Undergraduate students have come to Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden for a plant systematics and evolutionary biology workshop August 11 through 21, 2012.
The workshop offers students a hands-on plant science learning opportunity—from collecting and making plant specimens to DNA extraction to working with the scanning electron microscope to analyzing the data that result from such a project.
Students have come from colleges and universities in Indiana, Arkansas, Texas and Southern California, as well as international students from Namibia and Venezuela. Professors Lucinda McDade and J. Mark Porter are leading the workshops and Kristen Hasenstab-Lehman, CGU doctoral candidate, is serving as the teaching assistant.
The intensive 10-day workshop will focus on the types of research questions and methods used in reconstructing evolutionary relationships in plants. Topics to be covered include: DNA extraction and sequencing methods, scanning electron microscopy, anatomy and morphology, field collection techniques and herbarium curation. Participants will learn to use Internet tools (e.g., GenBank) and software packages to gather, process and analyze phylogenetic data.
The workshop is made possible through funding provided by the U.S. National Science Foundation.