California Botanical Society

28th Graduate Student Symposium

Virtual Meeting via Zoom
Friday, April 30, 2021 and Saturday, May 1, 2021

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2021 Botany Speaker Series

The CalBotSoc botany speaker series aims to showcase and promote the work of early career botanists. If you are an early career botanist interested in giving a talk of general interest to our members, please email us at

thumbnail_IMG_8365 Jenna Ekwealor

SuePierre_large_DSC3435 Suzanne Pierre

thumbnail_IMG_4561 Natalie Love

Justin Luong Justin Luong

SF Conservatory (3) Adriana Hernandez

Lorena_Villanueva Lorena Villanueva-Almanza

Thursday, June 10, 2021 7-8pm PT
Jenna Ekwealor

"Adaptation, acclimation, and refugia: How mosses survive and thrive in the desert"

While the thought of mosses may conjure up a scene of a damp, dark forest, mosses are actually common in deserts. This talk will cover some of my recent research on the genetic, physiological, and ecological adaptations that mosses in the genus Syntrichia (Pottiaceae) have to survive in the high light and low water habitat of California's Mojave Desert.

Jenna is a postdoctoral researcher studying plant genomics and evolution at the Smithsonian Institution Data Science Lab. After three years conducting biomedical research as an undergraduate student, Jenna switched trajectories to explore environmental and field research, eventually earning a master’s degree in Environmental Science, Biology Option, at California State University, Los Angeles working with Dr. Kirsten Fisher. This work, population genetics of the Mojave Desert moss Syntrichia caninervis, is what sparked her interest in mosses. In 2020, Jenna graduated with her PhD in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley where she studied molecular and physiological desiccation and UV tolerance in Syntrichia using a variety of field and lab experiments.


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2021 Schedule of Talks

14-Jan: Lorena Villanueva-Almanza

11-Feb: Adriana Hernandez

11-Mar: Justin Luong

8-Apr: Natalie Love

13-May: Suzanne Pierre

10-Jun: Jenna Ekwealor

8-Jul: Maria Jesus

12-Aug: Rachael Olliff-Yang

California Botanical Society
c/o Jepson Herbarium
1001 Valley Life Sciences Building
Berkeley, California 94720-2465