July 3, 2020
The surprising way Jack-in-the-Pulpit initiates pollination…
Some of the most fun stories we have in science are about surprising discoveries. Most people think of these as “eureka” moments. We can picture a scientist in a lab seeing something unexpected and shouting with excitement. “Eureka!” But, in science, these “eureka” moments don’t really exist. When we make a surprising observation, it’s not always immediately clear that what we have witnessed is, in fact, surprising at all. Today for #ScienceonFridayswithHolden, we’d like to share an observation made by our department chair, David Burke. It is a story about an unlikely pollinator and is fitting as we wrapped up #NationalPollinatorMonth earlier this week.Read more
July 1, 2020
Latest Newsletter Released by the Rhododendron Research Network
Read the latest news in Rhododendron research in the July 2020 edition of the Rhododendron Research Network Newsletter (found here). This network, led by Holden Scientist Dr. Juliana Medeiros and Dr. Erik Nilsen of Virginia Tech University, has attracted and connected prominent researchers from around the globe for collaborative projects, including researchers in China, the US, Canada, India, Japan, the UK and Germany, and connected them with community science volunteers based both in the American Rhododendron Society and at Holden. Please visit http://rhodo-research.net to learn more about how the Rhododendron Research Network is advancing Rhododendron horticulture, research and conservation, and increasing awareness of genus Rhododendron as one of Earth’s biodiversity treasures.
June 26, 2020
Pollinator Research at the Arboretum with Dr. Na Wei
Why do we care about pollinators? Pollinators are important creatures in natural ecosystems and our daily life because they provide vital services to wild plants and our crops. Pollinators carry and deliver pollen to facilitate plant fertilization to produce fruits and seeds. These fruits serve as food for many animals in nature, and the seeds are next-generation offspring to maintain plant persistence. Nearly 300,000 wild plants (87% of flowering plants) depend on pollinators and their services. For humans, 75% of our leading crop species and 35% of global food production depend on pollinators, including our favorite ones (e.g. apples, strawberries, pears, tomatoes, coffee, etc.)Read more
June 19, 2020
Science on Friday: Spring phenology monitoring wraps for the year
As spring transitions to summer, we’re wrapping up this year’s spring phenology monitoring in Bole Woods at the Holden Arboretum. Have you heard the term phenology before? Phenology is the study of the timing of natural phenomena – anything that has a seasonal signal. When does Trillium flower? When do hummingbirds arrive in northeast Ohio for the summer? Over the past few decades, phenology has been the canary in the coal mine for ecologists studying the ecological impacts of climate change. Phenology has been one of the earliest ecological parameters observed to shift with the changing climate, and continues to shift ever more strongly as the climate continues to warm.Read more
June 12, 2020
Plant–pollinator interactions and the role of the flower microbiome in crabapples
Science on FridayRead more
June 12, 2020
Harnessing microbiomes in crabapples: II. Getting seeds for testing microbiome functions
Plants are associated with numerous microorganisms in the wild. Some of these microorganisms are beneficial but others, such as pathogens, can be harmful to plants. Thus, maintaining a healthy microbiome is key to plant health. For crabapples (i.e. the wild apples, Malus), we have observed that some crabapple cultivars/species are more disease resistant than others at the National Crabapple Evaluation Project Plot at Holden. Our previous work published on the Malus: International Ornamental Crabapple Society Bulletin with Holden students Jessica LaBella and Eve Kaufman has identified many fungi associated with crabapples.Read more
June 5, 2020
Science on Friday – Intern program
As a scientist at the Holden Arboretum, I wear many hats, but one of my favorites is mentor to our summer interns. Each year, Holden’s Research Department brings in students from around the country to join us in our labs, gardens, and forests. These students help us collect valuable data used to make new discoveries about the role of plants in our natural world, and in turn, get to try their hand at being a scientist. Many of them will go on to become scientists themselves.Read more
June 1, 2020
David Burke and Adam Hoke Co-Authored a Study on Beech Leaf Disease
The Burke lab is continuing research on beech leaf disease and had another paper published. This paper was led by Sharon Reed who is with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. David Burke and Adam Hoke are co-authors on the study, as we contributed data from Holden’s lower Baldwin research plots on nematode population size. This paper appeared in Forest Pathology and can be found here.
