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Plant Systematics & Florisitic Mentor Projects

Genetic Diversity and Variation in Populations of the Endangered Cactus Sclerocactus wrightiae (2018)

The effects of herbivory on genetic diversity in rare and endemic plants has not been studied in depth. Climate change models predict an increase in new pests and disease due to increased temperatures and CO2; expanding the range of pests. Sclerocactus wrightiae is an endangered cactus endemic the Colorado Plateau (Capitol Reef National Park & surrounding areas). In 2015 an


Analyses of large-scale datasets in diatoms, an essential group of photosynthetic organisms. (2017)

The Wickett lab invites interested undergraduates to apply for an REU in computational bioinformatics and phylogenomics. We are currently investigating the nearly 200 million year history of diatoms, a fascinating group of unicellular organisms that number between 100-200,000 species, and account for around 1/5th of global photosynthesis. Our lab primarily utilizes cutting edge software for


Dry communities of the Midwest - Plant traits that make you successful in a xeric and fragmented habitat (2016)

The gravel hills support a unique plant community more similar to short grass prairies of the West rather than mesic prairies of the surrounding areas. These habitats are often small and isolated habitats which have been naturally fragmented for many years. We are interested in what are the traits that have allowed these species to colonize these areas and persist in these areas. As these


Growing apart?: Documenting range-wide floral variation to investigate a possible pollinator shift in Castilleja sessiliflora (2016)

The adaptation of plants to different kinds of pollinators is considered a driving force of the floral diversity seen among angiosperms. Shifts between pollinators that are accompanied by changes in floral traits provide a key opportunity to investigate the role of pollinators in driving floral trait evolution. Many studies of pollinator shifts, however, fail to address changes in pollinators


Integrated Conservation of an Orchid Rich Habitat in Door County Wisconsin (2016)

Door County Wisconsin lies along the Niagara Escarpment, resulting in a diverse flora, which is particularly rich in orchid species. 26 of the 49 orchid species native to Wisconsin are found at the Ridges Sanctuary in Bailey Harbor. The populations of many species found with the Ridges are slowly dwindling, and this project will focus upon the active restoration of two of these iconic species


Mycorrhizal symbioses of the Amaryllidaceae (2016)

The Amarylloids are a large and diverse group of perennial plants (59 genera, > 800 species) in the order Asparagales, and are distributed primarily in tropical and subtropical areas.  Many species are cultivated as garden ornamentals or pot plants, including the belladonna lily (Amaryllis belladonna), daffodil (Narcissus), zephyr lilies (Zephyrastrum), and ‘


Plants of Concern (2016)

Plants of Concern is a regional rare plant monitoring program designed to assess long-term trends in rare plant species. It is a flexible collaboration of public and non-governmental conservation agencies, landowners and volunteer groups, guided by an advisory group of land managers, scientists and volunteers.



Evaluating Urban Natural Area Reconstruction and Management (2015)

Restoration of natural areas and native plant communities is challenging, especially in urban areas. Practitioners often rely on experience and anecdotal evidence when making management decisions to meet their goals. In constructed ecosystems, these rules don’t always apply. Monitoring species diversity and plant community composition is one way to quantitatively evaluate our restoration and


Assessing Ravine Flora (2014)

The Plants of Concern (POC) program (plantsofconcern.org) monitors and assesses long-term trends for over 200 species of the Chicago Region's endangered, threatened, and rare plants species, and provides this data to partner landowners and managers for conservation decision making. POC also contributes to regional projects aimed at understanding and


Moss Genomics - New techniques for old lineages (2014)

Research in the Wickett lab makes use of high-throughput (next generation) DNA sequencing and bioinformatics to gain insight into how genome and gene-family diversification is related to the evolution of morphological, ecological, and molecular novelty in plants. In particular, we are currently sequencing genomes and transcriptomes to understand how genomic processes such as polyploidy, gene


Assessing Ravine Flora (2013)

The Plants of Concern (POC) program (plantsofconcern.org) monitors and assesses long-term trends for over 200 species of the Chicago Region's endangered, threatened, and rare plants species, and provides this data to partner landowners and managers for conservation decision making. POC also contributes to regional projects aimed at understanding and conserving native flora. Lake Michigan


Moss genomic research (2013)

Research in the Wickett lab makes use of high-throughput (next generation) DNA sequencing and bioinformatics to gain insight into how genome and gene-family diversification is related to the evolution of morphological, ecological, and molecular novelty in plants. In particular, we are currently sequencing genomes and transcriptomes to understand how genomic processes such as polyploidy, gene


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


Phylogenetic revision of the genera Artocarpus (2013)

The plant genus, Artocarpus is distributed from South Asia east into Oceania, and is the third largest genus (55 68 spp.) in the Moraceae family (fig and mulberry). Artocarpus contains several species of economic and agricultural significance throughout the tropics. While many species produce timber or fruits of regional significance, two species are cultivated throughout the tropics:


Characterization of Floral community within Gravel Hills (2012)

Gravel Hills are a rare fragmented habitat in the Upper midwest, and as a consequence they have a high frequency of species identified as rare or threatened. What makes this interesting is that this is a naturally fragmented habitat and therefore many of the species which are found on these hills have evolved to survive in this type of condition. As native ecosystems become increasingly