Katharine Gregg, Professor of Biology, West Virginia Wesleyan
Since 1976 IÕve enjoyed teaching a variety of courses at Wesleyan. Currently, I teach Principles of Biology (first course for majors), Experimental Biology (fourth course for majors), Plant Systematics (a junior-senior level course for majors) and Principles of Microbiology for upper level biology majors.
Experimental Biology teaches the basics of biostatistics and scientific writing – how to design experiments, analyze with appropriate statistical tests, and communicate your findings to the scientific community. This lays a solid foundation for our upper level courses, as well as for professional and graduate work. We work with plants in this course because it is so easy to grow hundreds of experimental plants for statistical analysis.
Plant Systematics, which satisfies our upper level systematics requirement, takes you on field trips to great places like Dolly Sods, Canaan Valley, the New River Gorge, Cranesville Swamp, and Cathedral State Park. Below left, a group of students learns about bear scat at Dolly Sods.
Below right, how to enjoy Cranesville Swamp from the bottom up!
With constant practice in solving systematic puzzles and in Ōkeying outĶ West VirginiaÕs diverse fall flora, you will develop skill in making timely scientific decisions by combining intuition with your learned knowledge and observations. Our alumni have told us that this course is excellent preparation for medical fields involving diagnosis.
In Plant Systematics students also carry out individual group research projects that could involve WesleyanÕs ecological succession plots (as shown below) or investigations of species biology.
Although my doctoral work explored the physiology, morphology, and ecology of sex expression in two tropical orchids, my research interests since coming to West Virginia have been in ecology, reproductive strategy, pollination, systematics, and population dynamics of native terrestrial orchids. Recently IÕve worked with researchers at Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, to elucidate relationships using DNA analysis of the spreading pogonia orchids (Cleistes divaricata and C. bifaria). Using 10 years of my population data on Cleistes in a West Virginia meadow, a postdoctoral Swiss biologist and I have investigated how zoological mark and recapture modeling can help us better understand why orchids have the intriguing habit of ŌmysteriouslyĶ disappearing and reappearing in a seemingly unpredictable manner. Student Sara Pyles carried out an undergraduate research project comparing behavior of the orchids in West Virginia and Florida. Click on the link below for my publications.
A big project completed and published in Natural Areas Journal in 2004 was a study that described effects of and recovery from moderate and severe herbivory by deer in showy ladyÕs slipper orchids. Because West Virginia has only two documented populations of Cypripedium reginae, this study will help us better understand and protect this species which is becoming very rare in the southeast. Students like Heather Browning and Matt Becker (top right) are terrific field assistants and are welcome participants in my research. Amanda Cochran (bottom row) got her feet wet, literally, in wetland orchid investigation!
Another important interest is in environmental activism. In West Virginia, IÕve worked on mining, wetlands, and forest issues. At the national level, IÕve been a volunteer for Sierra Club, serving in various capacities for the past 20 years.
PUBLICATIONS Gregg, K. B., and Marc Kéry. 2006. "Comparison of size
vs. life-state classification in
by Katharine B. Gregg
demographic models for the terrestrial orchid Cleistes bifaria." Biological Conservation
Gregg, K. B., and Marc Kéry. 2006. "Comparison of size
vs. life-state classification in
Kéry, Marc, K. B. Gregg, and Michael Schaub. 2005. "Demographic estimation methods for plants with unobservable life-states." Oikos 108: 307-320.
Gregg, K. B. 2004. "Recovery of showy lady’s slippers
Walter) from moderate and severe herbivory by white-tailed deer (Odocoileus
virginianus Zimmerman)." Natural Areas Journal 24: 232-241.
Kéry, Marc, and K. B. Gregg. 2004. "Demographic analysis
of dormancy and
survival in the terrestrial orchid Cypripedium reginae." Journal of Ecology 92: 686-695.
Kéry, Marc, and K. B. Gregg. 2004. "Demographic estimation methods for plants
with dormancy." Animal Biodiversity and Conservation 27:129-131.
Kéry, Marc, and K. B. Gregg. 2003. "Effects of life-state
on detectability in a demographic
study of the terrestrial orchid Cleistes bifaria." Journal of Ecology 91:265-273.
Smith, S. D., R. S. Cowan, K. B. Gregg, M. W. Chase, N. Maxted, and M. F. Fay. 2004. " Genetic discontinuities among populations of Cleistes (Orchidaceae, Vanilloideae) in North America." Botanical Journal of the Linnaean Society 145:87-95.
Gregg, K. B, and P. Catling. 2002. "The genus Cleistes (Orchidaceae)." Pages 510-511 in Flora of North America Editorial Committee (eds.) The Flora of North America North of Mexico. Volume 26. Oxford University Press, New York.
Catling, P., and Gregg, K. B. 1992. "Systematics of the genus Cleistes in North America."
Lindleyana 7: 57-73.
Gregg, K. B. 1991. "Variation in behavior of four populations
of the orchid Cleistes divaricata (L.) Ames, an assessment
using transition matrix models." Pages 143-163 in Willems,
J. H., and T. C. E. Wells [eds.], Population Ecology of Terrestrial Orchids.
Academic Publishing bv, The Hague.
Gregg, K. B. 1991. "Defrauding the deceitful orchid: pollen collection by pollinators of Cleistes divaricata and C. bifaria." Lindleyana 6 (4): 214-220.
Gregg, K. B. 1991. "Reproductive strategy of Cleistes divaricata (Orchidaceae)." American Journal of Botany 78: 350-360.
Gregg, K. B. 1990. "Protection of rare and endangered plants
in West Virginia." Pages 7-24 in
Buckelew, Albert R. [ed.] Endangered and threatened species in West Virginia.
Special Publication of Brooks Bird Club, #2. The Valley Press, Inc., Wellsburg, WV.
Gregg, K. B. 1990. "The natural life cycle of Platanthera."
Pages 25-39 in Sawyers, C. [ed.], North American nativeterrestrial
orchid propagation and production. Brandywine
Conservancy/Mt. Cuba Center/New England Wildflower Society, Chadds Ford, PA.
Gregg, K. B. 1989. "Reproductive biology of the orchid Cleistes divaricata (L.) Ames var. bifaria Fernald growing in a West Virginia meadow." Castanea 54: 57-78.
Gregg, K. B. 1984. "Stress-induced ethylene production by developing racemes of Catasetum and Cycnoches -- How orchids say, "Ouch!" American Orchid Society Bulletin 53: 50- 56.
Gregg, K. B. 1983. "Variation in floral fragrances and morphology:
incipient speciation in
Cycnoches?" Botanical Gazette 144: 566-576.
Gregg, K. B. 1982. "Sunlight enhanced ethylene production by
developing racemes of
Catasetum and Cycnoches and its relation to female flower production." Botanical
Gazette 143: 466-475.
Gregg, K. B. 1978. "The interaction of light intensity, plant size, and nutrition in sex expression in Cycnoches (Orchidaceae)." Selbyana 2: 212-223.
Gregg, K. B. 1975. "The effect of light intensity on sex expression
in species of Cycnoches
and Catasetum (Orchidaceae)." Selbyana 1: 101-113.