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NPSNJ Fall Conference
Raritan Valley Community College Grand Conference Room
Branchburg, NJ
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NPSNJ Fall Conference

9:00 Registration and check-in

9:45 Opening remarks

10:00 Dr. Chris Martine: Topic: Use of social media to spread the word about plants and biodiversity to the public.

Dr. Chris Martine is a biodiversity scientist with a particular focus on plants, especially the ecology and evolution of plant reproduction. Much of his work has been in the plant family Solanaceae, including more than a decade looking into the unusual breeding systems of the genus Solanum in northern Australia through a combination of field studies and molecular phylogenetics. His broad interests in natural history have also kept him rooted in his home region, the northeastern US, where he has engaged in field-based studies with students and colleagues

11:15 Mid-Morning Break

11:30 Kaz Uyehara : Title: Plants And The Ecological Games They Play

People are interested in plants for many reasons, including their natural beauty, the joy of growing and tending to plants, and the thrill of seeing new species. Ecologists often have an additional and much darker interest in plants. The driving force underlying plant evolution and the diversity of plant traits is plant vs. plant competition. While I enjoy peaceful walks through plant communities, I also see plants as fierce competitors engaged in a constant battle for survival. In this talk, I will provide an ecologist's perspective on familiar topics such as disturbance and morphology, while hopefully drawing connections to some ecosystem level properties.

Kaz Uyehara graduated from Swarthmore College with a degree in Biology and Environmental Studies. Afterwards, he taught high school science, math, and computer science outside of Philadelphia. Now, Kaz is finishing his Ph. D in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University. His research is currently focused on competitive interactions between plants and how they relate to fire ecology and plant structure. Kaz hopes to continue doing research related to plants that can be connected to issues such as climate change and biodiversity.

12:45 Lunch Break

1:45 Dr. John Dighton: Title: The Multiple Roles of Fungi in Soil That Underpin Plant Production

This talk will outline the many roles that fungi play in soil development, stability and provision of nutrients for plant growth. Fungi are involved in the breakdown of rock that provides the mineral component of soil and, through their decomposition of dead plant and animal remains, regulate nutrient supply to support plant growth. The acquisition of nutrients is enhanced by the symbiotic relationship between plant roots and fungi, known as mycorrhizae. In natural ecosystems these mycorrhizae may be important in regulating plant community composition. Through their role as mycorrhizae and saprotrophs in soil, fungi can play an important role in regulating global carbon cycles and modify toxicity of pollutants in soil. As we all know, fungi rule the world!

Dr. Dighton: B.S. Biology-London University, M.S. Ecology- University of Durham, Ph. D. London University.

He worked for 15 years on research of forest soils, forest mycorrhizae, interactions of mycorrhizae with radionuclides, and forest nutrition in fast growing trees at Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, U.K

From 1994 to present, he is a professor at Rutgers University, Dept. of Ecology and director of the Pinelands Field Station teaching soil ecology and mycology and doing research on forest soil ecology and mycology. He has over 100 peer reviewed publications and recent books on soil and fungal ecology

3:00 Mid afternoon Break

3:15 Dr. Sharon Wander: Topic: Butterflies at Risk

Of the 125 or so butterfly species that call New Jersey home, more than a fifth are currently (or proposed to be) listed as Endangered, Threatened, or Special Concern. Their lives are closely connected with the native plants that provide food for their caterpillars. Sharon will discuss many of these species and explore what we know about the ecological relationships that affect their populations.

A self-employed environmental consultant, Sharon is president of the New Jersey Butterfly Club, a chapter of the North American Butterfly Association. She and her husband, Wade, have long been active New Jersey naturalists, interested in birds, herptiles, plants, and butterflies (as well as moths and other insects). They are especially proud of their Fredon Township butterfly garden, which has attracted 84 species of butterflies. Sharon is editor of the annual Butterfly Count Report for the North American Butterfly Association, and has served on the most recent New Jersey state committee assembled to evaluate the status of New Jersey butterflies.

REGISTRATION: Ticket is $60 for non members and $40 for members. The fee includes lunch. Lunch this year will be a hot buffet style lunch with vegetarian and gluten free options. You will notice a slight price increase this year to offset the increased cost of the lunch. We feel that having a hot lunch is preferable to the box lunch we have had in the past.

Members have already been sent the password for a significant discount in the registration fees, so if you have not received the discount password, it means that according to our records, you need to pay your 2016 dues. If you believe you have paid your 2017 dues, please contact Membership with your check number or Pay-pal receipt number.  

To renew your membership or become a member for the first time go the Native Plant Society of NJ website  

We will also have the last public native plant sale in NJ this year and a native plant seed swap. Don't have any seeds to trade? Don't worry, you can still take some home.


Raritan Valley Community College Grand Conference Room (View)
118 Lamington Road
Branchburg, NJ 08876
United States



Kid Friendly: Yes!
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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