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Arnold Arboretum

Summer Courses in Organismic Plant Biology

Next course: June 9 to 20, 2014

With the opportunity to bring molecular genetic and genomic tools to almost any clade of plants, a key challenge will be to link comparative developmental genetics to existing bodies of knowledge; notably the two hundred year legacy of comparative developmental morphology. This integration is critical as the phylogenetic, structural, and ecological breadth of plant taxa open to study expands, and potential questions become increasingly sophisticated. This course will provide vital analytical tools central to understanding the developmental bases for structural and functional diversity. Summer courses in organismic plant biology at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University bring distinguished faculty and a world-class living collection together to enable students from around the world to know the phenotype.

Course open to applications from undergrads, grad students, and post docs from any institution. This is a non-credit course. Each student will receive a travel stipend of up to $500; meals and dormitory lodging will be provided for all participants. Participants are required to attend the entire 2-week course.

Plant Morphology 2014: Linking Phenotype to Development

Professors Pamela Diggle (University of Connecticut) and Peter Endress (University of Zurich) will serve as the instructors for the second annual Arnold Arboretum short course, “Plant Morphology 2014: Linking Phenotype to Development.” This intensive two-week laboratory and lecture course for advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows will cover the fundamental principles of plant form, focusing on developmental dynamics, evolutionary diversification, and ecological and physiological function. Students are presented with the conceptual and analytical tools necessary to interpret the vast array of morphologies that exist among plants. This course is limited to 12 students.

Week 1: Vegetative morphology including embryogenesis and establishment of the basic body plan, modes of germination and establishment, concepts of juvenile and adult phases, phyllotaxy, shoot longitudinal symmetry (including heteroblasty), axis thickening, shoot transectional symmetry, branching, structural and functional specialization of shoot branches, leaf development, leaf lateral and longitudinal symmetry, structural and functional specialization of leaves, root development, structural and functional specialization of roots, plant architecture, evo-devo.

Week 2:  Reproductive morphology including inflorescence and flower structure, branching patterns and other features of inflorescences, flower organization and architecture, flower development, phyllotaxy and symmetry, organs of the perianth, androecium and gynoecium, synorganization of floral organs, angiosperm flower diversity, flowers of “basal” angiosperms, monocots, eudicots, the most complex flowers (orchids, asclepiads), structural solutions of functional constraints in reproductive biology, evolutionary trends in flowers.

Course format and schedule for weekdays:

9:00–10:15am Lecture I
10:15–10:30am Coffee break
10:30–11:45am Discussion of assigned primary literature
11:45am–1:00pm Lunch
1:00–2:15pm Lecture II
2:15–2:30pm Coffee break
2:30–5:30pm Laboratory
5:30–7:00pm Dinner
7:00–8:00pm Special evening guest lecture

Saturday and Sunday will involve tours of the living collections of the Arnold Arboretum and opportunities to explore the Boston area.

Application Information

Applicants should submit the following online:

  1. Contact information;
  2. Academic information;
  3. Essay;
  4. Contact information (name and email address) for two referees. As part of the online submission, you must send a request to the referee to submit a letter of recommendation. The referee will be automatically emailed with a link to an online submission form where they will upload a letter of recommendation. The referee must upload their letter of recommendation via the link by March 1.

Essay Instructions
In a total of 1000 words or fewer, please tell us:

  1. Why you want to participate in the Plant Morphology: Linking phenotype to development workshop?
  2. What are your scientific interests?
  3. While no experience is required, please describe your background in plant biology.

Submit Application online between Jan 15, 2014 and March 1, 2014.

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