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Arnold Arboretum

Research News


July 2014: Rebecca Povilus was awarded the Katherine Esau Award for best student presentation from the Developmental and Structural Section at the Botanical Society of America’s – Botany 2014 conference. Congratulations Becky!
Ailene Ettinger July 2014: Ailene Ettinger, Michael Dosmann and others discuss how climate change will affect urban trees on WGBH news. more »
Sally_AApic June 2014: Harvard undergraduate Sally Gee was awarded a Grants-in-Aid Award. Working on a summer research project with Ailene Ettinger and Elizabeth Wolkovich, Sally will focus on collecting and analyzing trait data from various trees at the Arboretum. Congratulations Sally!
Wolkovich May 2014: Elizabeth Wolkovich discusses the arrival of spring, climate research and more in a interview with the Harvard Gazette. more »
April 2014: Juan Losada describes flowering in Magnolia, from floral evolution to reproduction, in the current issue of Arnoldia. pdf»
StaceyonLadder April 2014: Stacey Leicht Young describes her current research on lianas (woody vines) in Silva. pdf »
Wolkovich March 2014: Published in AoB Plants, Elizabeth Wolkovich and colleagues examine the links between phenology, functional traits and the role of stress during a growing season in order to develop models to predict the drivers of successful invasion. abstract »
Ailene Ettinger March 2014:  Ailene Ettinger and Jessica Savage were awarded Arnold Arboretum Putnam Fellowships. Congratulations! more »
david_des_marais.jpg  February 2014: Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, David Des Marais and colleagues identified an interesting role of allelic variation in driving variation in water use efficiency. Comparing two natural genotypes of Arabidopsis thaliana, they found that a single amino acid substitution in the protein, MPK12,resulted in differing responses to environmental cues. abstract »
Wolkovich February 2014: Elizabeth Wolkovich was chosen as a runner-up for the New Phytologist Tansley Medal. This award honors scientists who have made outstanding contributions to their field within five years of receiving their Ph.D. Congratulations Lizzie! more » In an accompanying minireview, Lizzie and colleagues focused on recent interest in integrating independent studies in ecology, climate science and evolution to better predict plant phenology. abstract »
Peter Del Tredici January 2014: After 35 years at the Arboretum, senior research scientist Peter Del Tredici is retiring. Congratulations Peter! Fortunately for us, Peter will still be an active Arboretum participant as he brings his GSD students to the Arboretum and attends research talks. more »
January 2014: In order for fertilization to occur, the pollen tube must maneuver through various maternal tissues as it travels from the stigma to the embryo sac. In the current issue of BMC Plant Biology, Juan Losada and María Herrero examined the characteristics of pollen tube growth and its interaction with maternal tissues in domesticated apple (Malus x domestica). abstract »
Hopkins January 2014: Robin Hopkins and Elizabeth Wolkovich joined the Arboretum as assistant professors in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. With a joint appointment at the Arboretum, their research programs will be based at Weld Hill. Welcome Robin and Lizzie! more »


September 2013: Ned Friedman introduces two natural mutants found in the Arboretum’s living collection in Arnoldia. One, Cercis canadensis, accession 10-68-B, is an eastern redbud that has developed a spontaneous mutation in flower color on a single branch. Another natural mutation is observed in Kalmia latifolia, accession 2458. The petals of this flower have been converted to stamens complete with pollen production. pdf »
August 2013: In the current issue of Silva, Faye Rosin introduces the 2013 recipients of the Arnold Arboretum fellowships and awards which foster independent and collaborative research using the collections. pdf»
July 2013: Featured on the cover of Annals of Applied Biology, Juan Losada and María Herrero examined multiple factors influencing flowering and fruit development in Malus (apples). Of the factors examined, they found that the programic phase (the time between pollination and fertilization) was the most important for final fruit set. abstract »
StaceyonLadder June 2013: Stacey Leicht Young was awarded an Arnold Arboretum Putnam Fellowship. Stacey will examine the ecological and reproductive strategies required for lianas (woody vines) to be successful in its environment utilizing the Arboretum’s Leventritt Shrub and Vine collection. more »
June 2013: Ned Friedman and Andrew Groover received funding from New Phytologist to host a symposium entitled “The Genomes of Trees – New Frontiers in Forest Biology”. The symposium will be hosted at the Arnold Arboretum in Spring 2015. Congratulations!
