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Honorable Mention, 2010
New Species of Crystallophlomis from Tibet
Jacqueline Van De Veire, Biological Sciences
The principal objective of my dissertation research is to reconstruct the evolutionary history of species in the genus Primula section Crystallophlomis, a lineage of flowering plants endemic to a north temperate biodiversity hotspot in south-central China. Accomplishment of this goal will permit insights into the mechanisms that create the high levels of biodiversity found there. This photograph was taken on June 23, 2009, in Bomi Xian (County) in Tibet. This exceptionally beautiful Primula is believed to be a new species of section Crystallophlomis never described before. It was found growing at an elevation of 3639 m near a large, glacial run-off stream. Fieldwork for my research involves the collection and pressing of plant specimens, documentation of locality and habitat, digital imaging, and gathering of leaf tissue for DNA extraction and analysis. The samples are sent back to the US for molecular analysis at UIC. This is my third field trip to China and my first to Tibet. It was supported by a grant (Building Capacity for Biodiversity Research, Conservation, and Education in Eastern Himalaya) funded by the MacArthur Foundation and awarded to Dr. Jun Wen of the Smithsonian Institution.