Additional Participants

Graduate Student

Margaret Connolly
Michael Burgess
Garth Holman

Undergraduate Student

Kristen Paul
Shannon Lyons
Sara Hendershot

Organizational Partners

Arnold Arboretum
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Montgomery Botanical Center, Miami FL

Project Period

October 1, 2006-September 30, 2011

Level of Access

Open-Access Report

Grant Number


Submission Date



An award is made to Sarah Mathews (Lead PI), Jianhua Li (Co-PI), Harvard University; Reed S. Beaman (PI), Nico Cellinese (Co-PI), Yale University; Christopher S. Campbell (PI), University of Maine; Richard C. Cronn (Collaborator), USDA Forest Service; Sean W. Graham (Co-PI), University of British Columbia; Stefanie M. Ickert-Bond (PI), University of Alaska; Dean G. Kelch (PI), University of California-Berkeley and California State Herbarium; Aaron I. Liston (PI), Oregon State University; Linda A. Raubeson (PI), Central Washington University; Gar W. Rothwell (PI), Gene Mapes (Co-PI), Ohio University; Andrea E. Schwarzbach (PI), University of Texas-Brownsville; Dennis W. Stevenson (PI), New York Botanical Garden; Ruth A. Stockey (Co-PI), University of Alberta to construct sequence-based phylogenetic hypotheses for all living gymnosperms and for seed plants overall, and morphology-based hypotheses to include ALL living species of gymnosperms (conifers, cycads, Gingko, and Gnetales) including examples from the fossil record, along with exemplar angiosperms (flowering plants). Nuclear, plastid and mitochondrial sequences will be utilized in the analysis along with the morphological characters to allow the rich record of fossil gymnosperms to be included. All of the data (molecular, morphological, voucher, etc.) will be submitted to standardized and accessible databases through an enhanced version of the web-based informatics tool TOLKIN (Tree Of Life Knowledge and Information Network, The evolution of the seed marks one of the most important innovations in the history of land plants and led to greater mating control and to enhanced survival and dispersal capabilities. Seed bearing plants dominate the landscape; today, forests and grasslands are among our most important resources. Understanding the origin(s) of seeds is basic to understanding seed plant phylogeny. Obtaining the needed phylogenetic framework is not a trivial undertaking and the multi-faceted approach is designed to address the inherent complexity of the problem, incorporating approaches not considered by all projects (e.g., including all gymnosperms, serious attention to the fossil data). While phylogenetic inference will be the main focus of the project, data will bear significantly on the understanding of historic patterns of biotic change at the global level, and will provide insight into the origins of many important plant traits, including those that are the basis of breeding programs in horticulture and forestry. In addition to training students, workshops for K-12 teachers will be held at several botanic gardens.

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