Living Collections Research

Research In the Collections

In addition to staff scientists, the Arnold Arboretum and its rich resources are utilized by an extensive network of researchers. With more than 15,000 well-documented, living plant specimens representing almost 4,000 taxa, the living collection is ideal for comparative studies of morphology, phylogenetics, physiology, development, ecology, and biodiversity, among other disciplines. In addition to plants, scientists may study other inhabitants of the Arnold Arboretum’s ecosystem including insect, amphibian, and bird communities. Selected projects organized below by project start date highlight the diversity of research projects utilizing the landscape and living collections. Learn more about requesting research access to the Arboretum living collections, research facilities, or library.

Jake Grossman Project 1-2019: Jake Grossman, Arnold Arboretum Putnam Fellow, is a plant ecophysiologist with a strong interest in forest ecosystems and trees. Jake will examine drought vulnerability and water use strategies in maples (Acer spp). Combining field and greenhouse experiments, he will analyze the potential effects of climate change on the Arboretum’s collections.
Natalia Pabon Mora Project 5-2019: Natalia Pabón-Mora is an Associate Professor, University of Antioquia in Colombia and Jewett Prize recipient. She is interested in understanding the evolution of flower and fruit development and the morphological changes driving diversification of flowering plants. At the Arboretum, she will focus on fruit diversity by comparing morphological and anatomical features and transcriptomic data of members of the Rubiaceae with distinct fruit types.
Steve Gougherty Project 6-2019: Steve Gougherty, PhD student from Boston University is developing a new framework to consider nutrient use efficiency (NUE) in plants beyond the traditional methods focused on vegetative tissues. Supported by a Deland Award, 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.
Wenbin (Bean) Zhou Project 12-2019: Supported by a Hu Award, Wenbin Zhou, PhD Student from North Carolina State University, 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.
Jedaidah Chilufya Project 13-2019: Jedaidah Chilufya is a Cunin/Sigal Award recipient and PhD Student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She 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.
Wendy Clement Project 22-2019: Supported by a Jewett Prize, Wendy Clement, Associate Professor at the College of New Jersey, 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.
Yong Yang beside a Picea montigena Project 40-2019: Yong Yang is a scientist at the herbarium of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in China. He is working to clarify the taxonomy of Picea species from western Sichuan of China including Picea montigena, a critically endangered species. Using known, identified species of P. montigena present at the Arboretum, he is developing a DNA barcoding approach to aid in identification of the species in the wild to aid in its conservation.
Harold Suarez-Baron Project 7-2018: Harold Suarez Baron is a Deland Award recipient and a PhD candidate at the University of Antioquia in Colombia in the Pabon-Mora Lab. In Aristolochia (dutchman’s pipe), the trichomes (hairs) found on flowers are important for attracting and retaining flies for pollination. Harold focuses on the genetic mechanisms underlying trichome development in this non-model plant.
Erin Pierce Project 8-2018: Erin Pierce is a Deland Award recipient and first-year PhD student working in the Templer Lab at Boston University. She will measure ozone levels and tree growth at the Arboretum. Combined with the data from the Arboretum’s National Atmospheric Deposition Program monitoring station, Erin will evaluate the role of air pollution on urban ecosystem health.
Dong Wang Project 10-2018: Dong Wang is a Sargent Award recipient and an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is interested in the strategies that long-lived woody legumes use to interact with rhizobia, the nitrogen-fixing bacteria the live in nodules on the roots. He will examine the rhizobia present in root nodules at the Arboretum.
Elizabeth Spriggs Project 17-2018: Elizabeth Spriggs is an evolutionary biologist with a passion for plant conservation. Her research as a Arnold Arboretum Putnam Fellow will focus on the chestnuts and ashes (Castanea and Fraxinus) – iconic, but severely threatened, North American trees. Using phylogeography and genomics, she will examine genetic diversity and population structure in relation to disease with an eye towards identifying individuals of conservation value.
Project 20-2018: Supported by an Genomic Initiative and Sequencing Award, Nathan Swenson, associate professor at the University of Maryland, is developing genomic resources for the Sapindales with a focus on Acer species. He will sequence the genome of A. griseum, an important species that produces parthenocarpic fruit. Two reference genomes and transcriptions from throughout the genus provides a valuable infrastructure for future studies in Acer.
