2020 Mentors and Projects
Plant Systematics, Conservation Biology, and Ethnobotany

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Wendy L. Applequist, Ph.D.

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Wendy L. Applequist, Ph.D.

Associate Curator and
Acting Director
William L. Brown Center

Research Interests
• Malagasy flora
• Plant systematics
• Identification, quality control, and systematics of medicinal plants

Revisionary studies of Malagasy Salicaceae. Applequist, the current REU program PI, is an Associate Curator in and Acting Director of MBG’s William L. Brown Center, with research interests involving medicinal plants and taxonomy of the flora of Madagascar. Applequist is a plant taxonomist who has been conducting revisionary studies of genera of Salicaceae (the willow family) in Madagascar. Madagascar is one of the centers of diversity of this family as now defined. The species in Madagascar are almost all trees, with small flowers that display an unusual degree of morphological diversity among genera. Most genera had last been revised more than 45 years ago, when far less herbarium material was available, and new species are always found when the more recent material is studied. A student working on this project will choose a manageable group of specimens, identify known and new species, and prepare descriptions of new species. The student will also learn to conduct preliminary, informal assessments of conservation status following IUCN criteria. The goal will be to co-author a manuscript describing new species and reporting on their conservation status.

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