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    Angiosperm Studies

Biosystematics of Flowering Plants (Baldwin)

The Jepson Curator, Dr. Bruce Baldwin focused his research program during 1997–1998 on pursuing answers to evolutionary questions posed in his NSF National Young Investigator award on tarweeds (Compositae-Madiinae) and his collaborative NSF grant on Dalechampia (Euphorbiaceae). His tarweed research included investigations of (1) the origin and relationships of the tarweeds to other members of Compositae, (2) relationships among western American Compositae in helenioid Heliantheae (including the tarweeds), (3) evolution of polyploidy in the Hawaiian silversword alliance, and (4) molecular phylogenetics of oceanic-island plant groups, including the silversword alliance (a review). He was assisted in the first two projects by Bridget Wessa (staff research associate; see below). Two additional projects related to the tarweed initiatives were (1) a study of the origin of Hawaiian Sanicula and (2) description of a new species of Sanicula in northern Baja California. The Sanicula studies were conducted in collaboration with Dr. Lincoln Constance and visiting postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Pablo Vargas.

In the first and second projects, Dr. Baldwin and Ms. Wessa examined phylogenetic and biogeographic relationships across the large "Helenieae" group (included in Heliantheae sensu lato), centered in western North America, to discover the closest relatives of the tarweeds and to estimate ancestral characteristics of Madiinae. Dr. Baldwin spoke on these results at the annual American Society of Plant Taxonomists meeting in Montreal (August, 1997). In the third study, Dr. Baldwin collaborated with Dr. Michael Purugganan and student Marianne Barrier (North Carolina State University) and Dr. Robert Robichaux (University of Arizona) on an investigation of floral homeotic gene duplications and the origin of polyploidy in the Hawaiian silversword alliance. Dr. Baldwin and colleagues demonstrated that the silversword alliance is allopolyploid, and descended from a hybrid between diploid lineages of tarweeds that are still extant in California. The research was presented (by Ms. Barrier) at the annual Society of the Study of Evolution meeting in Vancouver, B.C. (in summer, 1998). In the fourth project, Dr. Baldwin collaborated with an international team of researchers to review molecular phylogenetic results from oceanic plant radiations worldwide. The team discovered sharp contrasts between Pacific and Atlantic island groups with respect to the relative frequency of long-distance dispersal and within-island radiation. The work led to a chapter in the new book Molecular Systematics of Plants II. The Sanicula investigation led Dr. Baldwin, Dr. Constance, and Dr. Vargas to conclude that the Hawaiian species (sect. Sandwicenses) are a monophyletic group that descended from a paraphyletic group (sect. Sanicoria) that is nearly restricted to California. The results of the Hawaiian sanicle study were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in January 1998. The new species of Sanicula (S. moranii) from Baja California was described in Brittonia.

Dr. Baldwin's molecular phylogenetic work on Dalechampia (in collaboration with Dr. W. Scott Armbruster, Norwegian University of Science and Technology) continued apace, with (1) a presentation at the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America (presented by Dr. Armbruster) on evolution of buzz-pollination in Malagasy Dalechampia and continuing lab work with Bridget Wessa.

Bridget Wessa continued to serve as Staff Research Associate to the Curator, with her efforts focused on molecular lab work. Ms. Wessa has been involved with DNA isolations from plant material, amplication of nuclear ribosomal DNA and chloroplast DNA regions, and DNA sequencing. She has been involved primarily in grant-funded projects on tarweed systematics and Dalechampia evolution, as well as subsidiary projects in Collinsia, Eriophyllum, Chaenactis, and helenioid Heliantheae in general. She is also in charge of cordinating use of the preparative molecular facilities of the Herbaria (in 1066 VLSB), developing user guidelines and protocols, and coordinating safety procedures in 1066. She has taken an active role in training of new users of the molecular facilities and in organizing purchases of lab supplies.

Margriet Wetherwax assisted the Curator in a variety of ways. Her greenhouse duties have included germinating, planting, and watering/repotting of specimens, helping with pollen slide preparation, pickling of floral buds, and pressing of vouchers.