Project 6-2017: Supported by an Genomic Initiative and Sequencing Award, Boyce Thompson Institute scientists,  Susan Strickler (Research Associate), Fay-Wei Li (Assistant Professor) and Eric Richards (Professor and VP research) will develop genomic resources for North American beech (Fagus grandifolia), an economically important hardwood species.
Project 7-2017: The North American paw paw, Asimina triloba (L.) Dun, is one of the few fruit tree crops that is native to North America and the only species in the family adapted to temperate climates. Supported by an Genomic Initiative and Sequencing Award, Aureliano Bombarely, Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech, and Jose I. Hormaza, Professor at IHSM La Mayora, Spain, will sequence the genome of accession 12708*A.
Kosmala and Basler Project 8-2017: Utilizing an unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) and temperature loggers, Margaret Kosmala (Sinnott Award recipient) and David Basler (Sargent Award recipient) will acquire high-resolution multispectral photographs and localized temperatures of the Arboretum over time. With this data, they will examine the relationship between plant phenology (the timing of life events) and genetic adaptation in response to local topography and temperature.
Magnolia Project 11-2017: From Tufts University, Avalon Owens, Sara Lewis and a team of research assistants are studying the light-based communication system of bioluminescent fireflies. Representing an urban ecosystem with artificial lighting, firefly populations at the Arboretum will be compared to rural populations to understand the impact of light pollution on firefly courtship and fitness..
Larix - larch Project 16-2017: Tingshuang Yi, Professor at the Germplasm Bank of Wild Species, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and co-researchers are doing a phylogenomics study of Gymnosperms, Fagales and Araceae using transcriptome data. The molecular data will be used to resolve the intergeneric relationships of these three groups.
Docherty - airborne sample collection Project 18-2017: As part of a NSF-funded project, Kathryn Docherty, Kristina Lemmer and students from Western Michigan University are sampling bacterial communities present in the air. Samples are collected using helium-filled balloons at 150m and 30m above ground as seen in the picture. Bacterial communities will be collected and compared from both urban and rural areas throughout the United States including the Arboretum.
Quan Zeng Project 25-2017: Quan Zeng, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, and Dan Cooley, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, are sampling populations the bacteria that causes fire blight disease, Erwinia amylovora, from infected trees at the Arboretum. Understanding the phylogeny, host specificity and antibiotic resistance of the isolated populations will provide insight into the evolution of the disease and provide guidance for management.
Primack & Smith Project 27-2017: Boston University students Linnea Smith and Sarah Pardo are working with BU Professor Richard Primack to determine leaf longevity for 200 evergreen species growing at the Arnold Arboretum, by looking along the length of twigs for overwintering scars and seeing if leaves are still present. Work so far indicates that evergreen species vary considerably in how long their leaves last, varying from 2 to 10 years.
Primack - Amanda Gallinat Project 29-2017: Since 2011 Richard Primack, Amanda Gallinat, and many Boston University students have been monitoring over 1600 tree, shrub and vine species at the Arnold Arboretum for timing of leaf out, leaf senescence, and fruit ripening, and comparing the results to botanical gardens in Beijing, Berlin, Munich, Ottawa, Chicago, and Washington, DC. This work is important for understanding tree ecology and how woody plants are responding to climate change.
Project 30-2017: The Centre for Designed Ecology at the University of Sheffield are researching species selection for urban environments under climate change. In the urban forestry strand, Harry Watkins is investigating species of Magnolia, trialling their varying tolerance of stresses such drought, flooding, salt and compaction with a view to informing future breeding programs.
Meri Bond - Magnolia Project 1-2016: A post-doctoral fellow at Yale University and a Jewett Prize recipient, the research of Adam Roddy focuses on the physiological aspects of the evolution of flowering plants. Examining 25 species of basal angiosperms in the Arboretum’s living collections, Adam will measure physiological traits associated with water balance to examine the trade-offs between water transport, water storage, and the ability to maintain turgid and showy flowers.
Kasia Zieminska Project 3-2016: Putnam Fellow Kasia Zieminska aims to understand how tree anatomy impacts function. By focusing on diverse species in the Arboretum’s living collections, she will examine the relationship between diversity in anatomical structure and water storage mechanisms and how this relationship influences plant biodiversity and ecological strategies.
Project 4-2016 Project 4-2016: As the climate changes, it is increasingly important to understand the drivers of leaf-out phenology in order to better anticipate and model changes to this important ecological process. Lucy Zipf, Amanda Gallinat and Richard Primack of Boston University examined the potential effects of relative humidity levels observed on leaf out phenology for 15 species of woody trees and shrubs by subjecting dormant twigs to one of four humidity treatments and monitoring leaf out.
