May 24, 2018

Tarleton graduate student receives Native Plant Society research grant

Tarleton State University graduate student Seth Hamby in the field.

STEPHENVILLE (May 7, 2018) — Tarleton State University student Seth Hamby is recipient of the 2018 Ann Miller Gonzalez Graduate Research Grant from the Native Plant Society of Texas.

Hamby, a graduate research assistant for the Department of Wildlife, Sustainability & Ecosystem Sciences, will use the grant to determine patterns of regional genetic variation in the rare North Central Texas endemic species Dalea reverchonii, or Comanche Peak prairie clover.

“There are certainly multiple factors affecting survivorship of this plant species,” Hamby said. “By comparing genetics to a widespread species, our findings could inform future conservation measures and eliminate unnecessary or unfruitful actions. This type of study is becoming increasingly more important as we work toward preserving Earth’s biotic diversity.”

Comanche Peak prairie clover is a species of flowering plant in the legume family and is endemic to Texas, where it is known to grow in Bosque, Erath, Hood, Johnson, Parker, Somervell, Tarrant and Wise counties. The species was first collected atop Comanche Peak by Julien Reverchon and, as of 2015, the species still grows there.

The perennial herb blooms in May and June with spikes of pink or purplish flowers, and forms a mat-like rosette with smooth leaves each divided into several leaflets. Comanche Peak prairie clover grows on grassland terrain and in openings of oak woodland dominated by post oak.

The Native Plant Society of Texas’ Education Committee members agreed that Hamby’s research is important to fulfilling the society’s mission of “promoting research, conservation and utilization of native plants and plant habitats of Texas through education, outreach and example.”

Hamby’s grant award totals $2,000, and will support his graduate research ahead of his planned thesis defense this fall and pending graduation in December. He also will present his research findings at the society’s annual fall symposium in San Antonio.

Hamby is a native of Greenwood, S.C. and earned a bachelor’s degree in wildlife, sustainability and ecosystem science from Tarleton. He is currently pursuing a master’s in agriculture and natural resource science.

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