Pam and Doug Soltis Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences!

April 12th, 2017

Today, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences announced that both Pam and Doug Soltis were among the 228 scholars, scientists, writers, artists and civic, business, and philanthropic leaders elected this year. Congratulations to Pam and Doug for having earned this honor!


Many recent grants and awards!

April 12th, 2017

Many students have recently been awarded grants or awards. Congratulations to all!

Xiaoxian Liu received an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant to study alternative splicing in Tragopogon.

Johanna Jantzen received a Society for the Study of Evolution Rosemary Grant research award.

Andre Naranjo and Maggie Hernandez (a former undergraduate in the lab, moving to Penn State to study Anthropology) received NSF Graduate Research Fellowships.


Pam and Doug awarded the Darwin-Wallace Medal

June 17th, 2016
Pam and Doug Soltis receiving the Darwin-Wallace Medal

Pam and Doug Soltis receiving the Darwin-Wallace Medal

Pam and Doug Soltis were awarded the 2016 Darwin-Wallace Medal by the Linnean Society of London in recognition of having made major advances in evolutionary biology.

Press Coverage:


Pam Soltis elected to the National Academy of Sciences!

May 3rd, 2016

The National Academy of Sciences announced today that Pam Soltis has been elected to the Academy.NAS tweet announcing Pam's election

From the NAS: “Members are elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Membership is a widely accepted mark of excellence in science and is considered one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive. The NAS membership totals approximately 2,250 members and nearly 440 foreign associates, of whom approximately 200 have received Nobel prizes.”

Congratulations on a well deserved recognition!

ASPT Research Grant Awards!

April 29th, 2016

ASPT.logoFour of the lab’s students received research grants from ASPT: Anthony Melton, Andre Naranjo, Johanna Jantzen and Cody Howard (from the Cellinese Lab). Congratulations to all for an excellent job!


Undergrads awarded BSA Young Botanist Awards!

April 21st, 2016

Congratulations to Kayla Ventura and Becca O’Toole who were awarded the BSA‘s Youg Botanist Awards! Congrats also to their mentor, Jacob Landis.

Lauren Gonzalez awarded SSB Grant!

October 29th, 2015

TropaeolumCongratulations to Lauren Gonzalez who was recently awarded a Graduate Student Research Award from the Society of Systematic Biologists for her proposal titled “Elucidating the Evolutionary History of Tropaeolum (Tropaeolaceae): Implications for Historical Biogeography, Trait Evolution, and Conservation”


Tropaeolum (Tropaeolaceae) comprises ~ 90 species native to Central and South America that are distributed throughout the Andes, within a variety of different habitat types, including several biodiversity hotspots. They also show great variation in floral morphology (e.g. color, shape, size) and some species have been important cultivars around the world.  Because of its distribution and diversity, this genus represents an ideal system to study how geological and environmental processes have affected plant evolution in South America. The goals of this study are to resolve the phylogeny of Tropaeolum using a next-generation sequencing approach and subsequently explore biogeography, trait evolution, and conservation status.

Jacob Landis wins the FLMNH poster competition!

April 10th, 2015

jblandisCongratulations to Jacob Landis who won the FLMNH Student Research Exhibit Best Poster award or 2014-2015! Jacob’s poster reported on the development of outreach activities working with high school students to conduct plant systematics and forensics research experiences.

Heather-Rose Kates’ research featured by VOA

March 11th, 2015

Graduate student Heather-Rose Kates’ research, funded by a USDA grant she received, has been featured in an article and video produced by Voice of America:

Here’s the article.

Catching up on Awards

March 4th, 2015

My apologies to all of these great lab members who won awards that have not been posted on the web site! Here’s the ones I dug out going back through my inbox…there may be more, so let me know. It’s great to have so many students being recognized for their great work!


We had several successful NSF DDIG proposals, congratulations to:

Clayton Visger for the project titled “The evolutionary significance of autopolyploidy in Tolmiea (Saxifragaceae)”!


This research will investigate the evolutionary consequences of whole-genome duplication in the flowering plant genus Tolmiea. Duplication occurs when an offspring ends up with two copies of all of the chromosomes of its parents. Genome duplications have occurred frequently within the flowering plants (300,000+ species), and likely contributed to their success. Most agricultural crops are the result of one or more recent duplication events, including wheat, cotton, corn, potato, and sugarcane. Thus, the research will be of broad importance in agriculture as well as the study of biodiversity.

Tolmiea (Saxifragaceae) contains one polyploid, T. menziesii that arose directly from the single diploid in the genus, T. diplomenziesii. Ongoing work found divergence both in abiotic niche preference and physiological water stress responses between diploid and autotetraploid Tolmiea. In concert with other ecophysiological investigations, this research will characterize the role autopolyploidy has played in the divergence of gene expression patterns using a common garden experiment consisting of multiple populations and multiple water-stress treatments. This study will: 1) provide insights into genome-wide patterns of gene expression in a natural autopolyploid compared to its diploid parent, 2) evaluate the variation and responsiveness of gene expression levels to the presence and absence of water-stress, and 3) use synthetic polyploid lines to determine whether these changes are the immediate effect of polyploidy or the result of subsequent evolution. This study will increase our understanding of gene expression changes resulting from autopolyploidy, and will provide valuable information for future breeding management and improvement of autopolyploid crops.

Richie Hodel for the project titled “Comparative phylogeography of three co-distributed Neotropical mangrove species”!

Andy Crowl in Nico’s lab for the project titled “Integrating Biogeography, Cytology, Niche Modeling and Phylogenetics to Understand the Evolutionary History of Endemic Campanula Species in the Mediterranean”!

Various UF Biology Awards:

Service Award: Richie Hodel

Davis Graduate Fellowship in Botany: Rebecca Stubbs

Michael L. May Interdisciplinary Grant: Jacob Landis

Lewis & Varina Vaughn Fellowship in Orchid Biology: Richie Hodel

From way back in October:

Congratulations to Jacob Landis on being named a recipient of the 2014 I-Cubed Graduate Student Mentoring Award!  Jacob does fantastic work mentoring undergrads in research, and he has been very active in developing and implementing modules for high school students and teachers in collaboration with the Center for Precollegiate Education and Training.

Way to go, Jacob!