May 29, 2020
Promoting Healthy Forests Through Research at Working Woods
By Rory Schiafo, Research Specialist
If you have been hiking on the Bole Woods loop in the last two years, you may have noticed some strange white pipes sticking out of the ground, or perhaps a group of eager young ecologists measuring trees or counting seedlings. “What is this all about?”, you may ask yourself. This is Working Woods, a 76-acre living laboratory where a 40-year-old forest is currently undergoing a transformation, and in the process is teaching us how to manage Ohio’s valuable forests.Read more
May 28, 2020
Holden’s Leach Station in the Akron Beacon Journal
Pictures of Connor Ryan, Holden’s Rhododendron Collections Manager, and some of the sites around the David G. Leach Research Station were part of an online piece by the Akron Beacon Journal. Take a look at the pictures here.
May 26, 2020
Katie Stuble is a Co-Author on a Study Published in the Journal Ecology
Katie Stuble co-authored a paper titled “Year effects: Inter-annual variation as a driver of community assembly dynamics” for the journal Ecology. The published study explores the substantial, but rarely acknowledged, impacts of interannual variability on the outcomes of community assembly (the process by which new plant communities come together). You can read the article here.
May 26, 2020
Understanding How Trees Respond to Their Urban Environment
As urban areas expand, they leave isolated forest patches in their wake. The effects of urban areas such as higher temperatures, water flow changes, and increased pollution are not limited to the city, however, and can cause a ripple effect through the surrounding areas. I want to know how forests are shaped by their neighboring cities. I study the anatomical and physiological traits of trees that will help us understand if, and how, trees are able to respond to the urban environment. I also plan to investigate one of the most under-studied aspects of urban forests—Can the seedlings from urban trees, such as the red maples shown in the photos here, inherit traits from their parents that differ from those in rural forests? To do this I am collecting samaras (maple seeds) from red maple trees growing in urban and rural forests. I will grow them in a greenhouse and, when the seedlings have grown, I will see how they differ in leaf structure and function. This is the very first step to exploring how urban forests of the future will function.Read more
May 20, 2020
The Research Department Welcomes Summer Interns
Holden’s Research Department is hosting local students for our summer intern program. Due to COVID-19, the majority of our summer research is being conducted in the field and in a socially-distant manner. The summer research projects range in topics that include the Malus apple microbiome, forest restoration, phenology of spring ephemerals, tree response to their urban environment, and the expansion of red cedar range.
May 15, 2020
How genus Rhododendron became my favorite plant species
As a plant scientist I am often asked the question, “What is your favorite plant species?” The truth is, I can’t pick just one. What I love about plants is their diversity, so, this is the story of how an entire genus of plants became my favorite, and how our research on genus Rhododendron at Holden Forests & Gardens helps us to conserve biodiversity and solve the mystery as to why there are so many different kinds of plants on Earth.Read more
May 8, 2020
What makes a native tree become invasive?
Invasive species. The term brings to mind organisms that have been moved around by people, either accidentally or for a purpose, that are now causing problems. For example, here in Ohio we are plagued by invasive plants like garlic mustard, which was introduced by European settlers, that outcompetes native plants and is costly to remove. But in some occasions native plants become invasive and expand their ranges and replace other native species. One such plant is eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana), which is expanding its range westward into remnant grasslands as well as expanding into new niches within its historic range. The range expansion of native plants does beg the question, does it matter? Does the replacement of one native with another native harm the ecosystem? Our case of the slow invasion of red cedar (unaffectionately called the green glacier) is causing concern since it is expanding into historic grasslands, many of which have already been converted to agriculture or urban areas. Replacement by red cedar in these areas may cause endemic species to become endangered or go extinct. To better understand why this native plant is becoming invasive the ecology and physiology of red cedar needs to be examined more closely.Read more
May 1, 2020
Coding in plant biology, who knew?
I never viewed myself as a math person, let alone a computer coder. I have always loved nature, animals and plants, these are what drew me to plant biology. But somehow, coding has become one of my favorite parts of my research at Holden Forests & Gardens. Looking back, maybe it isn’t too surprising. In 1977 my mother was one of the few women in the world working on a graduate degree in computer science, with 7-year-old me in tow as she taught her evening course. She jokes about how I used to doodle with my markers and then raise my little hand to ask and answer questions in her class, and now I often reflect on this as the first moments of joy I found in coding.Read more
April 17, 2020
Long-term Research in Forest Ecology in Stebbins Gulch
We began our long-term climate research in Stebbins Gulch in 2006. Our goal was to monitor how plants and soil fungi that associate with plant roots (called mycorrhizal fungi) respond to changes in air and soil temperature and moisture. This shows one of our two weather stations in the old-growth beech-maple forest in Stebbins. The beech tree in the background that toppled over in 2015 was more about 219 years old when it fell based on tree ring data – the tree began to grow in 1796.Read more
April 15, 2020
Holden Researchers Participate in Climate Change Webinar
Holden’s Rhododendron Collections Manager, Connor Ryan, and Research Associate, Sarah Kyker, participated in a webinar run by Oberlin College. The webinar presented information about the significance of trees and forests in our daily lives and in the broader context of climate change. Holden researchers joined individuals from the Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment (LIASE), as well as the Departments of Environmental Studies, Biology, East Asian Studies, and Geology at Oberlin College to discuss the importance of trees and climate change. A recording of the webinar can be viewed here.
