The 34th Midcontinent Paleobotanical Colloquium was held at t
he University of Michigan, Ann Arbor May 12-14, 2017. We had over 40 attendees, with more than half being students. 18 of the 26 contributed poster and oral presentations were from students and postdocs! We had a full day of programming with great talks and engaging posters, stimulating keynote lectures from Chris Poulsen, Chris Dick, and Tony Reznicek, and much laughter. We couldn't have asked for a better day for the Sunday fieldtrip and Michael Penskar, Tony Reznicek, and Robyn led our botanizing as we wandered through the woods.

We're already excited for next year's MPC, which will be hosted by Elizabeth Hermsen at Ohio University! Thanks Liz!


Paleobotanical science uses the fossil record of plants to address key biological and geological questions, including topics such as the origin and evolution of terrestrial ecosystems, physiology of ancient plants, using plants to reconstruct past environments, and inferring macroevolutionary history, historical biogeography, morphological change, and relationships among different plant groups. While DNA data may address many of these questions, the fossil record provides the only empirical data on when and where plants have been, what they looked like, and what their ecologies were. In the midst of anthropogenic climate change, plant history has become even more important as we seek to understand how plants respond to global environmental change on long time scales.

Since 1983, MPC has annually welcomed paleobotanists from the USA, and is hosted by a different institutions each year. We are excited to host it in 2017 at the University of Michigan in plant-bountiful Ann Arbor! The meeting is generally relaxed in atmosphere and emphasizes student attendance and participation. MPC usually includes social events, a banquet, paper and poster presentations, field trips, and many opportunities for socializing and collaborating; this year will be no different!

Dates: May 12–14, 2017
Talks and posters on Saturday, May 13th.
Field trip to explore classic spring Eastern deciduous forests will be Sunday, May 14th.

UM has world-renowned paleobotany collections and herbarium. Please contact Robyn (rburnham@umich.edu) or Selena (sysmith@umich.edu) for arranging visits to the collections.

For a history of where MPC has been, please visit here.

Organizing committee:

Selena Smith (Asst. Prof.)
Robyn Burnham (Prof.)
John Benedict (Lecturer)
Kelly Matsunaga (PhD cand.)
Molly Ng (PhD pre-cand.)

Questions? Please contact us!