Highlights of Some of the Past Catherine H. Beattie Fellowship Awardees
Each year, The Garden Club of America (GCA) and the CPC together award the Catherine H. Beattie Fellowship to graduate students in biology, horticulture, or a related field. The purpose of the award is “to promote conservation of rare and endangered flora in the United States, with preference given to students whose projects focus on the endangered flora of the Carolinas and southeastern United States.” The fellowship was established to honor Catherine H. Beattie. who served as a director and board member of the GCA and served as president from 1981 to 1983. The first fellowship was given by the Fullerton Foundation in 1983.
We’d like to highlight some of our past winners. Here’s an overview of the work of 2004 award recipient Christy Edwards and an update on her current work and research.
Christy Edwards 2004
The first part of Christy’s project was the reconstruction of the phylogeny of Conradina, which resulted in two publications: “Phylogeny of Conradina and related southeastern scrub mints (Lamiaceae) based on GapC gene sequences” in the International Journal of Plant Sciences (with D. Lefkowitz, D.E. Soltis, and P.S. Soltis); and “Molecular phylogeny of Conradina and other scrub mints (Lamiaceae) from the southeastern USA: evidence for hybridization in Pleistocene refugia?” in Systematic Botany (with D.E. Soltis and P.S. Soltis). In the second part of her project, she conducted population genetic analysis of all of the species of Conradina, using microsatellites instead of AFLPs. The results helped clarify species boundaries and indicated that Conradina brevifolia was a distinct species and worthy of protection. It also identified a new, cryptic species of Conradina. Three papers resulted from this portion of the project: “Using population genetic data as a tool to identify new species: Conradina cygniflora (Lamiaceae), a new endangered species from Florida” in Systematic Botany (with W.S. Judd, G.M Ionta, and B. Herring; ”
Using patterns of genetic structure based on microsatellite data to distinguish between recent hybridization, ancient hybridization, and incomplete lineage sorting in Conradina” in Molecular Ecology (with D.E. Soltis and P.S. Soltis); and “Isolation, characterization, and cross-species amplifications of microsatellite loci in Conradina” in Molecular Ecology Resources (with D. Soltis and P.S. Soltis).
Christy is currently a conservation geneticist at the Missouri Botanical Garden, an honorary adjunct professor at Washington University in St. Louis and an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She leads the Conservation Genetics lab and research program. Her research focuses on using population and quantitative genetics approaches to help understand the ecology and evolutionary biology of endangered plant species and using genetic data to aid in applied in-situ and ex-situ conservation efforts.