May 2013: On the cover of American Journal of Botany, Sarah Mathews and coworkers shed light on the phylogeny of the Orobanchaceae. Many members of this plant family are either hemi- or holoparasitic, meaning that they rely on hosts for part or all of their lives. The phylogenetic results showed that there was single origin of parasitism.  abstract »
campbell_webb May 2013: In an effort to make existing phylogenetic information more accessible,  Cam Webb participated in a hackathon. The group developed proof-of-concept software, phylotastic, that aims to allow users to build custom phylogenies based on the specific needs of the user. abstract »
May 2013: In the American Journal of Botany, Ned Friedman andJulien Bachelier clarified seed development in Trimenia, a member of an ancient lineage of flowering plants, the AustrobaileyalesPreviously, it was believed that the embryo-nourishing tissues in Trimenia may include both a perisperm and an endosperm; however, this study revealed that the endosperm is the main nutrient-storing tissue. abstract »
April 2013: Visiting Fellow Stephanie Conway explains what it means to be a gymnosperm in Arnoldia. pdf»
April 2013: Published in the Journal of Experimental BotanyGuangyou Hao, Arnold Arboretum Putnam Fellow, and colleagues describe new methods to measure water-related process, such as embolism formation and hydraulic vulnerability, directly in the trunks of large trees. Previously, these types of measurements were limited to small branches or leaves. abstract»
Cary Pirone April 2013: Published in Applications in Plant Sciences, Arboretum Putnam Fellow Cary Pirone and colleagues extracted and identified dozens of protein classes that are present in the pollination drops of eight different gymnosperm species. These results open up a new path to understanding the function of pollination drops.  abstract »
April 2013: A master’s student at the Harvard Extension School, Kevin Block completed his thesis evaluating the susceptibility of a new hemlock species, the Ulleung hemlock, to hemlock woolly adelgid, Adelges tsugae. Congratulations Kevin! abstract»
Peter Del Tredici March 2013: Peter Del Tredici will be awarded the prestigious Veitch Memorial Medal by the Royal Horticultural Society in May. Congratulations Peter! more »
March 2013: Juan Losada  and John DelRosso describe their recent collecting trip to Australia in Silva. The duo collected seeds of Austrobaileya, one of the most ancient lineages of flowering plants. pdf »
March 2013: Guangyou Hao, Arnold Arboretum Putnam Fellow is studying the physiological difference between conifers that drop their leaves and those that don’t. Read about his research in Silva. pdf »
March 2013: Elizabeth Ryan writes in Silva about her summer at the Arboretum as a Visiting Fellow researching plant distributions in the face of climate change. pdf »
February 2013: Ned Friedman published a perspective for Science describing new work by Sakakibara et al. in which a key gene was found to regulate the alteration of generations in the moss Physcomitrella patens. abstract »
February 2013: Juan Losada and María Herrero examined the dynamics of the fertilization process in multiple flowers in the same inflorescence. Depending on the location within the inflorescence, there were differences in the timing and length of stigma receptivity, ensuring reproductive success in varying environmental conditions. Results are published in Scientia Horticulturae. abstract »
January 2013: Chi-Chiu Wu, Pam Diggle, and Ned Friedman examined the role of the relationship between the endosperm and the embryo on seed development in maize. The results are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. abstract »
January 2013: Angiosperms that are less than 30 meters in height have tremendous variation in leaf size, however, the size range for plants greater than 30 meters is much narrower. By modeling the physical constraints on carbohydrate transport, Maciej Zwieniecki and Kaare Jensen developed a theory to explain these differences. The work is published in Physical Review Letters and featured in Science Now and APS. abstract »


campbell_webb December 2012: Barcoding plant species has enormous potential to help identify known species in forest plots and new species found in the wild. Cam Webb and colleagues published a detailed protocol in Methods in Molecular Biology detailing how to utilize barcoding for ecology and systematics.  abstract »
Noeline Morrissey December 2012: Noeline Morrissey, a master’s student in the Friedman Lab, completed her thesis comparing the trichomes of Humulus lupulus and Humulus japonicus. Congratulations Noeline! abstract »
December 2012: In new work published in New Phytologist, Guangyou Hao and colleagues compared the hydraulics of diploid, tetraploid, and hexaploid Atriplex canescens. They found that increased ploidy levels (extra sets of chromosomes) was associated with greater resistance to drought-induced hydraulic failure. abstract »
campbell_webb December 2012: Cam Webb and colleagues analyzed widely available data and found host preferences, numbers, and ranges of plant pests and pathogens can be correlated with phylogenetics to assess the risk of specific plant species being susceptible to particular pests. The research is published in Evolutionary Applicationsabstract »
October 2012: A cover story in New Phytologist presents research by recent visiting scientist Rob Baker, Lena Hilman, and Pam Diggle focusing on the evolution of shoot architecture. Using two populations of Mimulus guttatus, they examined the molecular developmental pathways within and among populations, where genetic divergence, adaptation, and speciation occur. abstract »
October 2012: Sarah Mathews, Chuck Davis, and colleagues published a new phylogeny of the Malpighiales. With an additional 12 clades, the resolution of the phylogeny was greatly increased. The results are published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencesabstract »
October 2012: As seedlings, some species of Ficus grow on other plants high in the canopy (an hemiepiphytic growth habit).  Guangyou Hao and colleagues tested the hypothesis that hemiepiphytic growth is an adaptation for shade avoidance, but determined that it is instead a method to avoid risks associated with terrestrial growth while they are small. Results are published in Physiologia Plantarum. abstract »
September 2012: Beginning a new phase of his career, Maciej Zwieniecki accepted a faculty appointment at the University of California, Davis. Congratulations Maciej!
