Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Botany faculty Ken Driese, Chris North, and Ramesh Sivanpillai represented the Botany Department in the 2016 Campus Pass event.

Ken Driese and Chris North (right) interacting with potential students
Botany faculty members Ken Driese, Chris North, and Ramesh Sivanpillai described the Botany and Biology degree programs to prospective UW students and their parents during the 2016 Campus Pass event on September 17, 2016 in the UW Student Union.

Campus Pass gives students an opportunity to check out academic programs, talk to faculty and staff members, and learn about other UW services. High school and transfer students inquired about degree programs offered by our department, and we answered their questions on specializations within degree programs, minors, and career opportunities. Campus Pass is an important event for recruiting undergraduate students to Botany and Biology programs.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Botany faculty Ellen Currano’s research accomplishments highlighted by UW President in the State of the University Address

Dr. Currano at an early Eocene site near Dubois, Wyoming

Botany faculty Dr. Ellen Currano’s impressive research accomplishments were recognized by UW President Nichols in her State of the University Address on September 16, 2016.

President Nichols selected one faculty member from each of the eight colleges and described them while highlighting the importance of research and scholarship at UW.

It was a proud moment for the Botany Department and its faculty, staff and students when Ellen was selected to represent the College of Arts & Sciences and her grant funding and peer-reviewed publication records were mentioned in this annual important.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Botany faculy member Currano wins A&S extraordinary merit in Research award

Botany faculty member Dr. Ellen Currano has won the College of A & S extraordinary merit in research award for spring 2016. Dr. Currano studies how ancient forests responded to environmental disturbances. Better understanding of these past changes will help in predicting how present ecosystems could respond to environmental disturbances.

To learn more about her research and other accomplishments, please visit her website at:

Dr. Currano has previously won the Promoting intellectual engagement (PIE) award for inspiring students in first-year courses, and she is also the co-founder of the Bearded Lady Project: Challenging the face of science.
More information about this project can be found at:

Monday, March 7, 2016

Visit UW Williams Conservatory to see plants from different parts of the world

--- Contributed by Meredith Pratt

Tired of the Wyoming wind and cold? Come escape to the tropics in the Williams Conservatory! Plants native to South Africa, Madagascar, Brazil, India, etc. fill the rooms of the conservatory to provide you with an experience foreign to Laramie.

Throughout the year, you will see the beautiful plants like the Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) flowering in the Williams Conservatory. Native to South Africa, this exotic plant grows up to 6 feet fall with large green leaves resembling that of banana plants.


The flower, famous for favoring the crest of a bird, is comprised of three orange and three blue tepals, structures that contain both the sepal and petals. A pollinator in search of nectar, usually a bird, lands on one of the tepals forcing the anthers to emerge from the petals and disperse pollen onto the pollinator’s feet. This pollen is transported to another flower aiding in the reproduction of this beautiful plant. With the design of the flower trapping the pollen, the bird of paradise is given an OPALS (Ogren Plant Allergy Scale) rating of 1, “very low potential to cause allergies.”

Visit Williams Conservatory's Instagram page for other amazing pictures:

Visit Williams Conservatory's webpage for additional details:

Monday, January 25, 2016

Plant Sale - 2016

Saturday Jan 30, 2016
Sale will run from 10 AM - 3 PM or until the plants are gone.
Williams Conservatory, UW

For additional information, contact:

Meredith Pratt
Coordinator, Greenhouse Operations
Williams Conservatory, 
Department of Botany
University of Wyoming

Thursday, November 5, 2015

UW Botany researchers’ share the artistic side of science

Using images acquired from landscape photography to electron microscopy, UW Botany researchers Dr. Marc Brock and Dr. Robert Baker share their perspectives on plant diversity and beauty.

Silene acaulis pollen grain
These stunning images range from the natural aesthetics of the Snowy Range and Medicine Bow mountains to abstract displays that are the products of scientific investigation.

Using Black & White photos and scanning electron microscopy, Brock explores the intricate architecture of pollen grains harvested from plants growing within his landscape images.  

Collections created by Baker include amazing confocal laser scanning micrographs of Brassica rapa, leaf epidermal tissue visualized with compound light microscopy, and whole plant imaging of Arabidopsis thaliana.

Cross section of Brassica rapa root
The exhibit is free and open to the public and will be on display at the Berry Center (10th & Lewis) on the University of Wyoming Campus in Laramie, Wyoming until December 11, 2015. 

More info on UW Berry Biodiversity Center website.

These images are also available for viewing at this website.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Professor Catherine Wagner won the 2015 Theodosius Dobzhansky Prize

A new professor in the Botany Department, Catherine Wagner, won the 2015 Theodosius Dobzhansky Prize. This prize is awarded by the Society of Study of Evolution to "recognize the accomplishments and future promise of an outstanding young evolutionary biologist".

Further details can be found at:

UW press release Oct 8, 2015

The Society of Study of Evolution awards webpage for further details including the previous winners of this prestigious award.

Visit Wagner Lab website to learn more about Katie's research, publications, and graduate research opportunities.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Lander Middle School students learn about non-photosynthetic plants during their visit to UW Botany Department

During the 2015 Wyoming State Science Fair, Botany graduate student and Science Posse Fellow, Nicholas Dowie taught students from Lander Middle School on how plants can survive in the absence of photosynthesis and the lesser known field within botany, fungal biology.

Students learned different features of the nonphotosynthetic plants and examined them both macroscopically and microscopically. These characteristics were then related back to the function of the plant and their reliance on their fungal partners.  Dowie provided an overview of mushroom biology, examples of the vast diversity of edible mushrooms, and how mushrooms can be cultivated.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Botany students trained Lander (Wyoming) Middle School students to measure soil texture

As part of the 2015 Wyoming State Science Fair, Botany graduate students, Christopher Beltz and Caitlin Rottler led one of the enrichment activities where they demonstrated the process of obtaining soil texture to a group of Lander Middle School students.

This activity included both the laboratory and the “feel” method. Students learned how to use a graduated cylinder, hydrometer, and soil sample of a specific mass to determine the percent-by-mass of the sand, silt, and clay. The feel method is commonly used in the field through examining specific features of wet soils in a person’s palms. Soil texture at a given locale is a significant driver of a number of ecosystem functions and can effect which species of plants are able to grow.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Field Ecology: Skills for Science and Beyond - field course in Costa Rica

Dr. Jane Zelikova (Botany Research Scientist) taught the Field Ecology: Skills for Science and Beyond, a four-week field course in Costa Rica. This course uses field problems to drive fast-paced formulation of research questions, experimental design, data collection, analysis, oral presentations, and written papers. 

There is also a strong focus on science communication and collaborative research, the cornerstones of modern research. Students gain concrete skills in research design, the latest in data analysis, and writing, all in the breath-taking tropical setting that is Costa Rica. Long days and late nights, filled with science.

Checkout the video they made that attempts to make a science documentary worth watching:

To watch the short video click on the graphic above or this URL: