By: Ben Anderson
Warren Wilson College Biology Professor Amy Boyd of Warren Wilson College and two ecologists from other institutions have been awarded a grant of $500,000 from the National Science Foundation for research over the next three years.
Boyd, Michelle Zjhra of Georgia Southern University and Robert Raguso of Cornell University will research ”Components of floral attraction in a functionally specialized but ecologically generalized flower guild.” The focus will be on foul-smelling red flowers that bloom in early spring in the southeastern United States.
Despite being quite dissimilar and from different taxonomic groups, the flowers attract similar insects that feed on decaying organic matter. Research will seek to elucidate the relationships between these pollinators and flowers.
Students from Warren Wilson will be academically involved at every phase of research. A partnership with the Georgia Southern University Botanical Garden will impact several thousand K-12 students and teachers through an “outdoor curriculum provides hands-on experience with pollination biology,” Boyd said.