Mimulus taxonomy

An excellent resource provided by Guy Nesom et al. (source: http://www.mimulustaxonomy.net/)


1. Overview of Phrymaceae genera
An explanation of why the family is named Phrymaceae and why monkeyflowers have been divided into segregate genera, with Mimulus in the strict sense reduced to only a few species.

2. Erythranthe sect. Simiola –– classification and relationships
An informal infrasectional classification is outlined and also displayed as a diagram showing hypothetical relationships.

3. Distribution maps
County-level range maps are available for many Erythranthe species. All species of Erythranthe are listed, with a link to a map where available. Diplacus species will be added when possible.

4. Using names in the genus Mimulus
For those who want to be precise in identification but continue referring to all monkeyflowers as “Mimulus” –– even those newly described in a segregate genus or otherwise without a formal name as Mimulus –– a simple, informal procedure is suggested.

5. Recent taxonomic literature
An account of taxonomic studies in Phrymaceae published mostly since about 2000 (but also including some significant earlier ones). Most earlier studies are included in cited references in the recent papers. Many of the listed publications are linked to pdf’s.

6. Conspicuous problems and interesting directions (including herbarium surveys)



* This site is temporarily autonomous –– to be joined to the new “Mimulus Community” website whenever the latter is posted. 1 July 2014.


Guy Nesom, guynesom@sbcglobal.net

Naomi Fraga, nfraga@rsabg.org

Steve Schoenig, Steve.Schoenig@wildlife.ca.gov



Evolution 2014

Together we made Mimulus the dominant plant (and 2nd most studeid group) at Evolution 2014!!!!!

Work with Arielle Cooley

[On behalf of Arielle Cooley]


Hello Mimulus community,

I am sorry to have missed the extravaganza! But I have something to contribute, namely one full-time, one-year (maybe two depending on NSF) lab tech position in my lab at Whitman College. If you know a recently-graduated undergraduate with good molecular skills, please send them my way. It will be a fun research project with lots of independence and should hopefully lead to a publication. Here is the ad. Thanks!!


Seeking a full-time laboratory technician to carry out research on the molecular basis of repeated evolution:
The successful candidate will work with me for one year to design and implement functional tests of candidate genes for the regulation of floral pigmentation in the Chilean monkeyflower (Mimulus). Renewal contingent upon funding and job performance.
Requirements include:
•      a Bachelor’s degree in Biology or a related discipline
•      research experience in a molecular lab, preferably including qPCR, cloning, and plasmid design and construction
•      attention to detail and ability to work independently
I run an undergraduate research lab at Whitman College, a selective liberal arts college located in the small but vibrant community of Walla Walla, in eastern Washington. Walla Walla receives numerous awards for quality of life thanks to its music, art, and wine scenes: http://www.wallawalla.org/. This is a full-time position with benefits, starting at $30,000 annual salary. Starting date is flexible but should be this summer or this fall.
To apply, please visit https://whitmanhr.simplehire.com/postings/1109 and upload:
•a cover letter describing your background and reason for being interested in the position
•your CV / resume
•names and contact information for three references
Questions may be directed to:
Dr. Arielle Cooley

Faculty Job Opening – North Dakota State University

Hi All,

Steve Travers from North Dakota State asked me to distribute the following job announcement to you, please pass this on to other Mimulus folks that you think may be interested.

Faculty Positions: Biological Sciences: 
North Dakota State University invites inquiries, nominations, and applications for a 9-month tenure-track position to begin service on 16 August 2015.

Position Description: 
The Department of Biological Sciences invites applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor position to begin fall 2015.  We seek applicants whose primary research interests are in the area of plant or plant-microbial biology using approaches of ecological genomics, evolutionary genomics or bioinformatics.    We welcome applicants studying at all levels of inquiry, including genetic, molecular or cellular mechanisms to community, landscape and ecosystem-level functions. Candidates must have a Ph.D. from an accredited institution in a discipline appropriate to the biological sciences and relevant post-doctoral experience.  Successful candidates will be expected to develop an extramurally funded research program, supervise graduate students, and teach one course per semester at the undergraduate or graduate levels.  The position is 45% research 45% teaching and 10% service.  The successful candidates will join a group of departmental faculty whose areas of research focus on timing across multiple levels of organization in plants, invertebrates and vertebrates.  The positions will be highly competitive with regard to start-up funds, space, and salary.


