to the legal and illegal international 

trade of cycads. Customs agents, agricultural 

inspectors, and others involved in examining 

and processing shipments of plant materials 

across country borders will benefit from the 

information in this book. Being able to detect 

nursery-grown from wild-collected plants is a 

desirable skill set to acquire.  As the authors 

note, “In day-to-day CITES enforcement this 

is more important than identifying specimens 

to species level.”
Each page in the main portion of the book 

is included as a slide on the CD-ROM that 

is included with the book. The CD-ROM 

contains files in English, Spanish, and French. 

One file is a copy of the entire book in pdf 

format. Another file is a complete copy of the 

slide presentation in Microsoft PowerPoint 

format. A speaker or trainer can use this file 

as-is for a ready-made presentation or can 

modify it to suit specific needs by adding or 

deleting slides. The authors want CITES and 

cycad information to be disseminated as 

widely as possible and encourage use of their 

The book is organized into four sections: 

Introduction to Cycads; CITES and Cycads; 

Implementing CITES for Cycads; and 

Additional Slides. The volume includes 

a glossary and three appendices: Cycad 

Binomials in Current Use; Accepted 

Names in Current Use (includes countries 

of distribution); and Country Checklist 

(for  Bowenia,  Ceratozamia,  Cycas,  Dioon

Encephalartos,  Lepidozamia,  Macrozamia

MicrocycasStangeria, and Zamia). 
Each section consists of a series of slides 

that can be used by an instructor to teach 

cycad classification, global distribution by 

family and genera, morphological differences 

between cycads and palms, and differences 

between cycads and tree ferns. Understanding 

key differences between cycads and palms, 

and cycads and tree ferns, is an important 

skill to learn. No doubt a smuggler or two 

has intentionally labeled a shipment of 

endangered and/or illegally obtained cycads as 

“palm trees” or “tree ferns” in an effort to fool 

customs agents. The information presented 

will enable customs agents, inspectors, and 

others to be aware of such situations. The 

book is not a cycad identification manual. 

The authors emphasize that if questions arise, 

experts should be consulted to help with 

There are three cycad families—Cycadaceae, 

Stangeriaceae, and Zamiaceae—currently 

totaling about 344 species (http://cycadlist.

org/index.php). A large scale map shows 

the global distribution of all cycads. The 

geographic distributions of genera in each 

family are shown on smaller scale maps, and 

the number of species in each genus is given. 

Some may quibble over the accuracy of the 

maps at the scales used, but the purpose 

of the presentation is not intended to be 

encyclopedic, nor does it need to be. At the 

end of most slides, the authors provide one or 

more references to published materials and/

or internet links that can be consulted for 

additional information.

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Threats to cycads include over-collecting 

from wild populations, habitat destruction, 

habitat modification, and extinction of insect 

pollinators. The main centers of illegal trade 

are Africa, Asia, and Central and South 

America. Most cycads can survive for up 

to six months after being dug up, and with 

their leaves and roots removed. Photos of 

wild-collected cycad plants being bicycled to 

market (Cycas elongata) and stacks of wild-

collected plants confiscated by authorities are 

poignant reminders of the threat that illegal 

trade poses to many cycad species. 
Trade in cycad products involves food (seeds 

and stems), ceremonies and decoration 

(leaves), baskets (leaves), medicine or magic 

(stems, roots, and bark), and live plants 

(sometimes shipped as stems). Seeds are 

traded from over 100 cycad species. Over 22 

million leaves of Cycas revoluta were exported 

from Costa Rica from 2002 to 2011. 
Legal trade in live plants involves primarily 

ornamental plants, with Cycas  revoluta 

being the most common (48 million plants 

exported between 2000 and 2010 from 

Costa Rica, Taiwan, Malaysia, and China). 

The market is too small to justify large-scale 

commercial production of rare species for 

private collectors, which inadvertently creates 

a market for wild-collected plants. There 

is also a market for large landscape plants, 

but because there are too few large plants 

to satisfy demand, and due to their slow 

growth, a market also exists for large, wild-

collected plants. As an example, the critically 

endangered  Encephalartos latifrons in South 

Africa (to 3 m tall, 300–450 mm diameter) 

has fewer than 60 plants remaining in the 

wild. Some individuals of this large species 

are reported to have been wild-collected by 

helicopter. Australia is the largest exporter of 

wild-collected specimens, mainly Macrozamia 

and Bowenia (over 95,000 plants from 2000–

2010), but populations are considered stable 

and permits are required to collect. 
Kew Gardens publishes several CITES User 

Guides (on, e.g., cacti, slipper orchids, and 

timber). The authors of CITES and Cycads are 

to be commended for their time and effort 

in preparing the slide presentations in this 

book and making them freely available to the 

R. John Little, MagnaFlora LLC, Sacramento, 

California, USA


Plant Sensing and  


Richard Karban


ISBN-13: 978-0-226-26470-7

Paperback, US$35.00. 240 pp. 

