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Plant biodiversity and evolution

Different paths to diversity: comparing two tropical tree groups with high species diversity but very different biologies through genomic comparisons.

Living collections are important repositories of biodiversity. Understanding the history of domestication in paperbark maple, which is endangered in its native habitat in China, can help us better conserve the species through targeted collection.

Understanding evolutionary relationships and classification of Carex, one of the largest flowering plant groups of the northern hemisphere is key to conservation, restoration, and ecological study in the group.

Making plant biodiversity data widely available enables research and restoration of Midwestern landscapes and plant conservation efforts globally.

The potential for hybridization to accelerate adaptation and health of trees to future novel and rapidly changing environments

Oak conservation depends on our understanding of what species there are and how they will evolve in response to climate change. Understanding evolutionary history and gene flow is thus key to understanding oak diversity.

Using evolutionary and functional diversity to plan ecological restoration projects can help us build restorations that establish more quickly, last longer, and require less maintenance.

Living plant collections play an important role in conserving plant biodiversity.  We collect and cultivate threatened tree species, like Quercus oglethorpensis (Oglethorpe oak), to learn about and safeguard important sources of tree genetic diversity. 

Living plant collections play an important role in conserving plant biodiversity.  We collect and cultivate threatened tree species to learn about and safeguard important sources of tree genetic diversity. 

We are using DNA data to better understand the connectivity and recent history of populations of Quercus havardii, a Western sand dune oak.

We are quantifying the number of plants and seeds needed to best preserve genetic variation of 10 species of threatened trees in botanical gardens, which  will be models for future seed collections.

We are assessing whether important seed and living collections have sufficiently sampled the wild diversity of tree species we are trying to protect.