For almost two years, senior Marisa Szubryt has been busy making a family tree.
But not her own family tree — she has been making one for different species of the same type of plant.
“We can see the actual consequences of speciation,” said Szubryt, an undergraduate research assistant from Mokena studying plant biology.
Szubryt and plant biology professor Kurt Neubig are working to outline the evolutionary history of a type of plant known as Euthamia.
“Our goals are to document biodiversity, because we’re losing biodiversity quickly,” Neubig said. “If we don’t document what exists in biodiversity, then we will never have known what had existed.”
Euthamia is a group of closely-related plant species, almost like cousins to an immediate family group that represents individual species.
The plant blooms yellow flowers related to sunflowers that can be found natively throughout most of North America, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Szubryt said she questions…