Botany 940 - Systematics Seminar

Darwin Bicentennial: "The Abominable Mystery"

Fall 2009

Tuesday 12:05-12:55

Birge 348

David Baum, Ken Cameron, Eve Emshwiller, Bret Larget, Ken Sytsma - instructors

Upcoming Seminar: Evolution & Classification of Ferns (10Spring); Previous Seminars: Origin of Species (09Spring), Conceptual Issues in Systematics (08Fall), New Advances (08Spring), Polyploidy (07Spring), Crop Evolution (06Fall), Evidence for Evolution (06Spring), Frontiers in Systematics (05Fall), PhyloCode (05Spring), Phylogeography (04Spring), Key Innovations (03Spring)

This seminar will be a reading and discussion of the American Journal of Botany's special January 2009 issue dedicated to the work, ideas, and influences of Charles Darwin. The issue is entitled Darwin Bicentennial: the "Abominable Mystery". Darwin considered himself first and foremost a botanist, and the 25+ papers in this issue bear directly on Darwin's work and influence, especially as it relates to the rise and diversification of the angiosperms. These articles span evolutionary topics as diverse as the history of science, anatomy, morphology, paleobotany, pollination biology, molecular systematics, genetics, and ecology. The weekly seminar will examine over a dozen of these articles. Course syllabus available here as pdf.

Participants are expected to read the chapter prior to each Tuesday session. The leader of each session will lead the discussion and is encouraged to consult additional supplementary materials as s/he prepares the presentation. In addition, the leader will prepare a set of thought questions (2-3) that will be distributed by the Thursday prior to the Tuesday session. All participants should reflect on these questions, prepare their responses to them, and have them available for the class discussion. Class participation by everyone is expected and may be taken into account when determining final grades.


Other information, references, or links below

Date Chapter(s) - Links to pdf available at Learn@UW   Leader
Sep 8 Stockey, Ruth A., Sean W. Graham, & Peter R. Crane
Introduction to the Darwin special issue: the abomindable mystery Am J. Bot. 2009 96: 3-4.
William E. Friedman
The meaning of Darwin’s 'abominable mystery' Am. J. Bot. 2009 96: 5-21.


Review of Darwin's Mystery in the New York Times: Where did all the flowers come from?

Review of Darwin's Mystery in 03 April 09 issue of Science

Sep 15 Peter K. Endress and James A. Doyle
Reconstructing the ancestral angiosperm flower and its initial specializations Am. J. Bot. 2009 96: 22-66.
   Rafael Arevalo
Sep 22
Paula J. Rudall, Margarita V. Remizowa, Gerhard Prenner, Christina J. Prychid, Renee E. Tuckett, and Dmitry D. Sokoloff
Nonflowers near the base of extant angiosperms? Spatiotemporal arrangement of organs in reproductive units of Hydatellaceae and its bearing on the origin of the flower Am. J. Bot. 2009 96: 67-82.
Lena C. Hileman and Vivian F. Irish
More is better: the uses of developmental genetic data to reconstruct perianth evolution Am. J. Bot. 2009 96: 83-95.
   Christopher Cardona-Correa