Barry Logan - tree mob Project 6-2016: Eastern dwarf mistletoe (Arceuthobium pusillum), a diminutive plant parasite, can fell a mature white spruce (Picea glauca) in a matter of years. Drawing upon observations at scales from hormone metabolism through whole-tree growth, Barry Logan, a Visiting Scholar from Bowdoin College and David Des Marais, Senior Fellow of the Arnold Arboretum are studying the differential ecophysiological, hormonal, and gene expression responses of Picea glauca and P. rubens to infection by the Eastern Dwarf Mistletoe.
Amna Jamshad Project 8-2016: Chase Mason, Arnold Arboretum Putnam Fellow and undergraduate researcher Amna Jamshad are using a comparative metabolomics approach to examine variation in salicylates, flavonoids, and other phenolics in leaves and bark across a global cross-section of willows to document medicinally-relevant phytochemical diversity and evaluate the evolution of such diversity. Willow bark is the historical source of salicylic acid, one of the world’s oldest medicines. Surprisingly, the phytochemical diversity of wild willows has not been surveyed in a systematic way.
Callin Switzer Project 13-2016: Kalmia has a unique method of pollen release in which the pollen is catapulted out of the anthers when a pollinator lands on the flowers. Callin Switzer, a Sinnott Award recipient and graduate student in the Hopkins Lab, will examine this unique pollination method using high-speed videography.
Alex Susko Project 14-2016: A PhD candidate from the University of Minnesota and Deland Award recipient, the research of Alexander Susko focuses on abiotic stress tolerance in Rhododendron. At the Arboretum, Alexander will collect and sequence deciduous azaleas originally collected across the geographic and environmental range to identify genetic targets of selection associated with differing environmental responses.
Chase Mason Project 19-2016: Using the staggering diversity of the Arnold Arboretum,  Chase Mason, Arnold Arboretum Putnam Fellow is evaluating the evolution of leaf physical and chemical defenses across 16 genera of woody plants native to the temperate zones of North America, Europe, and Asia. He is modeling the evolution of leaf defenses in relation to source site habitat and leaf economic strategy across each of these genera to understand whether there are common evolutionary patterns in leaf defense during diversification.
Hemlock on the Edge Project 30-2016: The Preisser Lab at The University of Rhode Island is interested in (1) the resistance mechanisms of hemlocks (Tsuga spp.) against insect herbivores and (2) the differences in mechanisms between species. They will use the diverse collection of hemlocks at the arboretum and hormone treatments to better understand the chemical and physiological differences in how species from around the world defend themselves and which defensive hormone pathways control certain defenses.
scholar tree Project 31-2016: As part of a multi-institutional NSF funded project (PI: Pamela Soltis), Gregory Stull, graduate student in the Soltis Lab at the University of Florida, is collecting samples from more than one hundred Arboretum wild-collected accessions. The goal is to examine the ecological assembly and evolution of northern temperate forests that are disjunct between Eastern Asia and Eastern North America using phylogenomics, biogeography, and observations of microbial interactions to better understand temperate biodiversity.
Santiago-Blay Smithsonian Mag Project 54-2016: Plant exudates include numerous organic products, such as resins, gums, kinos, that are frequently released on the surface of plants as the result of injury. The long-term goals of Jorge A. Santiago-Blay, Resident Research Associate at the Smithsonian Institution, is to survey the plant exudates of the world. This will enhance our ability to uncover new major chemical groups of exudates, test current classifications of exudate-producing plant groups, and identify the botanical origin of artifacts lacking botanical provenance.
Jon Mahoney Project 10-2015: As part of the Aronia breeding program, Jonathan Mahoney, a Master’s student at the University of Connecticut and Deland Award recipient, is investigating the mating systems and compatibility issues of intergeneric hybridization between Aronia and related taxa.
Chase Mason Project 13-2015: Chase Mason, Arnold Arboretum Putnam Fellow, is studying the evolution of leaf physical and chemical defenses in relation to the leaf economics spectrum (LES), habit, and species’ source climate across the dogwoods. LES relates the initial investment of carbon during leaf development with the net carbon gain of that leaf. Plants employ various LES strategies which impacts their adaptability to environmental conditions and stresses.
