Morton Arboretum

Morton Grove, IL, United States

Morton Arboretum

Morton Grove, IL, United States
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News Article | February 27, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

ITASCA, Ill., Feb. 27, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- First Midwest Bancorp, Inc. (“First Midwest”) (NASDAQ:FMBI), the parent company of First Midwest Bank, today announced the appointment of Thomas L. Brown and Stephen C. Van Arsdell to its board of directors, effective immediately. “We are extremely pleased to welcome Tom Brown and Steve Van Arsdell to our board of directors,” said Michael L. Scudder, President and Chief Executive Officer of First Midwest.  “Both are highly-accomplished financial and risk professionals who have spent most of their careers working with financial services companies.  They will add significant experience and depth to our already-strong board, and we look forward to their insight and counsel.” Mr. Brown is Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of RLI Corp. (NYSE:RLI), a specialty insurer serving diverse niche property, casualty and surety markets.  Mr. Brown is a former partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he served for ten years as its Midwest Regional Financial Services Director and led teams responsible for banking, insurance, capital markets and investment management business sectors.  Mr. Brown currently serves on the boards of directors of Prime Holdings Insurance Services, Inc., the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and Easter Seals Central Illinois.  He also serves on the board of trustees of Illinois Wesleyan University.  Mr. Brown holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Illinois Wesleyan University. Mr. Van Arsdell is a former senior partner of Deloitte & Touche LLP, where he served as Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Quality Officer for several years.  He previously served as Deloitte’s partner-in-charge of its financial services practice in the Midwest.  Mr. Van Arsdell currently serves on the board of trustees of the Morton Arboretum and previously chaired the board of trustees of the Conservation Foundation.  He is a past member of the boards of the Illinois Cancer Council, Kidney Foundation of Illinois and Literacy Volunteers of America-Illinois.  Mr. Van Arsdell holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting and a Masters of Accounting Science degree from the University of Illinois, where he is a member of the Dean’s advisory council for the College of Business and vice chairman of the board of directors of the University of Illinois Alumni Association. First Midwest is a relationship-focused financial institution and one of the largest independent publicly-traded bank holding companies based on assets headquartered in the Midwest, with approximately $14 billion in assets and $9 billion in trust assets under management.  First Midwest’s principal subsidiary, First Midwest Bank, and other affiliates provide a full range of commercial, equipment leasing, retail, wealth management, trust and private banking products and services through over 130 locations in metropolitan Chicago, northwest Indiana, central and western Illinois, and eastern Iowa. First Midwest’s common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Stock Market under the symbol FMBI.  First Midwest’s website is www.firstmidwest.com.


Hipp A.L.,Morton Arboretum | Rothrock P.E.,Taylor University | Whitkus R.,Sonoma State University | Weber J.A.,Morton Arboretum
Molecular Ecology | Year: 2010

Chromosome rearrangements may affect the rate and patterns of gene flow within species, through reduced fitness of structural heterozygotes or by reducing recombination rates in rearranged areas of the genome. While the effects of chromosome rearrangements on gene flow have been studied in a wide range of organisms with monocentric chromosomes, the effects of rearrangements in holocentric chromosomes-chromosomes in which centromeric activity is distributed along the length of the chromosome-have not. We collected chromosome number and molecular genetic data in Carex scoparia, an eastern North American plant species with holocentric chromosomes and highly variable karyotype (2n = 56-70). There are no deep genetic breaks within C. scoparia that would suggest cryptic species differentiation. However, genetic distance between individuals is positively correlated with chromosome number difference and geographic distance. A positive correlation is also found between chromosome number and genetic distance in the western North American C. pachystachya (2n = 74-81). These findings suggest that geographic distance and the number of karyotype rearrangements separating populations affect the rate of gene flow between those populations. This is the first study to quantify the effects of holocentric chromosome rearrangements on the partitioning of intraspecific genetic variance. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Bowles M.L.,Morton Arboretum | Jones M.D.,Christopher B. Burke Engineering
Ecological Applications | Year: 2013

Understanding temporal effects of fire frequency on plant species diversity and vegetation structure is critical for managing tallgrass prairie (TGP), which occupies a midcontinental longitudinal precipitation and productivity gradient. Eastern TGP has contributed little information toward understanding whether vegetation-fire interactions are uniform or change across this biome. We resampled 34 fire-managed mid- and late-successional ungrazed TGP remnants occurring across a dry to wet-mesic moisture gradient in the Chicago region of Illinois, USA. We compared hypotheses that burning acts either as a stabilizing force or causes change in diversity and structure, depending upon fire frequency and successional stage. Based on western TGP, we expected a unimodal species richness distribution across a cover- productivity gradient, variable functional group responses to fire frequency, and a negative relationship between fire frequency and species richness. Species diversity was unimodal across the cover gradient and was more strongly humpbacked in stands with greater fire frequency. In support of a stabilizing hypothesis, temporal similarity of late-successional vegetation had a logarithmic relationship with increasing fire frequency, while richness and evenness remained stable. Temporal similarity within mid-successional stands was not correlated with fire frequency, while richness increased and evenness decreased over time. Functional group responses to fire frequency were variable. Summer forb richness increased under high fire frequency, while C4 grasses, spring forbs, and nitrogen-fixing species decreased with fire exclusion. On mesic and wet-mesic sites, vegetation structure measured by the ratio of woody to graminoid species was negatively correlated with abundance of forbs and with fire frequency. Our findings that species richness responds unimodally to an environmentalproductivity gradient, and that fire exclusion increases woody vegetation and leads to loss of C4 and N-fixing species, suggest that these processes are uniform across the TGP biome and not affected by its rainfall-productivity gradient. However, increasing fire frequency in eastern TGP appears to increase richness of summer forbs and stabilize late-successional vegetation in the absence of grazing, and these processes may differ across the longitudinal axis of TGP. Managing species diversity in ungrazed eastern TGP may be dependent upon high fire frequency that removes woody vegetation and prevents biomass accumulation. © 2013 by the Ecological Society of America.


Watson G.,Morton Arboretum
Arboriculture and Urban Forestry | Year: 2010

Tree responses to slow-release nitrogen fertilization treatments were limited, but application of fertilizer to the inner half of the root zone improved caliper growth and relative chlorophyll content. Concentrating nitrogen fertilizer applications closer to the base of the tree may be able to take advantage of naturally higher root density, in addition to any further root stimulation resulting from the applied fertilizer treatment. The study site was moderately fertile, as are many urban landscapes where lawn and planting beds surrounding trees are fertilized. The pre-existing level of fertility may have contributed to the limited growth response to the nitrogen applications. © 2010 International Society of Arboriculture.


Escudero M.,Pablo De Olavide University | Hipp A.L.,Morton Arboretum | Luceno M.,Pablo De Olavide University
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution | Year: 2010

Previous work on holocentric chromosomes in the angiosperm genus Carex demonstrates that many of the traditional sections are marked by different ranges of chromosome number, suggesting phylogenetic autocorrelation. It has been hypothesized that shifting constraints on chromosome rearrangements may limit the potential for hybridization among lineages, promoting speciation. In this study, we evaluated alternative evolutionary models to test for such transitions in Carex section Spirostachyae as well as the relative effects of several plausible drivers of intraspecific chromosome diversity. Chromosome number variation in section Spirostachyae shows significant phylogenetic signal, but no evidence of clade-specific shifts in chromosome number distribution. This gradual model of chromosome evolution contrasts with the shifting equilibrium model previously identified in a younger section of the same genus, suggesting that section Spirostachyae may have a more slowly evolving karyotype. Chromosome number variance, on the other hand, exhibits low phylogenetic signal. Average time of coalescence rather than geographic range or chromosome number itself predicts chromosome number variance, demonstrating a previously unreported relationship between population history and cytogenetic variation. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: PHYLOGENETIC SYSTEMATICS | Award Amount: 164.20K | Year: 2012

Oaks (the flowering plant genus Quercus) include some of Americas most ecologically and economically important trees. The approximately 255 oaks of the New World oak lineage dominate North American and Mexican woody plant biomass, biodiversity, ecology, and nutrient cycling. Despite the significant ecosystem services provided by oaks, the biodiversity of this genus is poorly understood. In this project, collaborators from The Morton Arboretum (IL), the University of Notre Dame (IN), Duke University (NC), University of Minnesota, and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México will undertake a comprehensive systematic study of the oaks of the New World. The project will integrate next-generation genomic (DNA) sequencing, plant physiology, and direct study of plants in the field and museum collections to gain insights into the oak tree of life and the basic question of how oak traits, distributions, and diversity evolve in response to changes in habitat and climate.

Understanding of how oaks respond to shifts in climate and habitat is essential to conserving forest biodiversity and healthy forest ecosystems for future generations. The project will broadly disseminate findings and increase biodiversity awareness and understanding across diverse audiences in several ways: strengthening of an international oak collaboration among U.S., Mexican, and European researchers; training of undergraduate through postdoctoral biodiversity researchers; training K-12 teachers and their students in biodiversity science; and public outreach through museums, botanical gardens, and online venues.


One of the greatest threats to the health of North Americas Great Lakes is invasion by exotic species, several of which already have had catastrophic impacts on property values, the fisheries, shipping, and tourism industries, and continue to threaten the survival of native species and wetland ecosystems. Additional species have been placed on watchlists because of their potential to become aquatic invasives. This project will create a network of herbaria and zoology museums from among the Great Lakes states of MN, WI, IL, IN, MI, OH, and NY to better document the occurrence of these species in space and time by imaging and providing online access to the information on the specimens of the critical organisms. Several initiatives are already in place to alert citizens to the dangers of spreading aquatic invasives among our nations waterways, but this project will develop complementary scientific and educational tools for scientists, students, wildlife officers, teachers, and the public who have had little access to images or data derived directly from preserved specimens collected over the past three centuries.

This bi-national Thematic Collections Network of >25 institutions from eight states and Canada will digitize 1.73 million historical specimens representing 2,550 species of exotic fish, clams, snails, mussels, algae, plants, and their look-alikes documented to occur in the Great Lakes Basin. It is one of the first efforts to digitize liquid preserved specimens and to integrate cross-kingdom taxa and these methods could become national standards for cross taxon digitization. Students will be provided with hands-on experience in modern methods of specimen curation and this cross-taxon network will provide greater flexibility to existing web platforms for integration of data. This award is made as part of the National Resource for Digitization of Biological Collections through the Advancing Digitization of Biological Collections program and all data resulting from this award will be available through the national resource (iDigBio.org).


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: POP & COMMUNITY ECOL PROG | Award Amount: 591.60K | Year: 2014

A team of scientists from the Chicago Botanic Garden, The Morton Arboretum, and partner institutions will conduct research at the intersection of evolutionary biology and ecological restoration -- the repair of damaged and degraded habitats. Their research investigates the practical implications of a fundamental finding of evolutionary biology: plant species that are less closely related to each other tend to be more distinct in their traits and in the ecological roles they perform. This is important, as groups of plants that encompass greater trait diversity better support key goals of conservation and land management, such as carbon storage and support of wildlife. This project will test whether selecting an unusually diverse (evolutionarily unrelated) set of plant species to use in prairie restoration is a good rule-of-thumb for achieving better outcomes in restoration of degraded ecosystems. In addition, the project will contribute to scientific engagement of high school and college students and the training of early career scientists. Outreach to the public will be performed through the lead institutions? broad networks of members and visitors.

A key challenge for restoration science is to guide the development of diverse, resilient systems that provide the full suite of services associated with natural communities. Incorporating phylogenetic diversity into restoration is an underexplored, potentially powerful tool to help meet this challenge. This project will address questions important to both basic and applied ecology through observational and experimental approaches that test the influence of phylogenetic diversity on restoration outcomes in prairie ecosystems. Decision analysis will be used to determine how restoration managers can incorporate phylogenetic considerations into multi-objective restoration efforts. Results will be translated into practical tools for restoration, including web-based tools for guiding species-selection decisions.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: Biodiversity: Discov &Analysis | Award Amount: 364.45K | Year: 2013

A team of three lead scientists from The Morton Arboretum, Washington State University, and McGill University and 14 collaborating scientists from ten countries are undertaking a taxonomic revision of the flowering plant genus Carex, an ecologically and geographically widespread plant group with more than 2,000 species. The project will (1) develop new tools for online biodiversity data management; (2) solidify a broad international team through online collaboration, international field-collecting expeditions, and training of students and young researchers; (3) estimate the phylogenetic placement of ~1,360 species based on DNA sequences; (4) assemble a database of morphological, climatic, and biogeographic data; and (5) publish a revision of the higher level taxonomy of Carex.

The taxonomy of global plant and animal groups provides information essential to species and habitat conservation, ecological restoration, and our understanding of biodiversity. This project will produce a phylogenetic framework for one of the largest flowering plant genera, providing an essential tool for understanding global plant biodiversity. At the same time, this project (1) trains the next generation of sedge taxonomists; (2) increases taxonomic readiness in students and teachers; (3) publishes diverse datasets online through eMonocot and Encyclopedia of Life; and (4) contributes to global biodiversity conservation through an enhanced barcoding resource and new informatic tools.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MACROSYSTEM BIOLOGY | Award Amount: 59.94K | Year: 2015

