BOONE, N.C. — Dr. Matt C. Estep, assistant professor in Appalachian State University’s Department of Biology, and Dr. Zack E. Murrell, professor in and chair of Appalachian’s Department of Biology, received $5,000 in funding from the University of North Carolina at Asheville (UNC Asheville) to research the species boundaries between wildflowers Liatris helleri and L. turgida.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, the two flowering perennials grow on high cliffs, rock outcrops, ledges and grassy balds in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Liatris helleri, commonly known as Heller’s blazing star, is listed as a threatened species by the U.S. Forest Service.
Estep said the funds will be used to evaluate current species boundaries between Liatris helleri and L. turgida using high-resolution microsatellite markers.
Appalachian graduate student Logan Clark, a biology major with a concentration in ecology, is a research assistant for the project. Clark is a native of Colerain.
About the Department of Biology
The Department of Biology is a community of teacher-scholars, with faculty representing the full breadth of biological specializations — from molecular genetics to landscape/ecosystem ecology. The department seeks to produce graduates with sound scientific knowledge, the skills to create new knowledge, and the excitement and appreciation of scientific discovery. Learn more at https://biology.appstate.edu.
About the University of North Carolina at Asheville (UNC Asheville)
As the only dedicated liberal arts institution in the University of North Carolina System, UNC Asheville kindles learning by offering students an intellectually rigorous education that builds critical thinking and workforce skills to last a lifetime. Small class size, award-winning faculty and a nationally acclaimed undergraduate research program foster innovation as well as recognition.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.
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