Kim Shearer Lattier Project 15-2015: Genome size and ploidy data of angiosperms are necessary for developing objectives of genome sequencing and breeding projects.  While maples (Acer L.) are ubiquitous in the landscape, there is relatively little genome size and ploidy information available for the genus.  For her M.S. thesis at Oregon State University, Kim Shearer Lattier collaborated with arboreta and botanical gardens in the United States to analyze the North American maples in the collections using flow cytometry and traditional cytology.
Norbert Holstein Project 27-2015: Maximilian Weigend, Professor and Director of the Bonn University Botanic Garden, and Norbert Holstein (pictured), postdoctoral researcher at the University of Bonn, are developing molecular barcodes to aid in identifying members of selected genera of Betulaceae and Fagaceae. These taxa can be very difficult to identify based on morphology alone.
Carly Troncale Project 29-2015: Carly Troncale is a MLA Candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. As part of an independent study project, she is working to expand a botanical survey of the Bussey Brook Meadow followed by the creation of a tree map of the spontaneous vegetation in the area.
Danilo Fernando Project 30-2015: Danilo Fernando is a Jewett Prize recipient and Associate Professor at the State University of New York. His research at the Arboretum will focus on the reproductive biology of Actinidia arguta (hardy kiwi), a dioecious species whose flowers are functionally unisexual.
Jianhua Li Project 33-2015: Jianhua Li is an associate professor of biology at Hope College and former Arnold Arboretum senior scientist. Returning to the Arboretum for his sabbatical as a Sargent Award recipient, Jianhua will focus on the reconstruction of the early tree of life of Acer. The evolutionary relationships of this important and diverse tree genus has, thus far, remained largely unresolved hindering our understanding of the natural history of maples.
Ben Bell Project 42-2015: Benjamin Bell is a PhD student at the University of Manchester investigating the geochemistry of Cedrus atlantica pollen and what it can tell us about the environment, with a focus on stable isotope and FTIR analysis. Pollen samples from the arboretum will be used to understand the environmental response outside the native range in Morocco.
Althea Northcross Project 50-2015: Formerly studying Landscape Architecture at Harvard’s School of Design, Althea Northcross independently continues her research on the history and future canopy of the Peter’s Hill Natural Woodland. Her work involves archival research about the history of the plot, GIS mapping of the current canopy, a tracing of the emerging canopy gaps in the aging oak canopy, and includes projections about the probable future canopy composition of the woodland.
Juan Losada Project 52-2015: As a Research Associate of Leslie Lab at Brown University, Juan Losada is using the conifer collection to explore how anatomical divergences during development can generate morphological disparity in seed cones of the family Pinaceae.
Dan Sullivan Project 58-2015: Dan Sullivan, a Sargent Award recipient and visiting fellow of the Arnold Arboretum, is developing techniques for rapid and inexpensive DNA extraction as well as cultivating collections of extracted DNA libraries and silica-dried leaves for future phylogenetic research.
Project 1-2014: Ling Guo is a curator at the Beijing Botanic Garden and a Jewett Prize recipient. Utilizing the Arboretum’s Malus collection, she will conduct research to improve the databases and knowledge of ornamental crabapples as a Registration Authority. Her database will focus on the flowers of Malus to improve the understanding of flowering time.
ZhangYJ-3 Project 5-2014: In some species of Acer, stem pressure generation during thawing results in sap production which is used to make maple syrup. This is in contrast to most trees which exude sap during freezing. Working in the Acer collection, Yong-Jiang Zhang, Hu Exchange Award recipient and post-doctoral fellow in the Holbrook Lab, aims to understand the physiological mechanisms of stem pressure generation and the role of xylem structure in this mechanism.
Ailene Ettinger Project 8-2014:  Ailene Ettinger, Arnold Arboretum Putnam Fellow, focuses on predicting the response and sensitivity of plants to a changing climate. By examining diverse trees growing in a common environment, she can identify functional traits that are important for success outside their historical conditions.
Jessica Savage Project 9-2014:  Jessica Savage is interested in understanding how seasonal changes in vascular activity influence flowering and carbon allocation. As an Arnold Arboretum Putnam Fellow, Jessica is comparing xylem and phloem anatomy, physiology and function in precocious flowering species (those that flower before the leaves emerge) with related species that flower later in the season.
Andrew_03-05-14sq Project 12-2014: A geneticist at the USDA Forest Service and a Sargent Award recipient, Andrew Groover will perform RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) on cambium and wood forming tissues of diverse trees in the Arboretum. Potentially important regulatory genes expressed in these tissues will be identified and analyzed as a first step to understanding the evolution of woody growth.