We expect the formal announcement to be distributed in August. Please contact Steve Travers (steven.travers@ndsu.edu) if you have questions.

Eating on thursday

Hi Everyone!

In order to assure that we have enough catered lunch on Thursday for everyone that wants one, please fill out the linked google document ( Lunch on Thursday, June 19th ). We will be ordering sandwiches and salads from Parker and Otis and we need to know how many people are interested and what kinds of sandwiches to order.
If you do not fill out your preferences there may not be enough for everyone. (There are other food options on and off campus, if you prefer something different.
Please indicate in the sheet that you will be finding food elsewhere so we know how much food to order.)
Thank you for helping us out!!

Meeting Update 6.16.14

Hello Mimulizers!!

Our meeting is rapidly approaching, and we are getting excited!
Continue to check the website for info.
Here are a few notes to get us prepared for a great meeting:

Speakers: If you are speaking, your name should be listed on the talks page. We expect 15min talks; however shorter talks are encouraged. If you can convey your major points/what the rest of us should know in just 5 or 10 minutes, that would be even better (please let us know if you plan a shorter talk).

Cost: We would appreciate a ~ $30 donation to help cover the costs of food and drink etc. Cash is probably easiest.

Map: We have included a Duke campus map on the website with major locations labeled.

see you soon!!!

Mimulus in the classroom: Response and Educational Resources

We asked you for how you used Mimulus in the Classroom. Thank you all for your response!!!

We’re convinced that the many reasons that Mimulus has been awesome to teach us about biology and makes us love doing it will translate into excellent opportunities to help students learn. Here is a collection of current resources, course materials, etc.

paul beardsley / ben blackman / arielle cooley / lila fishman / jannice friedman / vanessa koelling / steve schoenig / seema sheth / andrea sweigart / john willis / carrie wu.

Paul Beardsley. California State, Pomona.
Conceptual focus: genetics, evolution
Species/lines: M. parishii, M. cardinalis, F1 hybrids, F2 hybrids, RILs
Course: undergraduate Introductory Biology series; plans for use in undergraduate Bioinformatics course; K-12
In the works: Paul and colleagues are funded to work with both K-6 teachers (NSF MSP) and grades 7-8 teachers (NSF-Noyce). They are currently writing lesson plans that will use Mimulus in lessons for grades K, 1, 3, 6, and 7 to teach major concepts in genetics and evolution aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards. The lessons for grade K-6 will be disseminated nationally after two years of field-testing in a high-needs, Title 1 school district.
Ideas: wants fast-growing lines that segregate for single-locus Mendelian traits (to rival fast plants!)
Resource development: collaborating with Andrea Sweigart to generate M. parishii-M. cardinalis RILs.

Ben Blackman. University of Virginia.
Conceptual focus: ecology & development
Description of exercise: The exercise focused on phylogenetics and trait evolution. Students broke into groups to score the plants one day, and then they used those data to build their own tree and compare it to the molecular tree for a take home assignment.
Course: undergraduate lecture/discussion course.
Species/lines: M. ringens, M. acutidens, M. rupcola, M. bolanderi, M. dentatus, M. nasutus, M. bicolor, M. glaucescens, M. kelloggii, M. layneae, M. jundermanioides, M. guttatus, M. moschatus
Resource interest: Inbred lines, RILs (especially if pre-genotyped), RNA-Seq data, genomic data
Materials: Phylogeny session — Assignment, Activity, Data.

Arielle Cooley. Whitman College.
Conceptual focus: evolution & development
Course:Junior/senior undergraduate course.
Description of exercise:

The plan — Students make crosses within species, between closely related species, and between distantly related species. They do not initially know which plants were most closely related (each plant was labeled only with a number); the goal is to infer phylogenetic relationships using seed set from the crosses as an indicator of reproductive isolation.
The reality — Plants failed to flower in time. So students instead measured morphological traits, and also looked at DNA sequences from a single gene (CHS, Chalcone Synthase) from each plant in BioEdit, and built morphological vs molecular trees based on this information. Next year we’ll try to do it right.