April 10, 2020
Research Spotlight: Exploring Fire Blight in Ornamental Apple Trees
Plants are living in a microbial world. They interact not only with microbes in the soil but also the ones living in their flowers. These microbial partners can be beneficial or harmful. One of the most devastating epidemics in ornamental apple trees – fire blight – is caused by bacterial infection initiated during bloom, and can be spread from flower to flower by visiting pollinators. Breakthrough in suppressing this pathogenic microbe is needed.
At Holden, we aim to develop plant probiotics against fire blight using beneficial flower microbes from the resistant cultivars of ornamental apples (crabapples). Holden has established an invaluable resource of crabapple cultivar collection for over 30 years. At Holden’s long-term experiment plot of crabapples, every single tree has been permanently tagged. These cultivars differ in their flowers such as color and smell and diPlants are living in a microbial world. They interact not only with microbes in the soil but also the ones living in their flowers. These microbial partners can be beneficial or harmful. One of the most devastating epidemics in ornamental apple trees – fire blight – is caused by bacterial infection initiated during bloom, and can be spread from flower to flower by visiting pollinators. Breakthrough in suppressing this pathogenic microbe is needed.sease resistance. We will monitor their flowering and study flower microbes.
March 2, 2020
The Medeiros Lab Welcomes Randy Long
The Medeiros Lab at Holden Arboretum welcomed new postdoctoral researcher Dr. Randy Long, who will work on a project funded by the National Science Foundation examining the physiology of Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana). This interdisciplinary project is being conducted in collaboration with researchers at three local universities, Kent State, Ohio State and Denison, to better understand the relative importance of factors like climate, seed dispersal and fire regime in driving the westward range expansion of this long-lived woody shrub into grassland ecosystems.
February 27, 2020
New Study on Planting Order during Restoration published by Katie Stuble
Holden scientist Katie Stuble published a new paper in the journal Diversity, exploring the impacts of planting order on restoration outcomes. Planting species early on in restoration can be used to promote target species. However, Stuble’s research found that, in some cases, planting restoration species at different times, as opposed to all at once, can leave restored areas vulnerable to invasion by non-native species. This suggests that, in some cases, establishment of non-native species may be an unintended consequence of using such staggered plantings of species as a restoration tool. The article is available here.
February 26, 2020
David Burke Gives Webinar on Beech Leaf Disease
David Burke, Holden’s Vice President for Science and Conservation, gave a webinar on his lab’s research on beech leaf disease (BLD). This two-part webinar began with Dan Volk of the Cleveland Metroparks first giving information about BLD. David provided content for the second half and discussed current data from his lab that are helping to find the cause of BLD. The webinar was hosted by the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) University, which is a collaborative project between Purdue University, Michigan State University, and The Ohio State University that originally distributed information on emerald ash borer. More recently, EAB University has expanded their scope to distribute information on more pests and diseases. Check out the webinar here.
January 5, 2020
Research from Holden on Beech Leaf Disease Published in Forest Pathology
Two of Holden’s researchers, David Burke (Vice President for Science and Conservation) and Adam Hoke (Research Specialist), were co-authors on articles about beech leaf disease (BLD) that were published by Forest Pathology. One article (found here) details the leaf microbiome on symptomatic and asymtomatic leaves and buds and identifies bacterial taxa that are more commonly associated with infected leaves. The other article (found here) describes the association of infected beech trees with the nematode species Litylenchus crenatae mccannii, a subspecies of L. crenatae, which were originally described in Japan. This newly described subspecies is currently believed to be necessary for disease symptoms.
January 1, 2020
Holden Research Welcomes Na Wei
The Research Department is excited to welcome our new staff Scientist, Dr. Na Wei. Wei’s research investigates the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that confer plant adaptation to the environment and focuses on the interactions between plant phenotype, genotype, and environment. More information about Na’s research can be found here.
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