P1090981-1 Project 15-2014: A single linage of Arabidopsis thaliana was introduced to North America 200 years ago and has since experienced diversification. Using A. thaliana populations found naturally in the Arboretum, Gautam Shirsekar, Jane Devos, and Detlef Weigel (Weigel Lab) will examine adaptation of the population to the common white rust disease pathogen Albugo candida.
Marston 3 Project 31-2014: An archaeologist specializing in reconstructing environmental change in the ancient Mediterranean world, John Marston (Boston University) identifies carbonized wood fragments from archaeological sites to study forest succession, arboriculture, and deforestation. He uses wood specimens from the Arboretum as a comparative collection to help identify archaeological wood charcoal from the Mediterranean, Middle East, Europe, China, and North America.
Calum Bowden Portrait 004 Project 32-2014: Before 1941, the Dawn Redwood – Metasequoia glyptostroboides – did not exist. And until 1946, the new genus existed only in fossil records. Calum Bowden investigates the stories people have used to create this living thing over time. Through a projection installation which now lives online at, the fossil records, historical archives, photographs, accessions data, and journal articles are brought forward in a new way.
Bryan Denig Project 35-2014: Bryan Denig is a researcher at Cornell University’s Urban Horticulture Institute. Utilizing the Arboretum’s Quercus collection, he conducts research developing a protocol for the asexual propagation of oaks via tissue culture. A reliable micropropagation method suitable for a diverse range of oak species has many potential applications, such as cloning individuals of horticultural value, preserving the genetics of historic trees, and aiding in the conservation of endangered Quercus species.
C_japonicumARNOLD Project 1-2013: Commonly called Katsura, there are only two species of Cercidiphyllum (C. japonicum and C. magnificum), both of which are well represented at the Arboretum. Craig Carlson, a graduate student in the West Lab at North Dakota State University, is developing micropropagation techniques for this important ornamental tree.
Fagus grandifolia 23274A Hao setup Project 9-2013: The tree trunk plays an important role in whole-plant water relations but remains the least studied aspect in the plant water transport pathway. Guangyou Hao, Arnold Arboretum Putnam Fellow, and colleagues are measuring the water potential gradient across the trunk directly in the tree to estimate the relative contribution of water storage to daily water use and compare xylem vulnerability to cavitation in a different part of the hydraulic pathway.
Stacey Young sq Project 11-2013: Stacey Leicht Young, Arboretum Putnam Fellow, is examining 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, Stacy will compare and contrast the functional traits of North American species with East Asian species growing in a common environment.
Callin_Switzer_Buzz_Pollination_Combes_Lab_02 Project 15-2013: Callin Switzer is a graduate student in the Combes Lab at the Concord Field Station.  He is studying pollination by bumblebees.  He records bumblebees’ sounds as they fly and vibrate their bodies, shaking pollen from flowers’ anthers.  Analyzing these recordings gives insight into pollinator behaviors on a variety of plants throughout the foraging season.
McCarragher_ArnoldArboretum2 Project 16-2013: Shannon McCarragher is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Geography Department at Northern Illinois University. She is studying the evolution and ecology of the invasive Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) and its relationship to the success of native white oak (Quercus alba) populations in Illinois. Using both historical and living specimens of Amur honeysuckle from the Arboretum, she will explore the genetic variation between and among geographically distant populations.
Kevin Block Project 18-2013: Kathryn Weglarz is a Deland Award recipient and graduate student in the von Dohlen Lab at Utah State University. Where much focus has been placed on understanding plant-insect interactions, her goal is to examine the less thought of interaction between the host plant and the bacterial symbionts present in the saliva of the insects.
Bee on Buttonbush Project 19-2013: Bees are important indicators of the health of an ecosystem. Georgia Shelton, a Harvard undergraduate (Class of 2014), and Brian Farrell, Professor of Biology at Harvard University, are documenting bees at the Arboretum. The diversity of bee species found in this urban ecosystem will be compared to a five-year study in the Boston Harbor Islands National Park. Follow this Bee-search on Georgia’s blog.
ProjectPineCone Project 20-2013: Renee Galeano-Popp, a retired USDA Forest Service botanist, started Project Pine Cone as a way to share the beauty and diversity of botany. With additional specimens collected at the Arboretum by volunteers, she now has 76 of the 115 pine species represented in a permanent display at Colorado State University and in travel-ready form for schools, groups and organizations to educate and inspire. Volunteer David Surette is shown in the photo.