Forests of the United States take up and store in plant biomass an enormous amount of carbon emitted from human activities, thereby slowing the accumulation of atmospheric carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. Canopy structure, an ecosystem feature that can be broadly characterized using remote sensing technologies, is a well-established determinant of forest carbon storage, with the quantity of canopy leaves a universal predictor of carbon storage that is incorporated into models used to forecast how the Nations dynamic and diverse forested landscape affects climate. Recent work from a limited number of sites shows that the arrangement of leaves within a volume of canopy may be as influential to forest carbon storage as leaf quantity. Results from these studies suggest that leaf quantity and arrangement provide unique, complementary information about the underlying biological controls on forest carbon storage. Thus, coordinated measurements of both leaf quantity and arrangement within the canopies of a diverse array of forests may lead to substantially improved modeled estimates of carbon storage by the Nations forests. In support of this goal, work here uses sites from the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) to evaluate whether canopy structural complexity, or the spatial variability in leaf arrangement within a canopy, is a global predictor of forest carbon storage within and across sites varying in physical structure, species composition and diversity, and climate. NEONs standardized methods, systematic sampling design, breadth of data, wide geographic footprint, and built-in gradient of forest physical structure provide an unprecedented opportunity to determine whether carbon storage-canopy structural complexity relationships are broadly generalizable. Enhanced knowledge of the role forest canopy structural complexity plays in carbon storage could transform fundamental understanding of how ecosystem structure affects carbon uptake, leading to more accurate climate models for informing science-based policy. Additionally, the results of this study have broad implications for how forests of the United States are managed in support of greenhouse gas mitigation and will provide new information on how management practices that modify canopy structure broadly affect land carbon sequestration. This project will train undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral researchers from a diverse group of academic institutions, and form the basis for a new Biology course at Virginia Commonwealth University taught by the projects postdoctoral associate. The researchers, including students and a postdoctoral associate, will play key roles in an NSF-supported research network that aims to develop broadly applicable remote sensing tools for quantifying forest features relevant to land managers, foresters, policy makers, and ecosystem and climate modelers.

Ecosystem structure-function relationships represent a long-standing research area of ecosystem science; yet, whether relationships between canopy structural complexity (CSC) and net primary production (NPP), characterized at present for only small number of sites, are conserved across eco-climatic boundaries is unknown. Although considerable work has focused on the global importance of leaf area index (LAI) as a predictor or NPP, similar analysis of CSC and NPP spanning eco-climatic domains has not been conducted. As a result, whether CSC is a global predictor of NPP that provides additional mechanistic insight beyond LAI is not known, though site-level analyses, including those conducted by the PIs, suggest CSC may be as important as LAI in explaining variation in NPP. The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), with standardized measurements and sampling design, offers an unprecedented platform to transform understanding of forest structure-function relationships on a broad spatial scale. The goals of the project are to use 10 NEON sites containing a total of 176 plots to test whether forest CSC predicts NPP within and across a diverse array of temperate forest types and eco-climatic domains, and to identify underlying mechanisms linking CSC with NPP. Several metrics of CSC will be derived for each NEON site and individual plots within a site using data collected with a portable canopy lidar (PCL). Structural metrics will be related to co-located measurements of wood NPP estimated from the incremental change in woody biomass calculated using tree allometries. An underlying mechanistic basis for global NPP-CSC linkages is hypothesized to include improved resource-use efficiency as CSC increases, which will be examined by correlating CSC with measures of light-use efficiency (wood NPP/fraction of absorbed photosynthetic radiation [fPAR]) and nitrogen-use efficiency (wood NPP/canopy nitrogen mass). Within- and among-site variation in wood NPP as a function of CSC, leaf area index (LAI), and canopy nitrogen mass will be examined using a multi-model inference framework. The PIs hypothesize that model rankings will show variation in wood NPP within and among sites is best explained by multivariate models that include CSC in addition to LAI and canopy nitrogen mass parameters because each canopy feature represents complementary but not redundant mechanistic information. Using NEON sites to advance understanding of how and why CSC affects forest NPP across a broad spatial dimension could transform mechanistic understanding of ecosystem structure-carbon cycling relationships, and greatly improve carbon cycling models and remote sensing applications, while providing a crucial linkage between the two. Broader impacts stem from three separate areas: enhanced participation in a funded NSF Research Coordination Network (RCN), postdoctoral training and career development, and undergraduate research training. The PIs will advise and co/author resulting project publications and presentations with a postdoctoral and student researchers, with the postdoc serving as instructor of record for a 1-credit graduate topics course on ecosystem structure-function relationships at Virginia Commowealth University.

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