Plant Systematics Focus of Sigma Xi Science Cafe Monday, March 4

Dr. William Wozniak, UNK professor of psychology, 308.865.8242 or wozniakw@unk.edu

“Plant Systematics: Morphology to Molecules” will be the topic of a Science Café presentation at 5 p.m. Monday, March 4, at The Loft at Cunningham’s Journal, 15 West 23 St., in Kearney.

The Science Café presentation is one in a series sponsored by the University of Nebraska at Kearney chapter of Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Society. The event is free and open to the public. Dr. John La Duke, dean of the UNK College of Natural and Social Sciences, will give the presentation.

“The field of plant systematics has changed significantly since I became interested in plants in the mid-1970s,” Dr. La Duke said. “The focus then was mainly on morphology, distribution, chromosome numbers and some plant chemistry. Most of those exist today, but some do not.”

“As the population of plant systematists grows older, and new individuals enter the workplace, the data gathered and the tools for data analysis have changed considerably,” he said, adding that “I will summarize some of the projects I have worked on, and describe how I changed my approaches to my research to match each project.”

Dr. La Duke attended Texas Tech University and earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology and a master’s degree in botany. He then earned a Ph.D. in botany from The Ohio State University. He began his academic career at the University of North Dakota, where he moved through the ranks to professor. He served in the College of Arts and Sciences office as an associate dean for four years and one semester as an associate vice president of Research and Economic Development before coming to UNK. He has published in national and international journals, described two new species of plants, and has recently had three treatments accepted for the Flora of North America.

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