JessicaSavage Project 22-2013: Jessica Savage, a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University, is examining the relationship between cell structure in the xylem and phloem, the two main parts of the vascular system in collaboration with N. Michele Holbrook from Harvard and Michael Knoblauch from Washington State University. The main goal of this research is to determine whether phloem and xylem cells exhibit correlated evolution across the flowering plant phylogeny.
Salcedo Project 24-2013: Mary Salcedo is a graduate student in the Combes Lab at the Concord Field Station.  She is studying neuromuscular control during flight in dragonflies.  Major behaviors of dragonflies, such as predation, competition and mating, are all performed while in flight. Using catch and release techniques and high-speed videography, she will compare the neuromuscular effects of these behaviors on dragonfiles from a variety of different locations.
RosanneHealyTrufflingFSP2009 Project 26-2013: Rosanne Healy, Sargent Award recipient and post-doctoral fellow at the University of Minnesota, is focusing on ectomycorrhizal fungi that are present on roots of trees in well-spaced habitats like the Arboretum. She plans to sequence, identify and compare the fungal partners on the roots of Oak trees present at the Arboretum with those at the Harvest Forest.
KristelPicture Project 27-2013: Kristel Schoonderwoerd is a visiting fellow in the Friedman Lab from the Erasmus Mundus Master Program in Evolutionary Biology. At the Arboretum, she is studying reproductive traits in angiosperms on a macroevolutionary scale and learning techniques to examine the embryo sac development of Franklinia alatamaha.
Berberis gilgiana Project 1-2012: A Jewett Prize recipient and post-doctoral fellow in the Kramer Lab in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, Bharti Sharma is interested in the evolution of petal identity and development. Capitalizing on the tremendous floral diversity found in the barbarry family (Berberidaceae), she will compare petal development using microscopy and comparative gene expression techniques in Epimedium rubum and Berberis gilgiana.
Project 6-2012: A Master’s student at the Harvard Extension School, Kevin Block is evaluating the susceptibility of a new hemlock species, the Ulleung hemlock, to hemlock woolly adelgid, Adelges tsugae. The Arnold Arboretum is one of the only living collections holding the Ulleung hemlock, allowing comparative studies on resistance. With the adelgid devastating our native Eastern hemlock, Tsuga candensis, understanding differences in resistance is beneficial to hemlock forest ecology.
Cryptomeria_japonica Project 7-2012: A PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne in Australia, Stephanie Conway is interested in the role of the shoot apical meristem in the evolution of shoot architecture. As a visiting fellow in the Friedman Lab, she will focus on shoot apical meristems utilizing the extensive collection of gymnosperms at the Arboretum.
Nanjing Botanical Garden Project 8-2012:  Nanjing Botanical Garden Mem.Sun Yat-Sen of China is interested in beach plum (Prunus maritima), a kind of Halophyte. Using the Arbretum’s living collection, the garden plans to carry out the study on genetic diversity of beach plum, and to display the unusual plant to tourists at their garden and seashore of Jiangsu province of China
IMG_4402 Project 14-2012:  Peter Del Tredici, Ned Friedman, and Noah Fierer from the University of Colorado sequenced the microbial life residing on different regions (leaves, bark, north, south, etc.) of Ginkgo biloba. This is the first-ever tree microbiome representing the entire community of microbes. more»
Projects 16-2012 and 17-2012: Leena Lindén of the University of Hellsinki, Finland, and colleagues are developing methods for micropropagation, DNA-fingerprinting, and cryopreservation of common lilac genotypes to aid in the characterization and conservation of genetic resources. A second project utilizes the Arboretum’s Malus collection to develop microsatellite markers.
Project 21-2012: As part of his master’s thesis at the University of Delaware, Matthew Lobdell is conducting a review of the genus Styrax in the Arboretum’s historical records and herbarium. He will verify taxonomic descriptions as well as compile information on horticultural traits, hardiness, propagation, and historical use with the goal of creating a reference guide.
Stan Hokanson MAES_20090528__FEL8045_4_4sq Project 23-2012: Stan Hokanson and Steve McNamara from the University of Minnesota and the Horticulture Research Center at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum are adding multiple taxa of Forsythia from the Arboretum’s collection to their field trials and laboratory experiments. Characters such as cold hardiness and floral traits will be evaluated for selection and incorporation into their breeding programs.
