February 1, 2019 at 8:30 pm

Plant Biology Colloquium | Plants on the Edge: Lessons From Parasitic Heaths (Ericaceae), Feb. 15

John Freudenstein, portrait

Dr, John Freudenstein

The Environmental and Plant Biology Colloquium Series presents Dr. John Freudenstein on Feb. 15 from 11:50 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. in Porter Hall 104.

Freudenstein is Professor and Chair of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology at Ohio State University.

Title: Plants on the Edge: Lessons From Parasitic Heaths (Ericaceae)

Abstract: Organisms that live on the extremes can teach us a considerable amount about what is possible in biodiversity and provide unique systems in which we can study basic evolution and ecology.  One such example is parasitic angiosperms, which have lost the ability to photosynthesize and depend on other organisms for existence.  The monotropoids are such a group found in  Ericaceae (the heath or blueberry family) that are parasitic on fungi (they are mycoheterotrophic) and leafless.   We have examined various aspects of the group – its relationships to the rest of Ericaceae, evolution of mycorrhizae, molecular evolution of the plastid genome, floral and inflorescence evolution, and hidden diversity within widespread species.  In this talk I will discuss many of these investigations, including exploring the challenges of working on such a group, and how studying this fascinating group of plants provides new insights.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *