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Professor Galen Featured in American Scientist Article

June 28, 2012

funnel-shaped, violet flowers bloom in bunches atop a naked flower stalk

Galen’s studies on the ecology and evolution of floral traits in alpine sky pilot (Polemonium viscous) are highlighted in the American Scientist story.

Flowering plants share a common evolutionary dilemma: how to use their aroma to lure beneficial pollinators, like bees, without also attracting potential enemies, like beetles and ants. The July-August 2012 issue of American Scientist explores some recent research that is beginning to decode the functions of floral scents and the evolutionary pressures that have shaped them.

Professor Candi Galen’s work on alpine skypilot (Polemonium viscosum) is among the research highlighted in the article. Galen, who studies the ecology and evolution of floral traits in natural plant populations, found the alpine skypilot may use its aroma more as a defense mechanism to dissuade destructive ants than as an attractant to bee pollinators.

The full article, titled “Decoding a Flower’s Message,” is available from American Scientist.

Galen’s findings on alpine skypilot are published in the February 2011 issue of The American Naturalist.

Related research strengths:
Ecology, Evolution, Plant Biology