Prunus incisa Project 28-2012: Erica Fadon is a PhD student in the Herrero Lab at the Pomology Department of the Aula Dei Experimental Station–CSIC, Spain. Using the Arboretum’s living collection, Erica closely examined the development of sweet cherry flowers (Prunus avium) in order to determine which stage the flowers undergo winter dormancy.
LIDAR Forest2  Project 30-2012: The Arboretum provided a unique testing ground for the autonomous navigation of mobile robots through unpredictable terrain. Karl Iagnemma and colleagues from the Robotic Mobility Group at MIT have developed methods to model the ground plane and tree stems using a remote sensing technology called LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging). Read more in a paper published in the Journal of Field Robotics.
Malus_'Purple Prince' 315-95-C Project 35-2012: Jorge Lora is a Jewett Prize recipient and post-doctoral fellow with Professors Iñaki Hormaza and Maria Herrero at Experimental Research Stations of the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), Spain. Using plants in the Arboretum’s Rosaceae collection, he will compare ovule morphology from the earliest stages to maturity as well as the expression pattern of a gene thought to be important in ovule development.
Rhododendron Fargesii Project 2-2011: Richard Primack of Boston University is surveying the living collection to determine the variation among species in spring leaf out times. The earliest species leaf out in late March and early April and the last species only leaf out in late May and early June. What are the ecological and evolutionary explanations for such large differences among species? Read more in Arnoldia.
Guangyou Hao Project 3-2011: Guangyou Hao is an Arnold Arboretum Putnam Fellow. He is interested in plant ecophysiology with a focus on comparative study in plant xylem water transport and its adaptive significance in coping with environmental stresses, such as drought and freezing temperature. He is currently working on hydraulics of conifers using the Arnold Arboretum collections.
research-page Project 4-2011: Cary Pirone, Arnold Arboretum Putnam Fellow, investigates how chemical signals mediate biological phenomena. Current research involves exploring the complexities of pollination drops (ovular secretions) of several conifer species and ginkgo using biochemical and anatomical approaches.
Emily Scherbatskoy Project 6-2011: Emily Scherbatskoy, a Deland Award recipient, worked in the Friedman Lab with Julien Bachelier. Her research is focusing on the comparative morphology of female gametophytes in diverse conifers present in the Arboretum’s gymnosperm collection.
Quercus glandulifera Project 8-2011: David Valbracht is working towards a certificate in botanical art and illustration. Using the wide range of oak species found in the Arboretum, he is preparing an illustrated guide to oaks. In addition, his watercolor paintings inspired by the oaks will be exhibited at the Wellesley College Greenhouses.
Prunus nipponica Project 9-2011: Jun Wen, research scientist and curator at the Smithsonian Institution, is working on the evolution of intercontinental biogeographic disjunctions in the Northern Hemisphere including several species of Prunus at the Arboretum. As a Mercer and Putnam fellow in 1991-1992, she did a series of molecular and morphological studies on eastern Asian/eastern North American disjuncts.
Juan Losada Project 11-2011: Juan Losada is a Deland Award recipient and PhD candidate with Professor Maria Herrero in the Pomology Department of the Aula Dei Experimental Station–CSIC, Spain. His graduate work has focused on the reproductive biology of apples (Malus spp.). Juan spent the summer working at the Weld Hill Research Building to expand his studies to include species in the Arboretum’s Magnolia collections.
10mm Eurycea bislineata Project 12-2011: Zack Lewis from the Hanken Laboratory at Harvard, is investigating lung development in salamanders. He uses the Arboretum’s natural salamander populations for studies on the development and evolution of lung loss in the family Plethodontidae (lungless salamanders).
Project 14-2011: Tim Dickinson and other botanists at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada, are studying Crataegus evolution, and have sampled hawthorns at the Arboretum to include Eurasian taxa, like Crataegus maximowiczii and C. germanica. DNA sequencing has begun to demonstrate how important hybridization has been in Crataegus, something that Arboretum Founding Director Charles Sprague Sargent, a pioneer in the study of the genus, would not have expected.
Linn Jennings in Bussey Brook Meadow Project 15-2011: Harvard Forest ecologists Kristina Stinson, David Foster, and Sydne Record are collaborating with Chris Rogers (UMass School of Public Health) to investigate the effect of climate on ragweed and human health. Studying ragweed populations from Boston to the Berkshires (including Bussey Brook Meadow at the Arboretum), the team seeks to determine how geographic variation in plant growth, abundance, and peak flowering time relate to pollen output and allergic potency.