Jepson Flora Project (Baldwin, Ertter, Rosatti, Wetherwax)

The Jepson Editors (Bruce Baldwin, Steve Boyd, Barbara Ertter, Bob Patterson, Tom Rosatti, Dieter Wilken) broke ground on a new initiative in 96-97: bioregional manuals of California plants. The Jepson Desert Manual, the first book of the series, will be the first comprehensive book of its kind focused exclusively on vascular plants of the California deserts. It will be based on the treatments in The Jepson Manual, with simplified keys, additional illustrations, updated distributional information, and data on flowering phenology. Color plates of desert-plant photographs will be included. Work on The Jepson Desert Manual proceeded apace in 96-97 and completion of the project is anticipated in 1998.

The Jepson Flora Project Editors convened a session at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden to discuss the ongoing and planned initiatives of the Jepson Herbarium with southern California botanists and other interested parties. Progress was made in opening channels of communication among California botanists and obtaining input from a wide array of academicians, agency scientists, environmental consultants, and non-professionals.

Margriet Wetherwax acted as the managing editor for The Jepson Desert Manual. She coordinated activities of two Berkeley undergraduates and three volunteers who aided with the Jepson Desert Flora. Her managing editor activities included contacting authors of treatments, editing revisions, and coordinating updates of distributional information in collaboration with Richard Moe (University Herbarium).

Taxonomy of Compositae (Strother)

In recent years, Dr. John L. Strother's main research efforts have been dedicated to two large-scale undertakings: (1) Production of a treatment of Compositae for the Flora of Chiapas. This floristically rich region is poorly known and clearly in need of botanical expertise. Dr. Strother is treating all of the Compositae (ca. 200 genera, ca. 600 species) for the project. He has completed a major part of the project (Heliantheae s.l.: 82 genera, 226 species), which is now in press (to be published by the California Academy of Sciences). (2) Contribution of treatments, keys, and maps of genera and species of Compositae for the Flora of North America North of Mexico (FNANM). In addition to his general cordination of treatments as taxon editor for Compositae, Dr. Strother has completed draft treatments (including maps) for 45 genera (100+ species), as a contributor to the flora. Most of this work is specimen-based and is done with collections housed here in JEPS and UC. In the past year, Dr. Strother visited the herbaria housed at the California Academy of Sciences (CAS and DS) in connection with preparation of treatments for FNANM.

Dr. Strother continued collaborations with Dr. Jose Panero on Compositae, especially chromosome cytology of Mexican and South American taxa of Heliantheae. He also continued as contributor to Index to Plant Chromosome Numbers.

Flora of Western North America (Ertter)

Floristics:  Updating Bowermans Flowering Plants and Ferns of Mount Diablo, California remained Ertter's dominant research activity. Major assistance was provided by Lisa Schultheis, who converted text into PageMaker. Heckard funds were used to hire undergraduate students (Rosanne Cohen, Yvette Justice, Amy Rusev, Nareg Roubinian) to pull vouchers, affix annotations provided by Ertter, and refile specimens. A talk on the status of the project was given both at the Wayne Roderick Lecture Series at the East Bay Regional Parks Botanical Garden (24 Jan, corresponding with Mary Bowerman's 90th birthday!) and at the herbaria's botany lunch series (February 13).

The Diablo project occurred as an outgrowth of general research on the East Bay flora. Taxonomic anomalies were brought to the attention of visiting researchers: Richard Brummitt (Calystegia), James Reveal (Eriogonum), Richard Rabeler (Spergularia), and Mike Vasey (Arctostaphylos), with the possibility of undescribed taxa being involved. Ertter's expertise in the local flora had a public service component as well, with professional expertise being solicited by the East Bay Biodiversity Working Group as part of a scientific advisory committee, and by the East Bay Regional Parks District and FEMA in conjunction with the East Bay vegetation management plan.

Systematics: Systematic research on western Potentilleae (Rosaceae) entered a new phase as a result of a collaboration formed with Christopher Baysdorfer, a faculty member at California State University at Hayward, furthered by a Heckard grant to Ertter. A background talk on western Potentilleae was presented as part of the Seminar in Biology series at CSU-Hayward on 19 May. Material suitable for molecular analysis was obtained from Ertter's living collection at the UC Botanical Garden, a blitz collecting trip with Tony Morosco to Sierran and transmontane California on Labor Day weekend (1500 miles in 2 1/2 days!), and an Arizona-Nevada collecting trip 21-25 May. Preliminary ITS results were part of a poster prepared for Cal Day and Discover Cal, and subsequently at the August 1998 ASPT meetings. The poster also served to tie together research involving both the UC Botanical Garden and the herbaria.

