2012 Workshop

Micro-evo-devo: Flower Form and Function

Held at the Arnold Arbroretum of Harvard University
May 11-13, 2012

Abstract of Workshop:

Floral function is intimately related to floral morphology.  Evolutionary transitions among pollinators, mating systems (selfing vs. outcrossing), sexual systems (e.g., hermaphroditism vs. monoecy, dioecy), and fruit dispersal syndromes are associated with changes in morphology and the developmental processes that underlie floral structure.  The role of natural selection in these evolutionary transitions has been the focus of intensive research and there is a rich body of both theoretical and empirical literature on the microevolutionary diversification of floral function.  In contrast, knowledge of the associated morphological and underlying developmental genetic modifications that must be associated with key evolutionary transitions in floral function during population divergence and speciation is surprisingly sparse.  This workshop will bring together experts on the microevolution of pollination syndromes, phylogeneticists with expertise in comparative methodology, and molecular developmental biologists working on underlying causes of differential organ growth (and abortion), timing of floral developmental events, symmetry, and floral and fruit histological and cell biological properties.

Presenting Faculty

  • Deborah Charlesworth (University of Edinburgh) - “Recent progress in studying the evolution of sex chromosomes in plants”
  • Beverley Glover (Cambridge University) - “Evolution, development and function of specialised petal epidermal morphologies”
  • Mark Johnston (Dalhousie University) -“More mutations from sperm, even in plants”
  • Michael Donoghue (Yale University) - “Nothing in evolution makes sense except in light of biology”
  • Elena Kramer (Harvard University) - "Spurring development in Aquilegia"
  • Chris Kuhlemeier (University of Bern) - “Speciation genes in the genus Petunia”
  • Steve Weller (University of California, Irvine) - “Interactions between modifications of incompatibility and adjustments in floral morphology during the evolutionary transition between tristyly and distyly”
  • John Willis (Duke University) - “Genetic analysis of variation in floral morphology within and among Mimulus species”

Presenting Students

  • Jill Preston (University of Kansas) - "Evolution of SQUAMOSA-PROMOTER BINDING PROTEIN LIKE (SPL) genes in the core eudicot flowering time and branching pathways”
  • Jacob Landis (University of Florida) - “Phenotypic and genetic components associated with pollinator shifts in the Phlox family (Polemoniaceae)”
  • Carolyn Beans (University of Virginia) - “A study of competition-driven plant evolution”
  • Nathan Derieg (University of California at Santa Barbara) - “Genetic and phenotypic variation across a latitudinal gradient”
  • Deren Eaton (University of Chicago) - “Symmetry genes and tests of parallelism versus convergence in floral evolution”
  • Daniel Fulop (University of California at Davis) - “How bees get whacked and why it matters for flower form: mechanical function and floral diversity in Catasetum orchids”
  • Jamie Kostyun (Indiana University) - “Investigating mechanisms that drive the association between floral diversity and speciation”
  • Patrick Monnahan (University of Kansas) - “Epistasis among QTL affecting floral size and development in Mimulus guttatus”
  • Lachezar (Luke) Nikolov (Harvard University) - “Evolution and development of flowers of Rafflesiaceae”


Attending microMORPH Steering Committee Members:

William (Ned) Friedman (Harvard University Arnold Arboretum)
Pamela Diggle (University of Colorado at Boulder)
Amy Litt (New York Botanical Garden)
Jeff Conner (Michigan State University)
Neelima Sinha (University of California Davis)
Susan Kalisz (University of Pittsburgh)
Larry Hufford (Washington State University)
Michael Donoghue (Yale University) *also a speaker

See also: Past Meeting

The NSF grant that supported microMORPH ended in April 2017. microMORPH no longer provides support for travel grants, workshops, or summer courses. The summer courses in organismic plant biology will continue at the Arnold Arboretum.