News and Highlights
Botany Seminar Series
The NMNH Department of Botany seminar series features guest speakers presenting their current research. Topics range from taxonomy, evolution, and systematics to plant ecology and conservation biology. All seminars are held on Thursdays at 2pm Eastern (unless otherwise noted). If you are interested in receiving notices of upcoming seminars and web links to the virtual presentations, subscribe to the Botany Seminar email list by sending your name, affiliation, and email address to Gary Krupnick.
March 4 - Jesus Martinez-Gomez (Cornell University): "On the evolution and development of the monocot inflorescence: Using models to understand this umbel-ivable diversity"
March 25 - Greg Stull (Kunming Botanical Garden): TBA
The 18th Smithsonian Botanical Symposium, 13-14 May 2021, to explore plant symbioses
The Smithsonian’s Department of Botany and the United States Botanic Garden will hold the 2021 Smithsonian Botanical Symposium, “Plant symbiosis: The good, the bad, and the complicated,” on 13-14 May 2021. Originally scheduled for May 2020 but canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this symposium will adapt to a virtual setting and be spread over two days.
Plants, like all organisms, exist in collaboration and competition with other life forms. As primary producers, plants form the basis of most food webs. In many cases they also depend on insects, vertebrate animals, bacteria, and/or fungi to survive and reproduce. Sometimes these interactions are especially close and long lasting and such symbioses are among the most fascinating relationships in the natural world. The 18th Smithsonian Botanical Symposium will explore current research in the diversity of plant symbioses, examining the relationships plants have with insects, fungi, bacteria, and even other plants. Speakers will include botanists, ecologists, microbiologists, and geneticists whose research unravels the complicated relationships that plants have with their collaborators and competitors in the natural world.
In addition, the 18th José Cuatrecasas Medal in Tropical Botany will be awarded at the Symposium. This prestigious award is presented annually to an international scholar who has contributed significantly to advancing the field of tropical botany. The award is named in honor of Dr. José Cuatrecasas, a pioneering botanist who spent many years working in the Department of Botany at the Smithsonian and devoted his career to plant exploration in tropical South America.
Attendees will need to register online. Further details will be posted soon.
Plants Are Cool Too!
Chris Martine's series "Plants are Cool Too" presents a behind the scenes in Kauai to look at how the National Tropical Botanical Garden is leading the charge to save rare plants and protect tropical biodiversity. In a second episode, a group of passionate plant people are working to save some of the rarest plants on the archipelago -- and tell us why we need a new generation of biodiversity lovers to help battle the extinction crisis. Our own Warren Wagner is spotlighted in this series.
Newsletter -- The Plant Press is the quarterly newsletter from the Department of Botany and the U.S. National Herbarium. The purpose of The Plant Press is to provide information about the activities of the Department. Included are articles about staff research and travel, visitors, new publications, and plant conservation highlights.