2018 Mentors and Projects
Plant Systematics, Conservation Biology, and Ethnobotany

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Aaron Floden, Ph.D.

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Aaron Floden, Ph.D.

Assistant Scientist
Flora of Missouri
Science & Conservation Division

Research Interests
• Flora of Missouri
• Flora of the Midwest
• Plant Systematics

Assessing the taxonomic status of Hypericum densiflorum var. interior. Dr. Floden is the Curator of the Flora of Missouri, and his research interests include the flora of Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas. One of his current projects is investigating the relationships within the genus Hypericum section Myriandra (Hypericaceae), specifically the relationships of the H. densiflorum group. Hypericum interior was recently elevated to varietal status under H. densiflorum after nearly a century relegated to synonymy. Its status as an independent species has been dubious, though the validity of the taxon at varietal or species level has never been tested by molecular or morphological comparisons. In this project, the student will learn how to use a molecular phylogenetic framework and morphometric studies (i.e. quantitative analyses of shapes and forms) to investigate the status of this taxon. A student working on this project will study and carefully measure herbarium material belonging to this group, perform statistical analyses in R to describe the morphological species groups found, analyze DNA sequence data, and will co-author a manuscript based on these results.

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