Flora of the Owyhee
Genetic relationships in Lomatium and Cymopterus
Working collaboratively with Dr. Ayers and Mansfield, this project would involve gathering genetic data on populations of plants from the field. There are several plants, including Primula cusickiana, and Lepidium spp. for which the taxonomy is unclear and genetic data are needed to bring clarity to the taxonomic groups. If you like to perform eletrophoretic separations and analyze gels to determine degrees of inter and intrapopulational genetic variation, then this work would be right up your alley.
Taxonomic study of a species
In southwestern Idaho and southeastern Oregon there are many plant species that are poorly known. In some cases there are collections of plants that appear to be somewhat distinct from existing species. In some cases these differences may appear to be minor and not worthy of any new name. In other cases the differences may warrant new names, that is, they may be species or subspecies new to science. Without careful examination of many populations of plants, represented by many specimens in the Tucker Herbarium, it is difficult to know what are the appropriate boundaries of a particular species. By studying the morphologic variation (let alone the genetic, chemical, or other forms of variation) among many collections that have been acquired over the past few decades by students, faculty, and friends of the Tucker Herbarium it is possible to hypothesize new taxonomic boundaries for our local taxa. There are many taxa that would benefit from multivariate, morphometric analysis of existing herbarium specimens. A study of this sort could be done in one or more semesters without extensive field study using resources available in the Tucker Herbarium. The goal of such a study would be to understand species boundaries in one of these "problematic" taxa.