Connecticut Botanical Society Meetings

Annual Meeting 2017

December 2nd, 2017

CT Forest & Parks Association headquarters
16 Meriden Rd. (Route 66), Rockfall, CT 06481

Botanical Explosions: The Evolutionary Impact of Ultra-fast Plants

Dr. Joan Edwards

Some plants move so quickly their movements occur faster than the blink of an eye.  Ultra-fast plant movements have evolved in a diverse range of plants from liverworts and mosses to flowering plants.  This lecture first explores these ultra-fast actions by using high-speed video to slow down the movements and define the biomechanics of the motion.  Then, by examining the plants in their native habitat, we'll explore how these fast movements are evolutionarily adaptive, benefitting the plant. 

Dr. Edwards' research focus is plant-animal interactions, from herbivory to pollination. Her early work was on the impact of moose on plants in the boreal forests of Isle Royale National Park. Her current work focuses on pollination, a mutualism between flowers and their pollinators, which is critical to understand in the face of global pollinator decline and loss of species worldwide. She has a special interest in understanding the biomechanics and adaptive significance of ultra-fast plant movements and studies the evolutionary significance and biomechanics of fast movements including the trebuchet catapults of bunchberry dogwood, the vortex rings of Sphagnum moss, and the splash cups of liverworts. Dr. Edwards is Professor and Chair of the Biology Department at Williams College where she has been a faculty member since 1979. She is the Samuel Fessenden Clarke Professor of Biology and is also a faculty member in the Environmental Studies Program at Williams.


The Connecticut Forest and Park Association building is on the north side of Route 66, 2.8 miles west of the Route 9 intersection in Middletown and 4 miles east of the I-91 intersection in Meriden.


9:30 AM – Light Refreshments and Used Natural History Book Sale
10:15 AM – Annual Meeting
11:00 AM – Guest Lecture
12:00 noon – Potluck lunch