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Biological Sciences

Dr. Betsy Esselman 

Portrait of Dr. Elizabeth EsselmanProfessor

Ph.D. The Ohio State University, 1996

Office: SW 1230
Research Lab: SW 1030
Phone: (618) 650-5719


Courses Taught: Introduction to Biological Sciences I (BIOL 150), Plant Biology (BIOL 321), Plant Systematics (BIOL 471), Plant Anatomy (BIOL 473).

Research Interests: Our lab studies orchid fungal associates, pollination biology, and seed germination with an overall goal of successfully re-introducing plants into native populations to support orchid conservation. Our recent work has focused on fungal collection and identification. We have collected fungi from orchid roots across the Midwest. Fungi from these plants can be established into new areas, potentially providing new habitats for terrestrial orchid species. We have also been working on understanding native orchid pollination biology. The lab has attempted hand pollinations of flowers to determine if pollen limitation is present and leading to decreased seed set.

Research Opportunities: Students who wish to learn more about research opportunities are encouraged to contact me.

Selected Publications

Sara Spagnolo, Carol Bryant, Kurt Schulz, Peter Minchin and Elizabeth Esselman. 2014. Assessing Quality of a Regenerated Prairie Using Floral and Faunal Indices.  Phytoneuron 73: 1-15.

Esselman, E.J., T.A. Enders, M. Smith, and P.M. McKenzie. 2012.  Examination of hybridization relationships between Schoenoplectus hallii and S. saximontanus (Cyperaceae) using ISSR markers. Phytoneuron 36: 1-9.

Oberle, Brad, Robert A. Montgomery, James B. Beck and Elizabeth J. Esselman.   2012.  A morphologically intergrading population facilitates local chloroplast introgression from diploid to tetraploid Dodecatheon (Primulaceae).Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 168: 91-100.

Oberle, Brad and Elizabeth J. Esselman. 2011. Fruit and seed characters help distinguish southern Illinois Dodecatheon (Primulaceae) species and highlight unusual intergrading populations.  Rhodora 113:280-299. 

Beaton, Laura, P. Van Zandt, E. Esselman and T. Knight. 2011.  Comparison of the herbivore defense and competitive ability of ancestral and modern genotypes of an invasive plant, Lespedeza cuneata.  Oikos. 120:1413-1419.

Rogenski, Christina* E. Esselman and M. Smith. 2009.  ISSR Marker Diversity of Astragalus crassicarpus var. trichocalyx in Illinois and Missouri Populations.  Transactions of the Illinois Academy of Science. 102:3&4  p. 149-159.

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