I would encourage undergraduate and masters students to work on a project based on the flora of Colorado or based on my work on the Celastraceae.  Because on the paucity of collections there, I am particularly interested in having students conduct floristic studies on the plains of eastern Colorado.  Floristic studies are a great way to learn the local flora, family characters, and the use of dichotomous keys.  These are important skills for jobs in conservation and management of public lands.  Jennifer Ackerfield and the Colorado State University Herbarium are outstanding resources to facilitate floristic studies in Colorado.  As an undergraduate, I completed a flora of the Potomac River-drainage of King George County, Virginia (Simmons et al., 1995).            

            Other projects for undergraduate and masters students include monographing genera in the Celastraceae and conducting morphological and molecular-based phylogenetic studies of selected clades within the Celastraceae.  Monographic studies would focus on poorly known genera, while phylogenetic studies would focus on taxonomically problematic taxa.  As an undergraduate, I monographed the cerrado hemicryptophytic Chamaesyce of Boissier's Pleiadeniae as part of John Hayden’s work on the Euphorbiaceae (Simmons and Hayden, 1997).

            I would encourage Ph.D. students to delimit their own project, though they are welcome to work on my research program as well.  Students may work on any group of vascular plants that they are interested in.  For example, Jerry Davis, my Ph.D. advisor at Cornell University, works on grasses, whereas I work on the Celastraceae.  In addition to, or as part of, their empirical work, I would encourage Ph.D. students to work with me on my conceptual research.  Phylogenetics is a broad, demanding, controversial, and rapidly moving field.  It is important for students to be familiar with the conceptual aspects of the field, preferably as part of their research, rather than simply following “generally accepted” guidelines.


Morgan Library, Colorado State Univ.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Cache La Poudre River


o   Botany for the next millennium

o   Careers in systematic biology

o   Careers in botany

o   Colorado State University:

§  Department of Biology

§  Department of Biology Graduate Program

§  Program in Molecular Plant Biology

§  Graduate school

§  Herbarium

o   Faculty / staff at Colorado State University with related interests:

§  Mike Antolin (population biology, quantitative and population genetics)

§  Bill Black (molecular systematics of vectors and pathogens)

§  Chris Funk (evolutionary ecology of vertebrates)

§  Ruth Hufbauer (ecological and population genetics)

§  Boris Kondratieff (systematic entomology, curator of the C.P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity)

§  John McKay (plant evolutionary genetics)

§  Rachel Mueller (systematic zoology, molecular evolution)

§  Pat Reeves (systematic botany; National Seed Storage Laboratory)

§  Chris Richards (population genetics; National Seed Storage Laboratory)

§  Dan Sloan (molecular evolution and genomics)

§  David Steingraeber (ecological plant morphology)

§  Sarah Ward (plant breeding and genetics)

§  Colleen Webb (theoretical ecology and evolution)

o   Fort Collins:

§  Chamber of Commerce

§  City of Fort Collins

§  Convention and Visitors Bureau

§  map

§  weather

o   Herbaria nearby:

§  Rocky Mountain Herbarium (University of Wyoming)

§  University of Colorado at Boulder

§  University of Northern Colorado

o   National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation (on Colorado State University campus)

o   Parks and government lands nearby:

§  Rocky Mountain National Park

§  Arapaho / Roosevelt National Forest

§  Horsetooth Reservoir

§  Lory State Park

§  Pawnee National Grasslands

o   Systematic botanists nearby:

§  Jennifer Ackerfield (herbarium manager, Colorado State University)

§  Greg Brown (University of Wyoming)

§  Ron Hartman (curator, Rocky Mountain Herbarium)

§  Pat Reeves (National Seed Storage Laboratory)

§  Erin Tripp (curator, University of Colorado at Boulder herbarium)

§  Mitch McGlaughlin (curator, University of Northern Colorado herbarium)

Fort Collins

Old Town, Fort Collins

The Oval, Colorado State Univ.


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