A latent interest in Juncaceae was activated by participation in a World Monograph of Juncaceae project originating in Prague. Ertter's participation in 1997--1998 primarily consisted of information provided to the project from California sources, including photocopies of articles unavailable in Prague. When the Harold Lint archives and research collection were deposited at the UC herbarium in October, a photocopy of Lint's unpublished manuscript on Juncus subg. Genuini in western North America was also sent to Prague. In June, collecting efforts began in Idaho for a Juncaceae workshop scheduled for July 1998.

Most of Jul 1997 was occupied with assisting visiting professor James L. Reveal with two weekend workshops on the Eriogonoideae (Polygonaceae), immersing Ertter in another former systematic interest. As one spin-off, the form of Eriogonum nudum that occurs at Antioch Dunes and is the host plant of the endangered Langes metalmark butterfly (Apodemia mormo langei J.A. Comstock) was determined to represent an undescribed endemic variety.

Botanical History:  Research on botanical history continued on two fronts. A popular talk on the history of California botany in the late 1800s ("The Lost Years of California Botany") was presented as part of the Sonoma State Biology Colloquium Series (4 November) and a tour of the herbarium to students from Mills College (3 March), as well as to the Oakland Museum weekend docents (17 May), Northern Nevada Native Plant Society (2 Apr), and Yerba Buena Chapter of the California Native Plant Society (4 December).

In addition, a "back-burnered" project on C. A. Purpus, an official (but unpaid) collector for the University Herbarium during the Brandegee era, was reinstituted with computer collaboration provided by Tom Schweich, a new research associate, and Lenier Hines, a volunteer. In its current incarnation, the project takes the form of a website, with hyperlinks connecting travel narratives (translated from German by Ertter), letters, images of cited localities, SMASCH records of specimens, and supplementary lists (e.g., types, place names). A biographical sketch of Purpus, written by Mario Sousa and translated from Spanish by Lauramay Dempster, is also included. When completed, the site is intended to qualify as an electronic publication.

Ertter attended the History of Science conference in La Jolla (6--8 Nov), which resulted in numerous useful new contacts and ideas.

Teaching:  As in previous years, Ertter gave two guest lectures in Baldwin's class, "Systematics of Vascular Plants" (IB 168), one on the classical tradition in systematics and the other on floristics. In addition, she supervised undergraduate student Amy Rusev in an independent study project preparing a mini-herbarium of the plants of Strawberry Canyon, and worked with graduate student Lisa Schultheis on the floristics of Mount Diablo. She also served as an informal general advisor to undergraduate student Tony Morosco.

Public Service and Outreach:  Ertter continued to serve as chair of the Rare Plant Scientific Advisory Committee of the California Native Plant Society, with the primary meeting occurring at the herbarium on 4 Dec. She also participated in the Nevada rare plant workshop in Carson City on 2 Apr.

Ertter continued to serve as regional reviewer for Flora of North America North of Mexico and taxon reviewer for Juncaceae.

Identifications of host and food plants were provided for on-going entomological studies by Gordon Frankie and Jerry Powell. Along with other herbarium staff, Ertter also provided identifications of the plants collected for the Oakland Wildflower Show, this year from the California Gold Country.

In conjunction with an on-going involvement with site stewardship activities on Albany Hill, Ertter organized a public presentation by Peter Raven on 21 Apr (the eve of Earth Day), with the Jepson Herbarium as one cosponsor. In addition to the talk itself ("Biodiversity and Stewardship: Our Common Responsibility"), which filled 2050 VLSB, the event included a Stewardship Fair (also organized by Ertter), which consisted of informational displays on a variety of regional site stewardship projects, set up in the lobby area before and after Raven's talk. The event was well attended and generated significant enthusiasm among participants.

General:  A significant percentage of Ertter's time in January and February was involved in preparing the Berkeley Natural History Museums (BNHM) preproposal for a Science and Technology Centers Program grant, which would have established a Center for the Study of Biodiversity, as well as the subsequent effort to develop a Strategic Plan for BNHM. A considerable effort also went into providing requested information for use by the external review committee in April, with the results discussed elsewhere in this document.