Species/lines: Yellow-flowered M. cupreus (Cy43) was the ‘mother’ plant. Pollen donors were: orange-flowered M. cupreus (Co42), M. luteus var. luteus (MllEY7), and M. guttatus (IM62).
Ideas: A gene expression lab would be awesome. It would require a set of extremely reliable primers for a housekeeping gene and for a gene that is differentially expressed — maybe between M. guttatus & M. nasutus or between two tissue types of M. guttatus.
MaterialsSpecies concept lab student handout

Lila Fishman. University of Montana.
Conceptual focus: evolutionary mechanisms
Courses: upper-level undergraduate
Species/lines: M. parishii, M. lewisii, M. cardinalis (and relatives), M. guttatus, M. nasutus, M. nasutus x M. guttatus NILs
Description of exercise: For an upper-level research practicum, we conduced two different exercises (1/3 semester each) using Mimulus. The first was a modified version of the one developed by John W., Julie Noor, and Andrea S., focusing on adaptation and speciation using M. lewisii, M. parishii, M. cardinalis, and our M. parishii x M. cardinalis F2s hybrids (see Andrea Sweigart’s section for more info). The second exercise focused on ecological genetics experiment using populations of M. guttatus from thermal and nonthermal soils in Yellowstone National Park. Students examined patterns of phenotypic variation (within and among population variance, phenotypic correlations, etc.) and then conducted a heat shock experiment. We have also used Mimulus for preK – 6 programs on pollination ecology and floral morphology.
In the works: We will be working with a teacher this winter to develop the parishii x cardinalis exercise (or another) for use in a local high school classroom.
Resource development: We generated the initial F2 hybrids of M. parishii and M. cardinalis, and have extensive MgSTS marker information for these and other segregating populations. We have seeds (though not in vast quantities) of genotyped NILs (both directions) of M. nasutus and M. guttatus. NSF CAREER funds are available to support sharing of education resources (Mimulus for the Masses).

Jannice Friedman. Syracuse University.
Conceptual focus: evolutionary mechanisms
Course: upper-level undergraduate
Resource development: My laboratory has a population of M. guttatus that segregates for complete anthocyanin loss. It is a single recessive locus with two alleles. It would be great for teaching classic Mendelian genetics, as it is super simple to score (clearly visible in both vegetative and floral tissue), so perfect for looking at segregation ratios, etc.  I had an undergraduate student working on this project, supervised by Alex Twyford (post-doc). Once the project is wrapped up and hopefully published this fall, we would be happy to share seed.

Vanessa Koelling. University of Puget Sound.
Conceptual focus: evolution, genetics, bioinformatics.
Courses: undergraduate labs/lectures
Resource interest: I have not yet used Mimulus in the classroom, but I am very interested in doing so. I personally work with Mimulus guttatus, so I would be most interested in developing and contributing to the Mimulus community labs that work with that species. It would be great to have mutants for Mendelian genetics, but I’m also interested in getting students experience with quantitative genetics and mapping techniques. So of course inbred lines, markers, and genomic resources would all enhance our teaching possibilities.

Steve Schoenig. California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Course: classes through the UC Berkeley (Jepson) herbarium
Description of exercise: Classes teach a broad spectrum of students how to identify Mimulus in the field (existing keys are very difficult and frustrating) and introduce students to the explosion of adaptation and variability as a result of California’s diverse geography. In other words, studying Mimulus to learn more about Mimulus!  Since the names and species concepts are constantly changing I try and become an ambassador for modern taxonomy and convince them that we are slowly converging on real truths and debunk the feeling that “all the names are just going to keep changing every 25 years forever”.
In the works: The guttatus/Simiolus clade has been especially fascinating and perplexing to these field botanists taking my classes and I have tried to transfer research findings to them as they come out of all your labs. The tsunami of recent taxonomic hypotheses generated by Guy Nesom has added a lot of open questions that I will begin to investigate by looking at plants in the field. I would like to collaborate with researchers trying to square these primarily morphological hypotheses with molecular data and greenhouse studies.
Resource development: For the Mimulus website, I could help you pull together images from myself and others. I think it would be useful to start cataloging images of the macro and micro sites and substrates where the species occur. If it is indeed true that there are ~10 species of Simiolus in Madera Co., how these species partition and co-exist in the similar moist habitats becomes both an ecological and evolutionary puzzle. Having a place to see maps of observed and collected populations could add to biogeographic understanding (or at least help plan collecting trips).