University of Chicago Press, 

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Plant Sensing and Communication is a 

fascinating book that is rich with scientific 

data illustrating biochemical and other 

mechanisms that support plant sensation 

and communication. Dr. Karban takes great 

care in the first three chapters to define 

what’s meant by plant communication—

behavior, sense, learning, and memory. These 

characteristics are explored as a set up to 

chapters that illustrate extensive research 

and evidence of plant communication. The 

subsequent chapters address plant response 

communication in regard to resources, 

herbivores, reproduction, microbe interaction, 

evolution, agriculture, and medicine. Areas 

of research and study addressed in the book 

included plant ecology, adaptation, anatomy, 

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Book Reviews

physiology, and biochemistry. 
The book introduces concepts that need to 

be tested experimentally and qualitatively 

by scientists. Dr. Karban is exceedingly 

responsible in this regard. The language he 

uses to express possibilities, hypotheses, and 

conjecture are clear in modifying that topics 

explored are not conclusive or set as fact. 

Some examples of this include: “…appear 

to be responses,” “…unknown,” “…may use 

receptors,” “a similar mechanism is probably 

involved,” “…may be related,” “…appear to be 

involved,” and “…still needs to be elucidated.” 

Notable too is the meticulous research and 

documentation of the References—a total of 

49 pages are devoted to Dr. Karban’s work on 

plant communication. The number of pages 

in individual chapters was much shorter. 
I came to review the book from the lens of a 

PlantingScience mentor and botany teacher, 

not a researcher. PlantingScience is an 

inquiry program of the Botanical Society of 

America that brings students and scientists 

together in plant investigations and inquiry 

methods. With the assistance of an online 

botanist mentor, students learn to design 

experiments, define variables, and constantly 

question assumptions about plants. Similarly, 

the presentation of topics and excerpts from 

Plant Sensing and Communication could be 

used to stimulate student curiosity in plants. 

In my PlantingScience class units, students 

wanted to know if plants can communicate. 

Some students explored the possibilities of 

plant communication indirectly through an 

anthropomorphic characterization of plants, 

such as exposure to music and talking to 

Beyond student perceptions of plant 

communication, Dr. Karban presents evidence 

of how plants may sense and communicate 

within their environment. These are topics 

that could trigger real interest in high school 

students—plants may sense the presence of 

herbivores, emit the production of chemicals 

when eaten by predators, and emit volatiles 

that can attack predators. Volatiles released 

by some plants may be used by other plant 

species. Plants are receptive to changes in light 

and may exhibit shade avoidance. Enzyme 

inhibitors can induce resistance. Intercropping 

is a successful way to induce emissions of these 

volatiles. Ozone and carbon dioxide may affect 

volatiles. Plants may house predators. Plants 

provide pollinator services. Salinity tolerance 

by plants deserves more study. Plant spices 

and essential oils are antibacterial. Cool!
Researchers and high school students alike 

could benefit from reading the book, which 

supports research and studies in plant 

communication. I will use Plant Sensing and 

Communication for my high school biology 

students as a reference to guide their student 

investigations of plant communication.
–Naomi Volain, Polytechnic School, Pasadena, 

California, USA;

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


Flora of Florida, Vol. II 

Richard P. Wunderlin and Bruce 

F. Hansen


ISBN-13: 978-0-8130-6066-8 

Hardcover, US$69.95. 400 pp. 

University Press of Florida, 

Gainesville, Florida, USA 

Flora of Florida, Vol. III 

Richard P. Wunderlin and Bruce 

F. Hansen


ISBN-13: 978-0-8130-6121-4 

Hardcover, US$69.95. 344 pp. 

University Press of Florida, 

Gainesville, Florida, USA 

Florida, with over 4,300 species of native and 

naturalized vascular plants, is the third most 

floristically diverse state in the United States. 

This series, which will include 10 volumes, 

aims to be the “go-to” reference for the state. 

