Busy as always and ever evolving the Weber lab continues to work (and play) hard. Spring of 2023 saw the arrival of a new graduate student, Leidy, and the graduation of another, Kate (MS). Lab work kept us all busy during the semester, but the real adventure came in May when grad student Keegan (with the assistance of lab mates Leidy and Sarah) set out on a journey to sample Triodanis hybrid zones across the Midwest. They visited several field stations such as Kessler Atmospheric and Ecological Field Station in OK, Hancock Biological Station in KY, Touch of Nature in IL, and other sites in AR and TN. They found hybrid zones between Triodanis perfoliata and Triodanis biflora in all five states visited, and Triodanis lamprosperma was present at several sites. Sarah stayed busy helping others with their field and lab work while also receiving the McNair scholarship and executing her own research project on the shifting phenology of Triodanis perfoliata. Taylor ditched the Triodanis field work to help another student conduct behavioral observations of poison dart frogs in Costa Rica, while there she had the great opportunity to visit the herbarium in the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica and the Universidad de Costa Rica to view pressed Triodanis specimens. Continuing the tour of Latin American herbaria, Leidy Laura visited the largest herbarium in the southwest of Colombia, the CUVC of the Universidad del Valle. She found a large specimen of Triodanis biflora. Dr. Weber got in on the global herbarium fun as well, stopping by the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris, France during her Mediterranean fieldwork.
Field Season 2022 had graduate and undergraduate lab members (Kate, Taylor, Sarah) returning to Central Texas at the start of May for sampling pollinator diversity of Trio. After driving 15 hours through weather that felt like an act of god, they were greeted with an incredible study site at Stengl Lost Pines (UT Austin) where Triodanis was in abundance. As the heat of each day broke (it’s not the heat that gets you it’s the humidity) and field work ended for that afternoon, evenings were spent cooking dinner and enjoying the bird diversity that area of Texas provides. Sampling moved northward from there to the Dallas Fort Worth area where we met with a frequent collaborator, Kim Sasan. Fieldwork was also done in the lovely Flint Hills of Konza prairie and a military installation in Missouri with a homebase at Ozark Research Field Station (Missouri S&T) and finally wrapped in mid-June back in Southern Illinois
above left: Kate T. & Sarah L. performing pollinator observations; above right: Taylor S. & Sarah L. doing pollinator surveys.
This year the whole lab went to Anchorage, AK to showcase their work at the Botanical Society of America’s annual conference. #TeamTrio was represented in two different poster sections (Biogeography and Pollination) with undergrads and grad students presenting work. Field trips out into the mountains surrounding Anchorage with academics and professionals from around the world, making new friends or catching up with old ones, enjoying bluebird days under the midnight sun, and many ice cream runs were some of the other highlights.
above left: the whole lab took a rainy, but fun trip to the Alaska Botanical Garden (Julia B., Morgan L., Sarah L., Jenn W., Taylor S., Kate T.; above right: fantastic lab pic t the conference center, check out those mountains!