Washington State Magazine

Winter 2004

Winter 2004

In This Issue...


How Cougar Gold Made the World a Better Place :: Washington may not yet have reached cheese heaven. But we're now well past the purgatory of cheese sameness. And we have the WSU Creamery, and Cougar Gold as a delicious standard, to thank for much of this progress.

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Gallery: The Cheesemaking Process at WSU :: Photography by Robert Hubner.}

Our Kind of Town :: Spokane is undeniably a beautiful place to live and raise a family. Its downtown is once again vibrant. But it takes more than attitude and livability to drive an economy. That's where higher education comes in.

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Story: It's Right Here: An interview with Spokane's economic development officer Tom Reese }

Ideas, Buildings, and Mirrors :: Torn between respect for its natural surroundings and a desire for cosmopolitan sophistication, Spokane lends a unique perspective to the notion that works of architecture reflect what a community thinks of itself.

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Gallery: Ideas, Buildings and Mirrors :: Photographs of Spokane by George Bedirian.}

Seen from the Street: Photographs of Spokane :: One lens. One photographer. A unique perspective on Spokane.

Maughan Brothers :: Following the death of her husband, H. Delight Maughan raised six children-while teaching full-time. Despite the challenge, she clearly did it right. All three of her scientist sons, Paul, David, and Lowell, have been honored with alumni achievement awards.



:: FROM THE PRESIDENT: Opening minds, setting lives on course

:: A SENSE OF PLACE: Plants of the Wild

:: SEASONS|SPORTS: Training Table


Cover: Riverpark Square, downtown Spokane. Read the story. Photograph by Rajah Bose.

Scanning electron photomicropgrah of early leaf development in <em>Claytonia sibirica</em> var. <em>bulbillifera</em>, by Robin O'Quinn, spring 2004.


Scanning electron photomicropgrah of early leaf development in Claytonia sibirica var. bulbillifera, by Robin O'Quinn, spring 2004.

Helpless: Aesthetic Science

by | © Washington State University

Botany graduate student Robin O'Quinn is interested in characterizing the morphological diversity of the plant species Claytonia sibirica. C. sibirica has a wide range, extending as far north as the Commander Islands, off the coast of Siberia. But in parts of its range, populations show differences. The great botanist Asa Gray, who classified many of the plants in the Pacific Northwest, identified a peculiar member of the group in the Klamath region of southern Oregon, naming it Claytonia bulbifera. But 10 years later, he demoted the plant to a variety of Claytonia sibirica.

O'Quinn was intrigued by this bulb-forming variety that grows on drier hillsides and sunnier sites. Part of her comparison of the bulbous and non-bulbous forms involves characterizing the morphology, or basic shape, of the developing leaves. Is it, she asked, something that can be characterized early in its development, or does the difference develop later on? Such analysis helps clarify the classification of a plant.

O'Quinn took this electron-microscope photograph as part of a class that the Electron Microscopy Center offers every semester. According to the center's Valerie Lynch-Holm, students are taught the basics of scanning electron microscopy and then "turned loose."

O'Quinn says she could never have accomplished what she has in her research without the class. "What I take with me as a researcher, having had free use of that equipment, is phenomenal."

The photomicrographs that she actually used in her analysis were shot from more prosaic angles for comparison. The image above was purely aesthetic, she says. "I'm pretty helpless when it comes to beautiful things and a really cool camera."

O'Quinn hopes that clarifying the varietal status of Claytonia sibirica var. bulbillifera in southern Oregon will "give policy makers and conservationists more incentive for protecting regions of that area. It's very, very special."

Categories: Botany, Photography | Tags: Microscopy

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