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Wild rice, the topic of discussion

March 30, 2011


The University of Maine at Fort Kent will host environmental speaker, Dr. Anthony Kern, associate professor of Biology at Northland College in Ashland Wisconsin, on Wednesday, April 6 at 10 a.m. in Nadeau Hall teleconference room.

Dr. Kern will speak on the conservation biology and ecology of wild rice (Zizania palustric L). The presentation is part of the Environmental Studies Speaker Series on campus. The event is free and open to the public.
Dr. Kern’s primary research projects focus on the field of conservation genetics, which utilizes the tools of molecular biology to understand the ecological processes and patterns of reproduction of imperiled species. His interests lie in sustainable agriculture, plant breeding, and conservation biology. Much of Kern’s work investigates the genetic relatedness and patterns of inbreeding of wild populations of American wild rice, which has significant cultural, economic, and ecological significance in the north-central United States, and is in severe decline in many of its historic habitats.  
Kern’s work seeks to develop genetically-sound restoration protocols, and identify appropriate seed sources for different habitats across the plant’s range. He is the geneticist among a consortium of researchers in Minnesota and Wisconsin, who are using traditional selection and propagation of wild hazelnut (Corylus americana) plants for important agronomic traits and eventual cultivation.       
Kern also is president of the Northland College Faculty Council. He holds a Master of Science in Agronomy and a Ph.D. in Plant Genetics.
The Environmental Studies Speaker Series at UMFK regularly brings speakers to campus. These presentations are open to the public and cover such topics as water quality, waste management, wind power, endangered species, forestry and marine science. The program is offered in collaboration with the UMFK Environmental Studies degree program. Speakers are only scheduled during the academic year.          
For more information on the Environmental Studies Speaker Series, contact Dr. Steve Selva at (207) 834-7617.