Dr. Angelica Cibrian, from the New York Botanical Garden, was hosted at Montgomery in early March as part of the Kelly Research Fellows Program.

Angelica offered a public seminar, titled: “The use of living collections to understand plant evolution, from genes across landscapes to genomes across species,” at the Nixon Smiley Meeting Room.  Dr. Cibrian’s lecture was well attended by colleagues from FIU, FTBG, the horticulture community, and local plant enthusiasts.

During this trip to MBC she collected a diverse group of cycads and conifers for ongoing broad studies of gene expression in plants that will help us understand the evolution of the seed and traits of agronomic importance in plants. This is part of her work with the New York Plant Genomics Consortium.

Angelica is working with Dr. Patrick Griffith on utilizing DNA data to maximize the conservation value of botanic garden plant collections.
Angelica recently chaired a symposium on this subject at the X Congreso Latinoamericano de Botánica in Chile.

Dr. Cibrian’s lecture also included insights on reintroduction: “Botanical garden plant collections have helped us learn many important things about plant evolution. One of the questions I am also looking at now is how useful these collections can be for sources of seed for reintroduction efforts.”

Dr. Cibrian has been using the living collection at MBC in her research for many years. She has published on the population genetics of Chamaedorea palms in Belize and Cycas micronesica in the Western Pacific. Both this palm and this cycad have specific conservation concerns, from overharvesting and exotic pests, respectively.

The Kelly Foundation generously funds our Fellows Program, which brings scholars to Montgomery to work with our plant collections and the MBC Team.