September 2012: Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Sarah Mathews and coworkers explored the phylogenetic relationships of conifers by including the fossil record. They found strong evidence that Northern Hemisphere lineages had higher rates of speciation and extinction compared to those in the Southern Hemisphere. abstract »
August 2012: In an interview in Silva, Faye Rosin discusses how the Arnold Arboretum fellowships and awards foster independent and collaborative research using the collections.  pdf »
July 2012: A new study by Ned Friedman, Peter del Tredici, and colleagues from the University of Colorado was featured in the Harvard Gazette. With help from arborist John Del Rosso, the study involved sampling Arboretum ginkgos from top to bottom in the first-ever effort to define the entire community of microbes of a tree. more »
Francesca Secchi July 2012:Francesca Secchi and Maciej Zwieniecki developed a new approach to compare liquid collected from functional vessels or non-functional vessels in poplar trees (Populus nigra). This approach, published in Plant Physiology, provides new insights into the biology of recovery from drought stress.  abstract »
July 2012: Julien Bachelier and colleagues examined the genetic changes leading to the loss of self-incompatibility in Arabidopsis kamchatica, a wild allotetraploid species. The results are published in PLoS Genetics. abstract »
July 2012: In new research featured on the cover of Annals of Botany, Juan Losada and María Herrero focused on the secretion of arabinogalactan proteins (AGPs) and the role in the acquisition of stigmatic receptivity in domestic apples. abstract »
July 2012: Maciej Zwieniecki and colleague used the leaf fossil record to examine the relationship between CO2 levels and plant evolution. The results are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencesabstract »
July 2012: Rebecca Povilus was awarded the Best Student Poster Award (Developmental and Structural Section) at the Botanical Society of America’s (BSA) – Botany 2012 conference. Congratulations Becky! poster »
July 2012: Using a phylogenetic approach, Sarah Mathews and Donna Tremonte compared far-red, high-irradiance response of seedlings in new work published in the International Journal of Plant Sciences. abstract »
June 2012: In Frontiers in Plant Evolution and Development, Michael Dosmann and Andrew Groover published an article highlighting the use of living collections in evolutionary developmental biology or “evo-devo” studies.  abstract »
Rose Lincoln /Harvard University Staff Photographer June 2012: Published in the American Journal of Botany, co-authors Ned Friedman, Julien Bachelier, and Iñaki Hormaza followed the developing embryo from fertilization to seed dormancy in Trithuria submersa, a tiny aquatic plant belonging to the ancient angiosperm lineage Nymplaeales. abstract »
June 2012: Guangyou Hao was awarded an Arnold Arboretum Putnam Fellowship. Dr. Hao will study the differences in the structural, physiological, and mechanical properties of water transport and xylem hydraulics between evergreen and deciduous conifers. more »
June 2012: Julien Bachelier and colleagues closely examined inflorescence and flower development in members of the Ranunculaceae (Ranunculus, Ceratocephala, Halerpestes, and Oxygraphis). The results are published in the journal Plant Systematics and Evolution. abstract »
May 2012: A paper published in Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden by Maciej Zwieniecki and colleagues was awarded the William Skinner Cooper Award by the Ecological Society of America. abstract»
May 2012: Rebecca Povilus passed her preliminary exam, making her an official PhD. candidate in the Friedman Lab. Congratulations Becky!
