Richard and Minnie Windler Award Recipients – 2019

Published:

April 2019

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SYSTEMATICS
Quilling with (left to right) Lytton Musselman,
Peter Schafran, and Carl Taylor.

ECOLOGY
Peter W. Schafran
Elizabeth A. Zimmer
W. Carl Taylor
Lytton J. Musselman
Timothy M. Shearman
G. Geoff Wang
Robert K. Peet
Thomas R. Wentworth
Michael P. Schafale
Alan S. Weakley

 

The Richard and Minnie Windler Award recognizes the authors of the best systematics and ecology papers published in Castanea during the previous year. For 2019, authors of two papers were selected as winners: Peter W. Schafran, Elizabeth A. Zimmer, W. Carl Taylor, and Lytton J. Musselman for their work entitled “A Whole Chloroplast Genome Phylogeny of Diploid Species of Isoëtes (Isoëtaceae, Lycopodiophyta) in the Southeastern United States.” (Castanea 83[2]:224–235), and Timothy M. Shearman, G. Geoff Wang, Robert K. Peet, Thomas R. Wentworth, Michael P. Schafale, and Alan S. Weakley for their work entitled “A Community Analysis for Forest Ecosystems with Natural Growth of Persea spp. in the Southeastern United States.” (Castanea 83[1]:3–27).

Isoëtes has presented a conundrum to taxonomists and evolutionary biologists. Species exhibit little in the way of morphological differentiation, and yet populations often harbor polyploid series. To make matters more confusing, polyploid hybridization is rampant among these otherwise unassuming quillworts. To better understand taxonomy and evolutionary history of quillworts of the Southeast, Schafran et al. obtained full plastome sequences of the diploid species of Isoëtes, providing a phylogenetic baseline from which polyploidy and hybridization can be examined for the genus. This paper also launches Castanea into the genomic age as the first manuscript to include plastome sequences for phylogenetic reconstruction.

Species of Persea may also be difficult to distinguish due to similar morphology, especially in the case of P. borbonia (red bay) and P. palustris (swamp bay). Because these species have often been described as occupying different ecological niches, Timothy Shearman and his colleagues set out to quantify the differences between communities harboring either species. Their study made use of the Carolina Vegetation Survey generated by more than 1,000 citizen-scientists. While P. borbonia was found to reside exclusively in maritime forests, P. palustris occupied seven distinct community clusters dispersed throughout the southeast.

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