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Powdermill Nature Reserve, SVC to Present Third Lecture in Series on Evolution, Ecology Oct. 2

Public Relations
Posted: Friday Sep 6, 2013

Sept. 6, 2013

Powdermill Nature Reserve, the environmental research center of Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and Saint Vincent College Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing will jointly present “Beauty and the Beast: Lessons from the Study of Orchids” by Dr. John V. Freudenstein, professor of evolution, ecology and organismal biology and director of the herbarium at Ohio State University, as the third lecture in the Evolution and Ecology Lecture Series at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2 at the Fred M. Rogers Center on the campus of Saint Vincent College. Admission is free and no registration is required.

Dr. Freudenstein will talk about the evolution of orchids, the most beautiful of plants and the most diverse of all families of flowering plants, and how they manipulate other species to serve their interests.

A graduate of the University of Michigan where he earned a bachelor of science degree, Dr. Freudenstein earned a Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1992.

Dr. Freudenstein’s research area is the evolution of flowering plants, and in particular he focuses on the following topics: evolution of morphological characters and the use of developmental data in interpreting evolutionary history; species definition and the interpretation of molecular and morphological patterns as the basis for our hypotheses of evolutionary relationships and their biogeographic implications; development and understanding of new characters, both morphological and molecular, for systematic use; and systematic theory.

The taxonomic group in which he works most is Orchidaceae, but he has interests in and active research in the heathers (Ericaceae) and pitcher plants (Sarraceniaceae), as well as in higher level relationships among the monocotyledons.

His work in the orchids ranges from studies within individual genera (e.g., Corallorhiza) to investigation of relationships across the family. He focuses on relationships in the largest subfamily, Epidendroideae, because this is where much of the diversity in characters and ecological specialization is found. He uses molecular, morphological and developmental data to reconstruct and study systematic patterns and morphological character evolution.

The Evolution and Ecology Lecture Series was developed to address topics of special interest regarding biodiversity, conservation, behavioral ecology and evolution. This joint venture – which capitalizes on Powdermill Nature Reserve’s global network of researchers and Saint Vincent College’s commitment to education for its students and the community – provides the opportunity to hear from some of the world’s leading figures in ecology and evolutionary biology.

The series is being coordinated by Dr. John Wenzel, director of Powdermill Nature Reserve, and Dr. Bruce D. Bethke, associate professor and chair of the biology department at Saint Vincent.

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Photo: Dr. John V. Freudenstein 

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