Biology Department

Educational Background
Ph.D., University of California-Berkeley

Recent Activities
Developed a course in general biology for non-majors emphasizing the interaction of science and societal issues. The course includes 6 debates and extended lab projects. A description of this course was presented to a joint meeting of the Botanical Society of America and the Canadian Botanical Society in August 1997.

Research interests
The general focus of my research is the study of the many effects of light on the growth, development, and reproduction of plants. Currently the plant system being used is the haploid gametophyte of the fern Ceratopteris richardii. It was chosen because it is small, rapid-growing, one cell thick, easily cultured, and the availability of sterile spores and different mutant strains. Two projects are under study: (1) When grown in continuous light, the her strain constructs no male sex organs; in contrast, growth in darkness results in some males being formed. Light given for one day early in the dark incubation decreases male formation while brief exposure to light later in dark-growth actually enhances maleness. (2) Rhizoids, the colorless unicellular "roots" of the gametophyte, show a pronounced negative phototropism away from directional light. In both projects, we are interested in the required duration, intensity, and active wavelengths of the light signal.

Selected publications
Photo-induction of sporangia in Pilobolus crystallinus. Mycologia 88:642-646. 1996

Properties of the blue-light requirement for primordia initiation and basidiocarp maturation in Coprinus stercorarius. Mycological Research. Vol.103:779-784. 1999.