Bennett Endowed Seminar: "Systematics and evolution of Barbados cherry family, Malpighiaceae"
Professor Charles Davis will highlight his efforts investigating the Barbados cherry family, Malpighiaceae to address broader themes in plant biology, including tropical biogeography and the evolution and development of a unique plant-pollinator mutualism. First, he will discuss how these plants have come to be distributed across the tropics during the last 75 million years. Second, he will discuss the origin of their specialization on oil bee pollinators, and how this system is helping to understand how morphological stasis arises, and is maintained, over tens of millions of years. Third, he will dissect the genetic and developmental basis of one key feature involved in this plant-pollinator mutualism, floral symmetry. And finally, he will address how the broadly conserved developmental program we have identified for floral symmetry is manipulated through parallel and divergent genetic changes when this pollinator mutualism is lost.
Dr. Charles Davis is a Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Curator of Vascular Plants at Harvard University. He studies plant diversity, especially through the lens of phylogenetic theory. He has been a research assistant at Harvard University's Arnold Arboretum and Curatorial Assistant at the University of Michigan Herbarium. He has taught Field Botany of Northern Michigan at UMBS, where he was also a student and teaching assistant in the mid-'90s and early '00s.
This seminar is free and open to the public.