Sunday, January 13, 2013

I will be speaking at the next Think Tank Thursdays at Weatherspoon Art Museum on the UNCG campus, on the topic of Visual Learning.

"Have a complex concept or task to learn? Visualizing it may be the key to your success. Join UNCG Professor of Biology, Dr. Bruce Kirchoff and artist/educagtor at Weaver Academy for the Performing and Visual Arts, Lisa Woods for a discussion on visual learming. From plant cycles to Cubism, visual techniques can be employed to help students process large amounts of data and visualize holistically."

I will be talking about the work I have been doing with my company Metis LLC. There will be plenty of time for discussion.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Photographic Standards Workshop in Utah

On June 11-12 I will offer a workshop on standardized photography for plant identification at Utah State University in Logan, UT.

This link take you to a description of the workshop.

Reviews of my Berkeley Workshop

Here are what participants had to say about my photography workshop in Berkeley (see previous post).

This image [he sent a photo] is a pittance compared to the debt I owe you for the interesting course you taught. You opened my mind to what seems a superior method of plant identification. I intend to pursue the subject in so far as my age and health permit.
- John Rusk

Thanks again for the enormous amount of time and energy you expended on this workshop. Frankly, I felt like a beginning tennis player learning from Roger Federer. It was a terrific learning experience for me.
- Nancy McClenny

Quotes used with permission of the authors.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Plant photography at Berkeley

I will be teaching a two-day Jepson Workshop at UC Berkeley on the weekend of May 21 - 22.

From All Angles: Standardized Photography for Plant Identification

Friday, February 18, 2011

Talk Feb 26 at UNCG

I will be speaking at the North Carolina Conference on Cognition on February 26, 2011 in 122 Bryan Hall on the UNCG Campus. The title of my talk is Applied cognitive psychology: Visual learning in the botany classroom. You can find the abstract here.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Blog featured in the Charlotte Observer

My Save the Earth blog was featured in the Charlotte Observer this morning. This link will take you to the article.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Kirchoff elected Chair of the Developmental & Structural Section of BSA

At the Botany 2010 meetings in Providence, RI I was elected Chair of the Developmental and Structural Section of the Botanical Society in America. In this capacity, I will both Chair the section and serve on the governing Council of the Society.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Max Dulin's Thesis Published

Max Dulin's Thesis (revised) has been published in Botanical Review.
Paedomorphosis, Secondary Woodiness, and Insular Woodiness in Plants is a major review of the literature on the secondary origin of the woody habit in plants. The paper both reviews the literature, and contributes new data the the solve the problem of so called paedomorphic characteristics of wood. Its publication in a major botanical journal is a feather in Max's cap!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Talk on math education

On August 18 I presented an on-line seminar on visual mathematics education. The presentation was part of the Math 2.0 Interest group.

You can watch a recording of my presentation by navigating to this link and clicking on the link labeled Full recording: voice, text chat, slides. The Elluminate Live software will install on your computer. You need this software to view the presentation.

One of the participants had this to say about my presentation: "I thought Dr. Kirchoff’s presentation was excellent. He was by far the most prepared and well versed speaker I have seen at a live event this summer. His ideas were made very clearly and I truly wished he had cut the question/ discussion sections shorter and gotten to more of the prepared content." His full comments can be found at this link.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Calcium function in glandular trichomes

My paper with Drs. Huang and Liao on calcium distribution and function in glandular trichomes has just been published. This is an important paper because we establish the secretion is calcium dependent, and provide new evidence that the lipophilic product takes place by exocytosis (see Fig. 4c, below).

Huang, S-S., J-P Liao, and B. K. Kirchoff. 2010. Calcium distribution and function in the glandular trichomes of Lavandula pinnata L. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 137:1-15

Figure 4 TEM micrographs of calcium distribution in peltate glandular trichomes treated with 100 µM Nif. A. Early presecretory stage. The initial cell of a glandular trichome with few organelles, decreased cytoplasmic density, and no calcium precipitates. N: nucleus; V: vacuole; scale = 1 µm. B. Early presecretory, three-celled stage. Abnormal separation of the cuticular layer from the cell wall to form an abnormal subcuticular space (SCS, arrow). Scale = 2 µm. C. Apical cells at the secretory stage. Anomalous compound vesicles in the vicinity of the plasma membrane. Scale = 200 nm. D. Apical cell at the secretory stage. Little secretory product occurs in the subcuticular space (SCS, arrowheads), and many mitochondria (M) appear near the plasma membrane. The RER (arrow) has a few ribosomes. CW: cell wall; scale = 200 nm. E. Post-secretory stage, apical cells. Calcium precipitates (arrows) occur on the outer membrane of the disorganized plastids (P), while the cell wall (CW) has a lax fibrillar appearance. Scale = 200 nm. F. Comparison of the cuticular layer under three treatments 1) light-grown control, 2) dark-grown control, and 3) 100 µM Nif. C: cuticle; scales = 100 nm.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Workshop at Hanging Rock State Park