May 2012: Published in the Journal of Ecology, research by Stuart Davies and colleagues found that resource availability in soils is important for determining trait distribution and diversification within communities. abstract»
April 2012: A graduate student in the Friedman and Diggle Labs at the University of Colorado,  Chi-Chiu Wu passed his PhD defense. His research focused on female gametophyte development and double fertilization in Balsas teosinte, a wild relative of domesticated corn, and the effect of genetic relatedness of an endosperm on maize seed development. Congratulations Chi-Chiu!
March 2012: In SilvaFaye Rosin discusses the tremendous opportunities present at the Arnold Arboretum for research and education. pdf »
Peter Del Tredici March 2012: In an interview with Landscape Urbanism, Peter Del Tredici highlights resilience of spontaneous plants to urban conditions and their importance in providing environmental services. more »
March 2012: Using both phylogenetic and functional traits, Stuart Davies and colleagues compared turnover in the composition of two different ecosystems (disturbed vs. undisturbed). The work published in Ecology concluded that including functional data aids in predicting future compositional changes. abstract»
March 2012: Sarah Mathews and Elena Kramer published a “Tansley review” in New Phytologist that pulls from developmental genetics to examine the evolution of seed plant reproductive structures. abstract »
March 2012: To support their research utilizing the Arboretum’s collections of living plants, herbarium specimens, and extensive library and archival resources, research awards were bestowed on Dr. Jorge Lora and Dr. Bharti Sharma (Jewett Prize), graduate student Laura Lagomarsino (Deland Award for Student Research) and Dr. Hugh McAllister and Dr. Claire Williams (Sargent Award). more »
March 2012: Focusing on the role of hormone transport in the interaction with symbiotic fungi, new research by Julien Bachelier and colleagues from Switzerland was published in Nature. abstract »
January 2012: Recent visiting scientist and Deland Award Recipient Juan Losada passed his PhD defense from the Aula Dei Experimental Station–CSIC, Spain. His graduate research focused on the events between pollination and fertilization, primarily the role of arabinogalactan proteins in pollen-pistil interactions in Malus and other genera in the Arboretum’s living collection.
January 2012: Recent visiting scientist Rob Baker passed his PhD defense. As a graduate student in the Diggle Lab at the University of Colorado, he focused on the evolution of shoot architecture by examining the molecular developmental pathways within and among populations, where genetic divergence, adaptation, and speciation occur. Congratulations Rob!
January 2012: A paper on the age of Arabidopsis thaliana by Mark Beilstein, Sarah Mathews, and colleagues was highlighted at as a “New Hot Paper” in the area of plant and animal science. This means that the paper, published in October 2010, was one of the most-cited papers in this area in the last two years. abstract »


December 2011: Arboretum associate Rob Baker and Pam Diggle published new work in the American Journal of Botany examining the differences in shoot architecture between two populations of Mimulus guttatus. One population has a highly branched perennial lifestyle, while plants from the other population are less branched and annual. They found that shifts in the timing of reproduction play a role in the different patterns of branching. abstract »
campbell_webb December 2011: Cam Webb and coworkers published an overview on the status of e-Flora Malesiana. Floras contain detailed treatments of plant families including taxonomy, habit and other information. The overview was published in the Gardens’ Bulletin Singapore 63: 189-195.
Francesca Secchi November 2011: The transportation of water through xylem cells can occasionally be blocked by air bubbles in a process called embolism. In new work published in Plant Physiology, Francesca Secchi and Maciej Zwieniecki shed light on the mechanisms involved in embolism repair by examining global transcription profiles in poplar trees (Populus trichocarpa). abstract »
October 2011: New research published in Science by Sarah Mathews and colleagues reveals that the living cycads were not present during the time of the dinosaurs, but rather are only ~12 million years old.  more » abstract » npr interview »
Peter Del Tredici October 2011: Peter Del Tredici and his research on Ginkgo biloba was featured in Harvard Magazine. more »
August 2011: Maciej Zwieniecki is co-organizing a workshop entitled “Physics and Physiology of Phloem Transport” that will bring together physicists and biologists to tackle issues in this important phenomenon. The workshop will take place October 10-12 in Copenhagen, Denmark at the Niels Bohr International Academy in collaboration with the Center for Fluid Dynamics at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU).
