Amanda Fisher NSF Graduate Fellow
Thesis Title:
A Phylogeny of Chusquea: Finding Natural Lineages Within the Largest Genus of American Bamboos.

Research Advisor:
Dr. Scot Kelchner

Teacher Partner:
Cara Sonnemann

Degree Sought:

University Department and/or Lab:
Biological Sciences

Research Foci:
Plant Systematics, Phylogenetics, Bamboos, Agrostology, Molecular Biology, Evolutionary Biology, Speciation, Native Plants, Herbaria/Collections, Taxonomy, Biogeography, Molecular Dating, Biological Education and Women in Science.

Description of Bamboo Research:
The bamboo genus Chusquea is the largest group of woody bamboos in the western hemisphere, but its evolutionary history has not been well studied. Over 160 species of Chusquea are found in south and central America in forests at all elevations and in high altitude grasslands in the Andes. It is unclear why so many Chusquea species are found in high altitude grasslands. Vouchers and leaf samples have been collected by previous researchers but additional samples will be collected by Fisher. This study proposes the DNA sequencing of three chloroplast genome regions, one nuclear genome region and the analysis of amplified fragment length polymorphisms. The molecular data will be used in phylogenetic analyses to test hypotheses of Chusquea’s evolutionary and biogeographic history.

One example of how you integrate your research into your GK-12 experience:
This week in the Pocatello Community Charter School 7th and 8th grade science classroom we’ll be learning about classification of biological systems. Methods of classification are the basis of taxonomy and plant classification, two of my main research areas. Classes will be participating in a classification exercise, looking at herbarium specimens and observing plant variation on the Portneuf Greenway.

Profile date: September 2009

Amanda Fisher