The Next Generation of Scientists

April 1, 2020 Stephanie White , Research Coordinator

Denver Botanic Gardens plays a critical role in the research and conservation of plants and their ecosystems. While many of our research and conservation efforts focus on stream sites throughout Jefferson County, rare plant populations on the Western Slope and seeds of native species throughout all of Colorado, our efforts also play out at the University of Colorado Denver (UCD).

Our partnership with UCD has brought to life a graduate program, through which four research staff members are affiliate faulty. As faculty, our staff members advise graduate students in a wide variety of biodiversity sciences – including plant conservation and fungal systematics. We currently have six early-career scientists in our graduate program:

Ph.D. student Katherine Fu is planning a career in plant ecology and conservation. She has led common garden experiments at Chatfield Farms to investigate how seed source affects the success of plants in prairie restoration.

Ph.D. student Gary Olds is studying fungal diversity in the Colorado Rockies. Specifically, he is looking at the systematics and diversity of the genus Lactarius.

Master’s student Emily Orr studies how genetic analyses of plant populations inform conservation management strategies – from habitat conservation to collecting seeds for future restoration.

Master’s student Mandi Miller is pursuing conservation and restoration ecology. She is researching restoration of rangelands on plots installed at Chatfield Farms.

Having just defended his thesis in February, master’s student Liam Cullinane has spent the last two years studying pollinator health and sustainability within urban environments. His research focuses on urban ecology, as well as pollinator diversity and health in Denver.

Set to defend her thesis this April, master’s student Margo Yousse (Paces) has spent the last two years studying stream restoration along Deer Creek at Chatfield Farms. Her research quantifies plant communities along the riparian corridor to gauge the effectiveness of restoration efforts.

We are proud to take part in training the next generation of scientists and look forward to expanding our partnerships with UCD and other local universities. Learn more about our graduate program and student research and look out for posts from students on our blog!

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