Abstract Detail

Beringia!: Current Insights on the Geology, Climate, Paleontology, Floristic Assembly, and Biodiversity of a Subcontinent that is Central to Northern Hemisphere Biogeography

Jordon-Thaden, Ingrid [1], DiNicola, Alexa [2], Sytsma, Kenneth [3].

Beringian Field Botany: course design for phylogeography and population genetics learning.

Training the botanists of tomorrow is imperative to the future of our field. Botanists are needed for assessing landscapes and habitats for governmental and industrial purposes as well as the continued need to explore species and their distribution to understand evolutionary processes and document biodiversity loss. This course at UW-Madison has been designed to bring upper-level undergraduates and graduate students outdoors to learn the basics of field collections for phylogenetic and population genetic studies. The expedition will be visiting Interior Alaska and the Seward Peninsula, both areas that were relatively unglaciated during the Ice Ages. We are focused on studying the phylogeography of disjunct species or groups of species of North America that were genetically and repeatedly diversified due to the repeated rise and fall of the sea level thus regularly exposing the Beringian Land Bridge during the Quaternary epoch. The field trip involves collecting herbarium and material for genetic analysis of targeted species selected by participants in the seminar course prior to the field trip. More importantly, the course focuses on teaching the students how to develop a field trip plan for a specific purpose and the logistics of making such a plan. Enrolled students have been driving the initial investigations for proposed field studies and get regular updates about logistical details. This direct involvement in the planning gives them invaluable knowledge in how to carry out a project like this in the future and understand the insurmountable costs and energy of putting together an expedition. Students often feel unprepared for planning and executing their own field work, and their mentors rely on informal discussions and personal contacts to make field trips happen. Courses multi-day trips like this should be encouraged and funding should be provided by departments, colleges, universities, states, or the federal government to prepare future botanists for the challenges ahead. During this presentation, I will discuss the process of selecting species, localities, determining the permitting requests needed, and the logistics of planning a trip with multiple people for a multi-week trip. This contrasts with the more common teaching method of having students sign up for a field trip with very little involvement in the project or planning. Lastly, the trip is followed up with sample processing in herbaria as a group to grasp the need for prompt follow-up on collections and by population genetic analyses of selected species.

1 - University Of Wisconsin Madison, Botany, 430 Lincoln Drive, 144 Birge Hall, Madison, WI, 53706, United States
2 - University Of Wisconsin-Madison, UW-Madison Department Of Botany, 132 Birge Hall, 430 Lincoln Dr., Madison, WI, 53706, United States
3 - University Of Wisconsin, Department Of Botany, Birge Hall, 430 Lincoln Drive, Madison, WI, 53706, United States

Field Botany
herbarium specimens
population genetics

Presentation Type: Symposium Presentation
Number: S1006
Abstract ID:788
Candidate for Awards:None

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