Abstract Detail

Education and Outreach

Ackerfield, Jennifer [1].

The Mystery of the Mountaintop Thistle.

The assessment and ultimate preservation of biodiversity is reliant upon a well-delineated taxonomy based on a robust morphological and molecular systematic framework. In particular, the identification of new species is essential to providing accurate biodiversity estimates. Cirsium (i.e., “thistles”) has historically been one of the most taxonomically challenging groups of Compositae (Asteraceae) in North America. However, recent research has helped resolve several taxonomic issues, including the identification of new species. One of these new species is Cirsium funkiae, also known as the funky thistle or Funk’s thistle, named in honor of Dr. Vicki Funk. This talk will tell the story behind the discovery of the funky thistle using a combination of molecular, morphological, and geographical evidence as well as a bit of good old fashioned detective work. After this species was officially described and published, the funky thistle became a viral new sensation. This talk will also highlight the importance and impact of science communication to the general public, and provide insight into ways you can promote your own research. Ultimately, thistle help clarify thistle taxonomy, increase species biodiversity, and increase public awareness of native thistles.

1 - Denver Botanic Gardens, 909 York Street, Denver, CO, 80206, USA

Science communication
species delimitation
Funky thistle.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Number: EO1010
Abstract ID:146
Candidate for Awards:None

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