Geometric morphometrics in plants hits the mark (and the landmarks)

Geometric morphometrics in plants hits the mark (and the landmarks)

Geometric morphometrics in plants hits the mark (and the landmarks)The course on geometric morphometrics (GMM) in plants in April this year, taught by Professor Chris Klingenberg of Manchester University and co-written with Ruth Flatscher at Els Hostalets de Pierola, Barcelona (Spain), was the first successful course on this subject for Transmitting Science: Geometric Morphometrics with Plants.

The almost impossible is attempted –to be a course that is both an introduction to the subject and is challenging enough to interest academics using GMM as a tool in their research– but this is achieved. The measure of its success is that the writer of this news item was a course member and an absolute beginner before starting the course. He is now smitten with an interest in GMM.

Shape analysis has only recently become easily accessible to a wide variety of people through the development of user-friendly software, an example of which is the widely-used software written by Professor Klingenberg himself. But shape analysis in plants has a long way to go before it gets to the level of use in other disciplines. What excites the most is the realisation that there’s so much out there to be discovered using GMM with plants.

This became clear when Professor Klingenberg used examples from recent research papers and interwove them with the theory behind GMM, demonstrating the scope of applications of GMM in taxonomy, phylogeny, ontogeny, genetics and more. Data from some of the research examples involving plants were worked through software routines in hands-on demonstrations. There was also time for everyone to complete a small project with data collected in the field or laboratory.

The scope of the course was breathtaking and participants found it highly instructive and seriously inspiring.

Go to the course Geometric Morphometrics with Plants.