Climate change alters plant mating systems

Matthew Austin‘s new open access paper in the American Journal of Botany on how climate has affected plant mating systems is making waves! Using herbarium specimens, Matt found that over the last 100 years, the rate of cleistogamy (asexual flowering) has decreased among Viola sororia, the common blue violet. This change was predicted by increases …
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In search of refuge

From outlaw bandit Jesse James to microclimate–please enjoy a mini-documentary on our microrefugia project! Update: This mini-documentary won Bronze in the Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s Circle of Excellence competition!

Battle or synergy of the changes? Land use/land cover change versus climate change

UPDATE: Our article received Honorable Mention for Landscape Ecology‘s Best Article of 2021! Historically, climate change vulnerability assessments have been just that–assessments of how species are expected to be affected by climate change. Nonetheless, even if anthropogenic climate were not occurring, Earth would still be in the throes of a human-generated mass extinction, mostly due …
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What can community ecologists learn from species distribution models?

Stephen Murphy and Adam Smith are happy to see their article on how community ecologists can employ species distribution models to crack hard questions in community ecology! What can community ecology learn from species distribution models? [open access]Murphy, S.J. and Smith, A.B. 2021. Ecosphere 12:e03864. doi: 10.1002/ecs2.3864

Introduction to retroactive georeferencing of herbarium and museum specimens

Watch a video tutorial on the point-radius method, a standardized set of protocols for interpreting a verbal description of a location, plus calculating the uncertainty inherent in the description and the manner in which it is interpreted! This video introduces the point-radius method and a set of tools for implementing it. The method was originally …
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Welcome to Lauren and Ethan!

We are very happy to be the new academic homes of Lauren Jenkins and Ethan Abercrombie! Lauren will be working on an NSF-sponsored project comparing methods for reconstructing species’ biogeographic histories. Ethan is a grad student at Washington University in Saint Louis doing a lab rotation focusing on community thermophilizaton. Welcome, Lauren and Ethan!

An odd disjunction

Range disjunctions are common in the natural world and, in eastern North America, are thought to arise from barriers formed by the Mississippi River embayment, vicariance due to glacial flooding during the Pleistocene, colonization from separate glacial refugia, or long-distance dispersal in recent times. Led by Rebekah Mohn and Christy Edwards, our new paper in …
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How to correct for collector-specific bias when modeling species’ distributions

It is well-known that herbarium and museum specimen records provide imperfect, and often biased, snapshots of where species occur. To date, a number of bias-correction methods exist, some from the species distribution modeling (SDM) framework based on data filtering and some from the occupancy modeling (OM) framework based on collector-specific covariates. However, we don’t really …
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Thank you, Alan Graham

We are very sad to announce the passing of Alan Graham, Ph.D., a renowned paleobotanist and great supporter of the Global Change Conservation Lab here at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Alan was a thoughtful, witty, and generous person who elevated himself above his circumstances, as detailed in his autobiography. Accomplishment in science was a key …
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Common gardens: A lens into local adaptation

We are happy to announce the publication of a review article in Journal of Ecology on the use of common gardens for understanding local adaptation, with a focus on grasslands. Interesting facts: The modal study employing common gardens used a single tree species growing in a monoculture sourced from three sites and growing at one …
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Matt Austin: Climate versus phenology on STL Public Radio

A pack of old, yellowed papers… puzzling species names… and some sleuthing led Matt and colleagues to uncover how climate change is affecting pollen transfer within and between species and perhaps inducing greater selfing over the past 80 years. Matt’s research and the wider story were recently covered by Saint Louis Public Radio!

Congratulations to Kelsey!

Kelsey has received the prestigious Shirley A. Graham Fellowship in Systematic Botany and Biogeography! She will be working this summer disentangling the relative influences of taxonomy, climate, geography, and mating system on flowering phenology of Leavenworthia. Congratulations, Kelsey!

Madagascar, and hope in conservation

What is the fate of Madagascar’s rainforest habitat, and how do you keep going emotionally, when the world is burning? Jeannie Raharimampionona and Adam recently chatted with Sarah Fenske of St Louis on the Air to talk about things far away and close to home.