Each spring the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University offers a research fellowship and a number of awards to support independent research projects submitted by students, post-doctoral researchers, and biological and horticultural science professionals. Stemming from the Arboretum’s mission to support and facilitate scientific inquiry and knowledge sharing about the plant kingdom, these opportunities enable researchers to pursue their investigations using resources available at the Arboretum, including our world-renowned living collection of woody plants, extensive herbaria, plant records, library and archives, greenhouses and laboratories, and expert staff. The Arboretum’s 2019 fellowship and award recipients bring exciting new projects to the Arboretum that span a diverse range of disciplines, from organismic and evolutionary biology, molecular and developmental biology, and plant physiology to studies in ecology, environment, and biodiversity.
PhD Student, University of Massachusetts–Amherst
Jedaidah will collect nodules from several woody legumes in the Arboretum’s living collections. After isolating the rhizobia present in the nodules, she will innoculate soybeans with the isolated rhizobia and test symbiosis efficiency to see if it boosts soybean yields.
Associate Professor, The College of New Jersey
Wendy will study floral traits using the living collections of Lonicera (honeysuckles) at the Arnold Arboretum. She is interested in using trait data, such as color, morphology, rewards, and floral scent to describe the evolutionary history of floral form in Lonicera and identify potential instances of shifts in pollination syndrome.
PhD Student, Boston University
Steve is developing a new framework to consider nutrient use efficiency (NUE) in plants beyond the traditional methods focused on vegetative tissues. He will measure the carbon and nitrogen costs of reproduction in samaras, a type of fruit. Samaras are green during seed development, suggesting active photosynthesis, but tend to lose their pigments as seeds mature. He will assess whether carbon acquisition and nutrient recycling during reproduction are large enough to influence whole plant NUE.
Post-doctoral Researcher, Cornell University
Al is a plant physiologist with a strong interest in understanding how woody plants adapt to freezing stresses during winter. Al will focus on the Rosaceae family in the Arboretum’s living collection and examine cold hardiness, chilling response, and resumption of growth to recalibrate phenological models of budbreak.
The Jesup Collection of North American Woods, a collection of nineteenth-century log specimens, was the product of a collaboration between the Arnold Arboretum during Charles Sargent’s tenure and the American Museum of Natural History. Kathryn will document the geographic origins of these specimens using archival and herbarium resources related to the original project. With robust documentation, the specimens could contribute meaningfully to scientific research, for example, by analyses of tree rings to address climate history.
Harikrishnan V. N. Radhamoni
PhD Candidate, Yale University
Hari will study the variation in herbaceous plant diversity along a rainfall gradient in seasonally dry tropical forest in India. This study will help make predictions on the response to environmental change. The Ashton Award will support his research in Western Ghats, India.
PhD Student, Guangxi University, China
Aidan will investigate the abiotic conditions that limit the geographical distribution of mangroves to tropical and subtropical environments and the adaptations that differentiate these tree species, specifically the tropical Kandelia candel and subtropical Kandelia obovata. Understanding the differences will enable more accurate predictions of how natural mangrove populations will respond to rising annual minimum temperatures. The Ashton Award will support his research in China and Malaysia.
PhD Student, North Carolina State University
Wenbin will focus on the identification of leaf endophytes (fungal and bacterial endosymbionts) present in several eastern Asian (EA)-eastern North American (ENA) disjunct lineages growing in the Arnold Arboretum’s living collections. He’ll compare his results on endophytes that were isolated from host plants from different locations (Boston and Raleigh) to shed light on whether divergence in endophyte diversity plays a role in the EAE- NA phytogeographic pattern.