Seema Sheth. Colorado State University
Conceptual focus: plant ecology lab
Description of exercise: Rather than designing a particular curriculum involving Mimulus, students did small group research projects where they came up with the questions, hypotheses, methods, etc. on their own. Students’ projects were quite simple, but I could see a lot of potential for developing more sophisticated projects. Project ideas examined herbivory, competition, and sexual vs. asexual reproduction.
Species/lines: M. guttatus, M. cardinalis, M. parishii.
Resource interest: Protocols (and associated seed, be it inbred lines, RILs, etc.) for evolution/ecological experiments that could easily be implemented in the timeframe of a semester-long lab would be very useful. I think there is good potential for simple experiments with strains from different environments (e.g., serpentine vs. non-serpentine), with different life histories (annual vs. perennial; selfing vs. outcrossing) may also be useful.

Andrea Sweigart. University of Georgia.
Conceptual focus: quantitative genetics, speciation, pollination biology.
Species/lines: M. lewisii, M. parishii, M. cardinalis, F1 hybrids, F2 hybrids
Course: upper-division undergraduate evolution laboratory course.
Description of exercise: In this three-part lab series, students explore the genetics of adaptation and speciation in M. lewisii, M. parishii, and M. cardinalis. On the first day, students are encouraged to explore divergent phenotypes (flower size, flower color, nectar volume, pollen viability) and think about their importance for reproductive isolation (this first lab was modified from an exercise developed by John Willis and Julie Noor – thank you them!). They are then exposed to F1 hybrids (and later, F2 hybrids) and challenged to think about the genetic basis of these traits (dominance relations, genetic architecture, etc.). In subsequent labs, students analyze phenotypic variation among parents, F1s, and F2s using the large class dataset generated the following week. They also analyze genotype data for a few molecular markers (among them are a couple known to be linked to certain phenotypes).
Resource development: collaborating with Paul Beardsley to generate M. parishii-M. cardinalis RILs (original F2s were from Lila Fishman’s lab). We plan to apply for funds for genotyping.
Materials:  here [pdf includes an Adaptation lab, and three Quantitative Genetics labs].

John Willis and Julie Noor. Duke University
Conceptual focus: Mendelian/quantitative genetics, speciation, pollination biology.
Species/lines: M. lewisii, M. cardinalis, F1 hybrids, F2 hybrids.
Course: undergraduate Introductory Biology series, lecture with lab.
Description of exercise: Students explore the genetics of adaptation and speciation in M. lewisii and M. cardinalis. Students are encouraged to explore divergent phenotypes (flower size, flower color, nectar volume, pollen viability) and think about their importance for adaptation to pollinators and reproductive isolation. Students also collect phenotypic data for a large F2 population.
In the works/resource development: For our NSF-funded grant on adaptation to serpentine soils, we’re going to be sequencing pooled population samples from about 24 serpentine and 24 non-serpentine populations from all over the west. These data will be made available for population genomics/bioinformatics exercises (in collaboration with Graham Coop at UC Davis).
Materials: Speciation/adaptation lab resources: handout, logistics, powerpoint, TA notes.

Carrie Wu. University of Richmond.
Conceptual focus: Plant physiology, invasive species
Species/lines: M. guttatus from Scotland and various western North American populations
Course: Introductory-level undergraduate lab with 20 students
Description of exercise: Students compared native and invasive populations to see whether they differed in stomatal density.  This was part of a larger project looking at how environmental factors affect physiology in invasive species.
Resource development: The white/pink flower color polymorphism in M. lewisii segregates as a nice Mendelian trait (Wu et al. 2013, PLoS ONE 8:e81173).

Mimulus in the classroom

As many of you are well aware, Mimulus is terrific not only for research, but also for education. Many of us have already been using Mimulus in our classrooms — now is our chance to organize and expand these efforts! At the meeting, we plan to present an overview of folks’ current Mimulus educational tools and discuss future coordination and resource sharing. We are also bringing in an education expert (and collaborator of mine), Erin Dolan, to help us further develop and disseminate our Mimulus research exercises. To focus our discussion at the Mimulus meeting, we’re hoping to gather some information from you all now.

Please respond to the questions below in an email to Lila and me: lila.fishman@mso.umt.edu, sweigart@uga.edu.

  • Have you used Mimulus in the classroom?
  • If so, what was the course format (e.g., laboratory, lecture, seminar)? Was this an undergraduate course? What level? Describe your activity.
  • What species/lines did you use?
  • What resources would you like to see developed for educational purposes (e.g., inbred lines, RILs, markers, genome sequencing, etc.)?
  • Please attach any materials you can to this email and let us know if you are willing to share them with the Mimulus community.

We need your answers by June 11. Thanks and looking forward to seeing you all!!!

Andrea and Lila