Megan King, who is pursuing a master’s degree in the School of Graduate Studies in the Ecology and Evolution Graduate Program, has received the 2022 Vicki A. Funk Graduate Research Grant from the American Society of Plant Taxonomists and the Torrey Botanical Club’s research grant.
The Vicki A. Funk Graduate Research Grant is part of an international competition and named after Vicki Funk, an extraordinary botanist at the Smithsonian who specialized in Asteraceae worldwide and tragically passed away in 2019. This grant will help fund Megan’s field research on the intersection of urban ecology and plant evolution in eastern North America.
Megan has also won the 2022 Torrey Botanical Society Graduate Student Research Fellowship 2nd place award of $1,500, for her proposal titled: “Plant trait changes in response to latitudinal and urbanization gradients in urban species of the Mid-Atlantic.”
“Competition for these fellowships is traditionally stiff, so you can be proud of your selection for a Torrey Research Fellowship,” said Grants and Awards Committee Chair James Lendemer, New York Botanical Garden.
“I am filled with immense joy to have received both the Vicki A. Funk Graduate Research Grant from American Society of Plant Taxonomy and the Torrey Botanical Society Graduate Student Research Fellowship,” said King. “These awards will help me to conduct field-truthing in additional cities along the Eastern United States that I would not have been able to do. I deeply appreciate my advisors Myla Aronson, assistant teaching professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources and director of the Hutcheson Memorial Forest, and Lena Struwe, professor in the Department of Plant Biology and director of the Chrysler Herbarium, for helping me pave my path of success, and the endless support and guidance from them and my peers. The Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources Department is filled with many amazing and intelligent individuals and will always be my home away from home.”
Megan King’s research is focused on determining weedy urban plant trait change across the Eastern United States along both a latitudinal gradient and across urban density gradients. To accomplish this, she will be collecting metrics of plant traits such as leaf size, leaf thickness, dry seed mass, total reproductive plant height, internode and petiole lengths. Contemporary specimens will also be collected for the latter portion of her research which will be compared to historic herbarium specimens to determine trait change over time.
Aside from pursuing a masters, Megan is also a staff member at SEBS, working as collections manager for the Chrysler Herbarium and as assistant curator for Outreach and Education for the natural history collections in the Departments of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources and Entomology.