The first volume (published in 2000) covers 

ferns, lycophytes, and gymnosperms. The 

volumes reviewed here start the treatment of 

the “dicots” (eudicots and basal angiosperms), 

with four more volumes to come. Monocots 

will be covered in the three final volumes. 
Each volume has a short introduction detailing 

how the book is laid out. The authors chose to 

include taxa if a herbarium specimen exists 

from Florida or if a specimen is cited from 

Florida in a monograph or revision “whose 

treatment is considered sound.” What, exactly, 

that latter part means is not fully explained. I 

liked that taxa that may only be of historical 

status in the state are still included since the 

authors state that they wanted a complete 

flora and those taxa could reappear. The 

systematic arrangement of the families follows 


Angiosperm Phylogeny Group III (APG III), 

with “slight modifications.” Volume II includes 

the following groups: basal angiosperms, 

Ceratophyllaceae, Ranunculales, Proteales, 

Buxaceae, Saxifragales, Fagales, Cucurbitales, 

Celastrales, Oxalidaceae, Malpighiales, and 

Geraniaceae. Volume III includes the Vitaceae, 

Zygophyllales, Fabales, and Rosales.
Each family has a full description and a brief 

synopsis of its size and distribution worldwide. 

A key to the genera found in the state follows, 

with each genus treatment then arranged 

alphabetically afterwards. The species within 

each genus (if more than one) are treated 

alphabetically as well. Here, one thing that 

gets a little burdensome is the (sometimes 

long) list of synonyms for a taxon. In addition 

to the synonym and author, the place of 

publication is listed for each name. This leads 

to, in my opinion, lots of wasted page space, 

e.g.  Parthenocissus quinquefolia, where the 

synonym section takes up more than half the 

page, detailing every known synonym. This 

type of information might interest some, but 

I feel that the average field botanist or flower 

enthusiast will be overwhelmed by the text. 

Perhaps it would have been better to simply 

include the most commonly encountered 

synonyms (if any) in popular older works. 

Sometimes, other natural history notes are 

given for a taxon. If any taxa in a genus are 

excluded, a reason is given; I found this to 

be a nice touch not seen in many floras. 

Distribution notes for each species are 

relatively brief. The worldwide distribution of 

a taxon is sometimes too broad, but this is a 

minor quibble. For instance, all the species of 

Kalanchoe found in Florida are listed as “native 

to Africa”; however, only one of those is truly 

native to continental Africa: K. crenata. The 

others are native to Madagascar.
The keys themselves (the many I tried, 

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PSB 62 (3) 2016        


Book Reviews

anyway) seem to work and do not have any 

ambiguous terms or confusing wording. 

Because the families are arranged by order 

(but this is not indicated anywhere in the 

book), it can be hard to find a particular 

family if one simply flips pages. The Table of 

Contents at the beginning of each volume 

lists in order the families contained within, 

but again, if you don’t know that families have 

undergone drastic rearrangements in the past 

decades, you might have a hard time finding 

the family you need. Another page with the 

families listed alphabetically would be most 

helpful for users who don’t know anything 

about APG (the families are, of course, listed 

in the index). One other thing that makes 

finding a family hard via flipping pages is a lack 

of family page headers. Each left-hand page 

header simply says “Flora of Florida” and each 

right-hand page header says “Dicotyledons, 

*range of families in the volume*”. I hope 

that future volumes will change this so that if 

a user somewhat remembers where a family 

should be in the book, he or she can easily 

flip to it. A Literature Cited section, as well as 

indices to common and scientific names, ends 

each volume.
The books themselves are of good quality with 

lightweight but not cheap-feeling paper. The 

covers are durable but not heavy. It would be 

difficult to bring all 10 planned volumes in the 

field, but it would not be too burdensome to 

bring two or three if you are specifically going 

to look for a particular family and want the 

reference along with you.
This series will surely be the standard reference 

for the unique and threatened flora of the 

Sunshine State. I look forward to the future 

–John G. Zaborsky, Botany Department, 

University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, 

Wisconsin, USA;

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ety whose mission  is to: pro-

mote botany, the field of basic 

science dealing with the study 

& inquiry into the form, func-

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reproduction, evolution, & uses 

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Plant Science Bulletin

                                                                                     Fall 2016 Volume 62 Number 3

At Botany 2016, current and former BSA student represen-

tatives presented Executive Director William Dahl with a 

special print to mark 10 years of student representation on 

the BSA Board of Directors, which Dahl spearheaded. 
Left to right: Rachel Meyer (2009-2011), Angela McDon-

nell (2014-2016), Marian Chau (2010-2012), James Mc-

Daniel (2016-2018), Dahl, Mackenzie Taylor (2006-2008), 

Jon Giddens (2013-2015), and Rebecca Povilus (2015-


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