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:

Thursday, February 19, 2015

UW Botany Researcher’s work on relating circadian clocks and plant traits published in PNAS

Matt Rubin (front), former graduate student and co-author of this paper, in the field
Daily rhythms of gene expression are thought to benefit most organisms by ensuring that biological processes are activated at the optimal time of day. UW Botany professor Dr. Cynthia Weinig and her former graduate student Matt Rubin showed that natural genetic variation at circadian clock genes regulates plant traits of agricultural importance, such as size.  This study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a prestigious multidisciplinary journal, on Jan 20, 2015.

Link to this article:

Link to Dr. Weinig’s lab:

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Bearded Lady Project: Challenging the Face of Science

Dr. Ellen Currano, our newest faculty member, has become involved in outreach activities promoting the participation of women in science.

She is the lead subject and scientific consultant for The Bearded Lady Project: Challenging the Face of Science, a collaboration with film director Lexi Jamieson Marsh and photographer Kelsey Vance.

This documentary film and photographic project will celebrate “the work of female paleontologists and highlighting the challenges and obstacles they face”.

Please visit the website to watch photos, trailers, and go behind the scenes to learn more about this project.

Prospective graduate students interested in pursuing field-based paleobotanical research in Wyoming are encouraged to email her.