Chelsea Specht's Plant Biodiversity Fund

Chelsea Specht's Plant Biodiversity Fund was created to support research in plant diversity and evolution at UC Berkeley. (This research is associated with the University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley and the University and Jepson Herbaria.) The fund will support graduate student research, undergraduate opportunities, and outreach efforts aimed at training high school students in the scientific methods associated with studying plant diversity, evolution and conservation. The Specht Laboratory's strengths include plant systematics, plant taxonomy, plant morphology and developmental biology, biogeography, population genetics and conservation genetics. We are an interdisciplinary group that utilizes cutting-edge research in plant development to understand how plant form has changed through time and space, and how changing plant form results in different environmental and organismal interactions that effect plant function. As climate change and human pressures impact population structure and the interactions of plant populations with predators and pollinators, an understanding of the diversity of such interactions is essential for making intelligent and educated plans for conservation. (Our research directly contributes to the knowledge and understanding of the mechanisms that underlie plant diversity, thereby assisting efforts to conserve current plant diversity as well as to maintain those processes that enable continued diversification and adaptation in response to imminent environmental changes.