2018 Cooley Award

Congratulations to Rebecca Stubbs!

Recipient of the 2018 George R. Cooley Award

The American Society of Plant Taxonomists (ASPT) has selected Dr. Rebecca Stubbs as its 2018 George R. Cooley Award recipient. Considered one of the most prestigious early-career recognitions in the plant sciences, the award is named for George R. Cooley, a successful banker who studied plants and worked in conservation in retirement.

 Rebecca Stubbs, 2018 George R. Cooley Awardee, with David Tank

Rebecca Stubbs, 2018 George R. Cooley Awardee, with David Tank

Since 1956, the Cooley Award has been given for the best paper in systematics presented at the annual international Botany conference by a botanist in the early stages of their career. Awards are made to members of ASPT who are graduate students or within one year of their post-doctoral careers for work judged to be substantially complete, synthetic, and original that is presented in a manner that is clear and engaging.

Dr. Stubbs’ talk, titled “The evolution of cold-adapted plants: A phylogenomic analysis of Micranthes (Saxifragaceae)” and presented at Botany 2018 in Rochester, MN, focused on elements of her dissertation work done at at the University of Florida and Florida Museum of Natural History under the advisement of Dr. Nico Cellinese and co-advisement of Dr. Doug Soltis.

The primarily alpine-arctic herbaceous plant genus Micranthes is found in the mountains of Asia, Europe, and North America. Dr. Stubbs cites Micranthes as a model group for investigating broad patterns of plant migration and diversification in mountainous and Arctic areas worldwide and an excellent candidate for answering large-scale biogeographic questions. Attendees at the award-winning presentation lauded Stubbs for both her outstanding technical work and her masterful storytelling, with many commenting, especially, on how easily she wove the specific details of her project with “big picture” concepts in biogeography and evolution.

Having been conferred her PhD this August, Dr. Stubbs will now join the lab of Professor Elena Conti at the University of Zurich in Switzerland as a postdoctoral fellow.

“Given she will be hiking in the Alps to study the evolution of Primula, her new project is an excellent fit and perfect continuation of her dissertation work on high elevation systems,” says Cellinese. “Rebecca loves the outdoor and is a relentless ‘machine’ in the field! With her drive and skill set, she is certainly poised to become a highly successful member of the scientific community.”

Cellinese is quick to note that “community” means more to Stubbs than just doing excellent science.

“She participated in many outreach activities that she either organized herself outside the University of Florida or organized by the Florida Museum and Biology Department. She has mentored a number of undergraduate students, not to mention helped with the training of younger graduate peers.  She is a great team player and a truly talented and exceptional young scientist.”

A 2008 graduate of Westminster College, Stubbs also completed a Master’s thesis at San Francisco State (“The evolution and biogeography of the rare Polemoniums (Polemoniaceae)”) under the advisement of Dr. Robert Patterson before joining the Cellinese lab.

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