Ashley Clingen Project 17-2011: As part of a large collaboration, Ashley Clingen and Jean-Noel Candau are investigating whether Megastigmus, a genus of chalcid wasp, is actively parasitizing the seeds of Cupressaceae species in North America. This project is designed to keep researchers one step ahead of a possible North American invasion of this insect, to gather information on the phenology of Megastigmus parasitism, and, ultimately, to prevent its further infestation worldwide.
Humulus lupus Project 20-2011: Noeline Morrissey, a master’s student in the Friedman Lab, is focusing on trichome morphology and development by comparing the multiple forms of trichomes in hops (Humulus lupulus) and related genera present in the Arboretum’s living collection.
2010 and earlier
Photo of pit traps taken by Tracey MCNeill of UEI Project 2-2010:  Boston Metropolitan Area ULTRA-Ex is a NSF-funded project that aims to increase our understanding of how urban “greening” efforts contribute to community ecology and social health. As part of this study, project leader Paige Warren, Michael Strohbach and Rachel Danford of UMass-Amherst are examining bird and arthropod communities in the Arboretum.
Lucy Hutyra Project 4-2010:  Lucy Hutyra is an assistant professor of in the Department of Geography and Environment at Boston University. Her research focuses on terrestrial ecosystems and atmosphere-biosphere exchange of carbon dioxide. Lucy is a leader of the Boston ULTRA-Ex studying Boston’s carbon metabolism across urban-to-rural gradients.
Joao Loureiro Project 6-2010: In deciduous azaleas, there are 2 genetically distinct clades which separate according to ploidy level. Sally and John Perkins in collaboration with a research team from the University of Coimbra, Portugal, are comparing controlled crosses of tetraploid and diploid clades of deciduous azaleas. The diploid clade accepts pollen from the tetraploid clade and results in well-developed seedpods, but the tetraploid clade rejects the reciprocal cross.
Garth Holman Project 10-2010: Garth Holman of the University of Maine is studying the evolutionary history of the Pine family (Pinaceae), and species-level relationships in true firs (Abies) and hemlocks (Tsuga). The Arnold Arboretum holds more than 100 species of plants in the Pinaceae, enabling Holman to collect fresh tissues and conduct morphological studies through many characters unavailable from standard museum specimens including phenology, growth habitat, and mature bark.
hemlock woolly adelgid Project 11-2010:  Pamela Templer is an assistant professor in the Department of Biology at Boston University. As a forest ecologist, she studies the role of plant-microbial interactions in nutrient retention and loss. Her research at the Arnold Arboretum examines the impact of the hemlock woolly adelgid and atmospheric nitrogen deposition on nutrient cycling. She has also used herbarium specimens to examine how past changes in atmospheric chemistry have impacted the physiology of trees.
Rubus idaeus Project 12-2010:  Jer-Ming Hu is an associate professor at the Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, National Taiwan University. He is interested in the phylogenetics and evolutionary developmental biology of the perianth. He is also working on the systematics of Rubus (Rosaceae) and uses the Arboretum’s living collections for phylogenetic and floral morphological studies.
Project 14-2010: Hugh McAllister of the Ness Botantic Gardens at the University of Liverpool and Sargent Award recipient, studied Sorbus and Betula trees in the Arboretum in connection with the preparation of Curtis’s Botanical Magazine (Kew, UK) monographs on these genera. An unexpected discovery was a new hybrid of two distantly related birches, Betula maximowicziana x B. ermanii.
Lorna Gibson in the bamboos Project 16-2010: Bamboo has many advantages as a construction material: it is a renewable, sustainable resource and has mechanical properties similar to wood, but grows much faster. Lorna Gibson and her research group from MIT are studying the microstructure and mechanical properties of bamboo and developing micromechanical models for its behavior.
Woody plant respond to CO2 levels Woody plants can respond to rising carbon dioxide levels and higher temperatures by modifying their leaves. Using living plants and herbarium specimens, Boston University researchers Abraham Miller-Rushing, Pamela Templer, Richard Primack, and their students found that oaks, maples, and hornbeams maintain their water use efficiency by adjusting the size and density of their stomata, the pores on the bottom surface of the leaves.
Kathryn Richardson and Rose Abramoff The impact of climate change on plants has been the focus of research by Richard Primack, students from Boston University, and Peter Del Tredici. Herbarium specimens collected from the living collection in the past and dated photographs can be used to show that plants are now flowering 10 days earlier than they did 100 years ago, and that plants flower earlier in warm years. Read more in Arnoldia.