On May 1 I lead an all-day workshop on standardized plant photography and plant identification at Hanging Rock State Park. The photograph shows the class paying close attention to my co-instructor, the photographer Martin Wall (out of the frame).
UNCG still has graduate teaching assistantships at both the M.S. and Ph.D. level, and both in-state and out-of-state tuition waivers available for 2010/2011. We offer an M.S. degree in Biology, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Health Science. You can find more about the department on our web page ( To apply for Graduate School at UNCG please visit the Graduate School website for prospective students.

I am actively recruiting students in plant structure and development, and biological pedagogy, either at the M.S. or Ph.D. level.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Virally Induced Gene Silencing

I am searching for a M.S. (or very talented undergraduate) to carry out a project using virally induced gene silencing (VICS) in the plant family Zingiberaceae. VICS is a form of RNA interference (RNAi). We will be working with Dr. Chelsea Specht's lab at UC Berkeley to study the effects of gene silencing of MADS box genes in flower development in the the tropical gingers. Part of the work will be done in Dr. Specht's lab, and part at UNCG. This would make a good M.S. project for an entering student.

Springer quotes my review on their website

My review of the new book"
Pollen Terminology: An Illustrated Handbook" appeared in the latest Plant Science Bulletin (55: 2, p. 77), and has been quoted on the Springer website.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

New paper in press, and new presentations

Now in press

Wang, H.-F., Kirchoff, B. K., Qin, H.-N., Zhu, Z.-X. in press. Reproductive morphology of Sargentodoxa cuneata (Lardizabalaceae) and its systematic implications. Plant Systematics and Evolution

Papers presented at the 2009 Association of Southeastern Biologists in Birmingham,AL, April 1 - 4, 2009

Kirchoff, B. K. and Baskauf, S. 2009. Woody Plants of the Southeastern United States: A Field Botany Course on CD. Association of Southeastern Biologists, Birmingham, AL. April 1 – 4, 2009.

Kirchoff, B. K., Pawar, S., Kale, P., Remington, D. and Sadri, F. 2009. A New Type of Visual Key Based on Bayesian Principles. Association of Southeastern Biologists, Birmingham, AL. April 1 – 4, 2009.

Dulin, M., and Kirchoff, B. K. 2009. Paedomorphic Secondary Xylem and Secondary Woodiness in Xanthorhiza simplicissima, Coreopsis gigantea, and Mahonia bealei. Association of Southeastern Biologists, Birmingham, AL. April 1 – 4, 2009.

Dokuzoglu, N., Healey, C. G., Hsiao, J., Kirchoff, B. K., and Remington, D. 2009. A new, cross-platform DNA alignment tool. Association of Southeastern Biologists, Birmingham, AL. April 1 – 4, 2009. (You can download a Beta version of the alignment tool here.)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sustainabilty Fair

I will be participating in the UNCG Sustainability Scholarship Fair on April 21, 5:00 - 7:00 PM in the Gatewood Studio Arts Building.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Morphbank on imaging standards

My paper with Steven Baskauf on digital image standards has been cited by Morphbank as an important contribution toward establishing imaging standards. Morphbank is an NSF funded repository of scientific images. You can find our paper linked from my publications page (or click here). The Morphbank new item is here: Morphbank :: Toward Standards for Photographing Living Plants.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Work cited in new book

My 2004 paper with Drs. Richter, Remtington and Wisniewski (Complex Data Produce Better Characters. Systematic Biology 53: 1-17) has been cited in Dr. Tod Stussey's new book "Plant Taxonomy: The Systematic Evaluation of Comparative Data." The paper deals with the question of morphological characters and character states. Dr. Stussey cites my work as showing that subjectivity can enter into the process of creating character states, although he admits that when we used more complex data there was less "subjectivity." Unfortunately, he did not cite our 2007 follow-up study (Kirchoff, B. K., S. J. Richter, and D. L. Remington. 2007. Characters as Groups: A New Approach to Morphological Characters in Phylogenetic Analysis. Taxon 56: 479-492) that proposed a method to deal with the problem we identified in 2004. The problem of creating reliable and valid morphological characters remains a real one; one that will only be solved when we begin to understand how entangled we are with our data.

You can read Dr. Stussey's comments on my work here (go to p. 79).