Biological Sciences Award Winners
The Department of Biological Sciences commends it's many faculty, staff, postdoctoral students and graduate students for their award winning research efforts
- NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
- I plan to use a combination of fieldwork, machine learning, and phylogenetic comparative methods, to disentangle abiotic and biotic drivers of evolution in an understudied group of Neotropical flowering epiphytes, Hillieae (in the family Rubiaceae- aka the coffee family). While it's a relatively small group of only 29 species, Hillieae displays incredible floral diversity, and species fall into three pollination syndromes: bat, hawkmoth, and hummingbird. As part of my research, I will be traveling to Monteverde, Costa Rica, the region with the greatest Hillieae species richness, to confirm pollinators, study plant-pollinator interactions, collect floral trait data, and collect Hillieae herbarium specimens. I am also working on inferring the first robust phylogeny for this group. By integrating life history data that I collect in the field, with phylogenetics and biogeography, I will be able to assess the roles of different abiotic and biotic factors (e.g. pollinator shift, mountain uplift, climatic niche shift) in shaping evolutionary relationships in Hillieae.
- Award in Tropical Botany from the Garden Club of America