Cary Pirone August 2011: Cary Pirone, Arboretum Putnam Fellow, highlights her research on pollination in gymnosperms in Silva pdf »
Peter Del Tredici August 2011: Peter Del Tredici discusses the importance of the long term research goals for the Bussey Brook Meadow, the Arboretum’s urban wild in Silva.  pdf»
Rose Lincoln /Harvard University Staff Photographer July 2011: An article from co-authors Julien Bachelier and Ned Friedman, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was recommended by the Faculty of 1000. more » abstract »
CTFS-AA Working group July 2011: The NSF-funded “Analytical Workshop and Symposium” in China organized by CTFS-SIEGO is bringing together more than 60 researchers and students from 16 countries. The participants will analyze data to answer questions about forest ecology. more »
July 2011: Maciej Zwieniecki was named a Specialty Chief Editor for the online open access journal Frontiers in Plant Biophysics and Modeling. In an accompanying article, he and co-author Jacques Dumais review progress and challenges in plant biophysics. abstract »
campbell_webb July 2011: The distribution of plant species in the Sundalan shows marked differences between the western (Malay Peninsula and Sumatra) and eastern (Borneo) areas. Cam Webb and associates analyzed 111 tree inventories and found evidence that exposed sea-beds formed a barrier to species dispersal between the two regions. The work is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. abstract »
Deland Awards for Student Research June 2011: To support their research in the living collection, students Juan Losada (Aula Dei Experimental Station–CSIC, Spain), Mariana Oliveira e Castro (University of Coimbra, Portugal), and Preeti Rao (Boston University) were granted Deland Awards for Student Research. more »
campbell_webb June 2011: Borneo is a biodiversity hotspot with the highest rate of forest clearance and degradation in the world. With opportunities to prevent extinctions dwindling, Cam Webb and colleagues proposed a policy framework for forest restoration, published in Conservation Letters.  abstract »
June 2011: In an article published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Julien Bachelier and Ned Friedman show that in Trimenia moorei, an ancient linage of woody vines, the females, not the males, compete for reproduction. more » abstract »
June 2011: Elena Kramer, currently on sabbatical at Weld Hill, received a NSF grant to use the new model system Aquilegia (columbine) to investigate the evolution and function of floral novelties. As outreach for the grant, Elena will utilize the plant’s recently sequenced genome to lead a module for the Crimson Summer Academy, a Harvard summer program for high school students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds.
June 2011: An article by Maciej Zwieniecki and colleagues published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface details a novel biomimicking technique to model phloem translocation. This paper was selected as a Faculty of 1000 “Must Read” paper in plant biology. abstract »
June 2011: The Arnold Arboretum hosted a CTFS and SIGEO working group meeting organized by Stuart Davies, Matteo Detto, and Helene Muller-Landau to discuss instrumentation for large-scale forest dynamic plots. more »
Peter Del Tredici June 2011: In an article published in Nature, Peter Del Tredici and 18 fellow ecologists urge that conservation and management policies should be based on the ecological impacts of a species, not on its origins. more » abstract »
Cary Pirone May 2011: Cary Pirone was awarded a Putnam Fellowship at the Arnold Arboretum. She will use a combination of biochemical and anatomical approaches to study pollination drops in diverse gymnosperms.
April 2011: Ned Friedman and co-author Pam Diggle from the University of Colorado penned a review in Plant Cell detailing the origin and history of the study of plant evolution and development (evo-devo). more » abstract »
April 2011: Gracing the cover of Ecology is new work by Stuart Davies and colleagues detailing changes in species composition over 25 years in the Barro Colorado Island plot in Panama.  more » pdf »
April 2011: Julien Bachelier was awarded a travel grant to attend the International Botanical Conference that will be held in Australia.
April 2011: Stuart Davies co-edited a book exploring the seasonally dry forests of Asia. more »
campbell_webb March 2011: Cam Webb, a Senior Scientist based overseas, discusses his current research in Indonesia in the current edition of Silva. pdf »
March 2011: In an interview in Silva, Ned Friedman discusses his career as a plant biologist and future goals for the research program at the Arboretum. pdf »
March 2011: Emily Scherbatskoy received a Deland Award for Student Research at the Arnold Arboretum to study female gametophyte morphology in the conifer collection.
March 2011: Faye Rosin and colleagues published their research on a regulatory gene involved in tomato fruit development and ripening in Plant Cell. abstract »
Peter Del Tredici March 2011: A paper by Peter Del Tredici just came out in Castanea examining populations of Magnolia virginiana in North America and Cuba. more » pdf »
February 2011: Ned Friedman was inducted as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science(AAAS). more »
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