This project was prepared as part of a BioQUEST faculty development workshop entitled BioQUEST 2004 Summer Workshop for Undergraduate Faculty: Systems Biology at Beloit College in June 2004. The BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium is committed to the reform of undergraduate biology instruction through an emphasis on engaging students in realistic scientific practices. This approach is sometimes characterized as an inquiry driven approach and is captured in BioQUEST's three P's (problem-posing, problem-solving, and peer-persuasion). As part of this workshop groups of faculty were encouraged to initiate innovative curricular projects. We are sharing these works in progress in the hope that they will stimulate further exploration, collaboration and development. Please see the following links for additional information:

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New Zealand Cyatheaceae Phylogenies?
Authors          Audiences          Overview           Materials          Resources           Future Directions



Barry Hennig
Massey University, Palmerston North Campus

Brian White
University of Massachusetts


Possible Audiences:

This project would be suitable for:

Senior High School Students
Undergradute Students

High School Teachers as a resource  


Brief Overview:

The New Zealand Cyatheaceae (Tree Fern) is a relatively unstudied group of plants, and Classification of Cyatheaceae Species in New Zealand is a contentious issue.

Currently, classification is based on a number of varying morphological characters, but this classification system seems to be based almost completely on the preference of the Author.

New techniques in Biotechnology have allowed scientists to gather an extensive data set of Nucleic acid and Protein sequences, which may be better indicators of evolutionary lineages and Classification.

Unfortunately, to date, there has been VERY liitle sequence data collected for Cyatheaceae Species... especially New Zealand....


Molecules..................... or Morphology????????



Project Materials:

In order to construct Molecular Phylogenies,
using Nucleic Acid Sequences from numerous loci,

Cyatheaceae (Tree Ferns) Phylogenies

In this workspace, you have been provided a number of Nucleic Acid sequences from Cyatheaceae species, in addition to sequences of related species. These sequences are from various loci, and can possibly be used to create a new Classification system for New Zealand Cyatheaceae. Does the molecular data support a current classification system?  


Resources and References:

CLICK HERE for Cyatheaceae Power Point Presentation  



- Cyatheaceae_Classification.ppt
- Cyathea_smithii.jpg
- dna.jpg