Morgan Gaglianese-Woody Presents Honors Thesis Research at ASB

Honors senior Morgan Gaglianese-Woody is attending the annual Association of Southeastern Biologists (ASB) meetings in Memphis, TN, April 3-6, 2019, presenting research from her Honors thesis. The title of her research poster is, “The development of microsatellite markers for the culturally and economically significant plant, Allium tricoccum Ait.” Gaglianese-Woody’s research mentor is Dr. Matt Estep, assistant professor in Appalachian’s Department of Biology. Her second reader is Cody Miller, lecturer in Appalachian’s Department of Sustainable Development.

As Gaglianese-Woody explained, Allium tricoccum Ait is commonly known as a ramp or wild leek. She stated,

“Ramps are garlicky wild greens with deep cultural roots, and foraging for them is a beloved springtime tradition in Appalachia. However, as interest in the plant grows, wild populations are at risk of over-exploitation, and there is an urgent need to develop proper management practices.”

For her research, Gaglianese-Woody spent the summer of 2018 collecting ramp samples in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park (GSMNP). She is currently using those samples to screen 50 microsatellite primers. As she further explained,

“The aim of my project is to develop tools that managers can use to monitor genetic diversity in and around the GSMNP with the ultimate goal of developing responsible population management practices.”

 Stay tuned for the announcement of Gaglianese-Woody' Honors thesis defense and learn more about this significant research. 


In the top photo, Gaglianese-Woody is performing a transect in the Broadleaf tropical rainforest outside of Rio Frio cave in Belize. Summer 2018, Gaglianese-Woody traveled for two-weeks to Belize on a trip led by Drs. Matt Estep, Sarah Marshburn, and Shea Tuberty all from Appalachian State University’s Department of Biology. With this faculty-led study abroad course she fulfilled her Honors international education requirement. Students earned six hours of biodiversity/ecology credits studying coral reef, rainforest ecology, and conservation. Photo by Sarah Marshburn.

Story by: Garrett Alexandrea McDowell, Ph.D.

Published: Apr 1, 2019 8:44am