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"Botanical research at Eastern Kentucky University: Fantastic ferns, conservation and beyond"

THM 116
Speaker(s) / Presenter(s):
Dr. Sally Chambers | Faculty Host: Dr. Rosana Zenil-Ferguson

SelfieDr. Sally Chambers

Kentucky is a botanically diverse state home to over 2,000 native plants and more than 400 taxa that are of conservation concern. Kentucky’s native plants are phylogenetically diverse, and a subset of taxa reflect Kentucky’s geologic history as tropical relicts. This is especially true for the ferns in Kentucky, as many species occupy sandstone rock shelters which buffer extreme climatic conditions much like cave ecosystems. These microclimatic pockets create unique distribution patterns for the ferns that occupy this niche space, and even further partition the fern life cycle such that some crevices host only gametophytes while others host both gametophyte and sporophyte generations. This talk will focus on decades of work conducted in these unique rock shelter environments and the spatial differentiation of fern generations (gametophyte/sporophyte) in Kentucky, the Appalachians and beyond. Ecological research focusing on topics such as local adaptation, physiological tolerance limits, and population differentiation will be discussed. The remainder of the talk will highlight the botanical resources housed at Eastern Kentucky University and the utility of these natural history collections to scientists worldwide.

Watch the seminar here!