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GIS Mentor Projects

CBG Summer Intern (2018)

There are a wide number of potential projects for a student to work under at the Chicago Botanic Garden. We try our best to give them a broad experience of the Science and the Scientific process while they are at the Gardens.



Diversity Lost: Using Herbarium specimens to investigate diversity in now extinct populations of Eastern Fringed Prairie Orchid (Platanthera luecophaea) (2016)

Project Description:


Habitat fragmentation of Midwestern prairies has lead to the loss of large tracks of once contiguous prairies. Orchids species have been particularly impacted by the loss of their habitat, which is the reason they often considered bio-indicators of high quality ecosystems and are of special conservation concern. Platanthera leucophaea (The Eastern Fringed Prairie


Using GIS in the English Walled Garden to identify environmental factors contributing to plant loss (2016)

This GIS project is focused on analyzing the English Walled Garden using the reports of dead plants.  We suspect there are more than one ‘dead zones’ where environmental factors are not conducive to plant longevity. 



Developing genetically appropriate seed mixes of vulnerable plant species for restoration (2015)

Vulnerable plant species, which are often classified as rare or endangered in certain parts of their ranges, are unique in that they are neither common, nor highly threatened with extinction. However, local populations are often small and fragmented, which makes them ideal candidates for restoration. Threatened by climate change, habitat destruction, limited gene flow between fragmented


Analysis of breadfruit domestication (Artocarpus altilis, Moraceae) (2014)

Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis, Moraceae), a traditional staple crop in Oceania, is poised to become an important international crop in the coming century, with major implications for food security in the tropical developing world. Previous research by Zerega et al. identified the wild progenitor of breadfruit (A. camansi) as well as a domestication gradient from New Guinea east into Polynesia


Impacts of Climate Change on Germination of Native Species. (2014)

Investigating Plant Regeneration Responses along an Environmental Gradient: This project aims to examine variation in tolerance range for dormancy break, germination of seeds, and establishment of seedlings, in order to compare contemporary and future regeneration within the context of climate change. Currently, very little is known about how altered environmental cues will impact plant


Genetic variation and spatial distribution of Castilleja species along the west coast of the United States. (2013)

Castilleja is a taxonomically tricky and morphologically variable plant genus in the western United States. The species in this genus have been known to naturally hybridize and have overlapping ranges yet are considered distinct from one another. We will be comparing the genetic variation within a population of Castilleja species and among populations of Castilleja species on the west coast


Nutrient assimilation and management practice in communities of Cypripedium candidum in the Chicago Region (2013)

Orchids belong to one of the most abundant families on earth and tend to be very specific in their habitats. Many exotic species are commercially grown in greenhouses, but our local terrestrial species are not so easily domesticated. As a result, their preservation is challenging, and conventional reintroduction and restoration techniques are intractable for many species. We do know that


Optimizing ecological niche models for studies of evolution in neotropical legumes (2013)

Ecological niche modeling, also known as species distribution modeling, has emerged as a powerful tool in ecology and evolutionary biology. The technique combines occurrence records of a species together with climatic or other environmental variables to produce a model of the species fundamental niche. The model is then applied to geographic space to approximate the species abiotically


Using spatial analysis and GIS to investigate patterns in rare plants monitored by the Chicago Botanic Garden's Plants of Concern Program (2013)

The Plants of Concern (POC) Program (www.plantsofconcern.org) monitors 237 species of the Chicago Region's endangered, threatened, and rare plants, assesses long-term trends in rare plant species, and provides data on plant response to management activities and environmental threats to over 112 partner landowners and managers for conservation


Using spatial analysis and GIS to investigate patterns in rare plants (2012)

The Plants of Concern (POC) Program (www.plantsofconcern.org) monitors over 225 species of the Chicago Region's endangered, threatened, and rare plants, assesses long-term trends in rare plant species, and provides data on plant response to management activities and environmental threats to over 70 partner landowners and managers for conservation