The Arnold Arboretum is pleased to announce that Dr. Stacey Young was awarded a Putnam Fellowship to conduct independent research utilizing the Arboretum’s living collection of plants. Dr. Young received her PhD from the University of Connecticut where her work examined invasive plant species in New England. Her research comparing American bittersweet (Celastrus scandens) with the invasive oriental bittersweet (C. orbiculatus) first ignited her interest in lianas (woody vines). As Putnam Fellow, Dr. Young will pursue this interest by studying temperate lianas in the Leventritt Shrub and Vine Collection.
As a group, lianas are generally understudied, so knowledge of lianas require to succeed or fail in a given environment is limited. Why, for example, is species diversity in lianas so poor in North America compared to East Asian plant communities? Utilizing the Arboretum’s holdings of both North American and East Asian liana species, Dr. Young will investigate the similarities and differences in functional traits when grown in a common environment. Detailed knowledge of leaf area, wood density, functional traits including seed dispersal, and ecological traits such as leaf out time will provide data to compare and contrast the ecological and reproductive strategies of lianas, and perhaps shed light on why some lianas are so successful.
The Katharine H. Putnam Fellowships in Plant Science are made possible by the generosity of George and Nancy Putnam through the Putnam Fellows Fund.