Sep 29

David A. Rasmussen, Elena M. Kramer, and Elizabeth A. Zimmer
One size fits all? Molecular evidence for a commonly inherited petal identity program in Ranunculales Am. J. Bot. 2009 96: 96-109.
Pamela S. Soltis, Samuel F. Brockington, Mi-Jeong Yoo, Ana Piedrahita, Maribeth Latvis, Michael J. Moore, Andre S. Chanderbali, and Douglas E. Soltis
Floral variation and floral genetics in basal angiosperms Am. J. Bot. 2009 96: 110-128.
   Brian Sidoti
Oct 6 William E. Friedman and Kirsten C. Ryerson
Reconstructing the ancestral female gametophyte of angiosperms: Insights from Amborella and other ancient lineages of flowering plants Am. J. Bot. 2009 96: 129-143.
Joseph H. Williams
Amborella trichopoda (Amborellaceae) and the evolutionary developmental origins of the angiosperm progamic phase Am. J. Bot. 2009 96: 144-165.
   Stephanie Lyon
Oct 13 Leonard B. Thien, Peter Bernhardt, Margaret S. Devall, Zhi-duan Chen, Yi-bo Luo, Jian-Hua Fan, Liang-Chen Yuan, and Joseph H. Williams
Pollination biology of basal angiosperms (ANITA grade) Am. J. Bot. 2009 96: 166-182.
   Elizabeth Georgian
Oct 20 Tammy L. Sage, Katerina Hristova-Sarkovski, Veronica Koehl, Joelle Lyew, Vincenza Pontieri, Peter Bernhardt, Peter Weston, Shaheen Bagha, and Greta Chiu
Transmitting tissue architecture in basal-relictual angiosperms: Implications for transmitting tissue origins Am. J. Bot. 2009 96: 183-206.
Sherwin Carlquist, Edward L. Schneider, and C. Barre Hellquist
Xylem of early angiosperms: Nuphar (Nymphaeaceae) has novel tracheid microstructure1 Am. J. Bot. 2009 96: 207-215.
   Deniz Aygoren
Oct 27 Sean W. Graham and William J. D. Iles
Different gymnosperm outgroups have (mostly) congruent signal regarding the root of flowering plant phylogeny Am. J. Bot. 2009 96: 216-227.
   Diana Peterson
Nov 3 Sarah Mathews
Phylogenetic relationships among seed plants: Persistent questions and the limits of molecular data Am. J. Bot. 2009 96: 228-236.
   Evelyn Willimas
Nov 10 Edith L. Taylor and Thomas N. Taylor
Seed ferns from the late Paleozoic and Mesozoic: Any angiosperm ancestors lurking there? Am. J. Bot. 2009 96: 237-251.
   Sally Wilmeth
Nov 17 Else Marie Friis, Kaj Raunsgaard Pedersen, and Peter R. Crane
Early Cretaceous mesofossils from Portugal and eastern North America related to the Bennettitales-Erdtmanithecales-Gnetales group Am. J. Bot. 2009 96: 252-283.
Peter R. Crane and Patrick S. Herendeen
Bennettitales from the Grisethorpe Bed (Middle Jurassic) at Cayton Bay, Yorkshire, UK Am. J. Bot. 2009 96: 284-295.
   Ken Cameron
Nov 24 Gar W. Rothwell, William L. Crepet, and Ruth A. Stockey
Is the anthophyte hypothesis alive and well? New evidence from the reproductive structures of Bennettitales Am. J. Bot. 2009 96: 296-322.
Ruth A. Stockey and Gar W. Rothwell
Distinguishing angiophytes from the earliest angiosperms: A Lower Cretaceous (Valanginian-Hauterivian) fruit-like reproductive structure Am. J. Bot. 2009 96: 323-335.
   Ken Sytsma
Dec 1 Douglas E. Soltis, Victor A. Albert, Jim Leebens-Mack, Charles D. Bell, Andrew H. Paterson, Chunfang Zheng, David Sankoff, Claude W. dePamphilis, P. Kerr Wall, Pamela S. Soltis
Polyploidy and angiosperm diversification Am. J. Bot. 2009 96: 336-348.
   Rachel Jabaily
Dec 8 Susana Magallón and Amanda Castillo
Angiosperm diversification through time Am. J. Bot. 2009 96: 349-365.
   Ben Grady
Dec 15 William L. Crepet and Karl J. Niklas
Darwin’s second 'abominable mystery': Why are there so many angiosperm species? Am. J. Bot. 2009 96: 366-381.
   Eve Emswhiller

References and other links that may be useful in the course

American Journal of Botany online; The Darwin Bicentennial Issue online

Complete works of Darwin online:

Works of Darwin from The Unofficial Steven J. Gould Archive:

Wikipedia discussion of Darwin:

Darwin Correspondence Project: