Many distinguished scientists involved in the Gymnosperms on the Tree of Life (Gymnosperm AToL) project funded by the National Science Foundation met at Montgomery Botanical Center (MBC). These scientists are part of the Assembling the Tree of Life Project, which has 50 participants from various universities and scientific research institutions collaborating in an effort to gain insight into relationships among all life forms.
The group that visited MBC specializes in the evolution and relationship between non-flowering plants that produce seeds (gymnosperms). Gymnosperms comprise an ancient lineage of land plants, far older than flowering plants. The relationships among gymnosperms are a critical botanical portion of the AToL project. The assembled group discussed strategies for processing the large data sets required, and coordinated their work.
Dennis Stevenson and Damon Little (Montgomery Botanical Research Fellow), from The New York Botanical Garden, have used MBC’s cycad collection extensively for their research on the cycad branch of the Gymnosperm AToL project. Sarah Mathews and her students from the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University have used our tropical conifer collection for their work on the project. MBC has had a long history of collaboration with NYBG and the Arnold Arboretum. By providing scientists with access to our collections we are supporting conservation, research, and education.
Many thanks to Whole Foods Market in Coral Gables, which generously donated a lovely breakfast of pastries, fruit, and coffee for the event.