Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

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Smithsonian Botanical Symposium
20 May 2016
National Museum of
   Natural History and
the U.S. Botanic Garden
Washington, DC


Smithsonian Botanical Symposium 2016 — Presented by the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History Department of Botany in collaboration with the United States Botanic Garden with support from the Cuatrecasas Family Foundation:

"Bats, Bees, Birds, Butterflies and Bouquets: New Research in Pollination Biology"

The act of pollination, transferring pollen from one flower to another, remains one of the most ecologically important interactions between plant and animal. It allows plants to produce seed and reproduce, and it provides pollen, nectar and other rewards to the animals that visit the flowers. Pollination is a keystone function of most terrestrial ecosystems, and an estimated 87 percent of flowering plants depend on animal pollination. Plant-pollinator interactions have led to the evolutionary diversification of major groups of both plants and animals. A diverse plate of foods for humans is a result of pollination as well: one out of every three bites of food we eat is the result of an animal pollinating a plant. Yet recent evidence shows that pollinator abundance and diversity is on the decline. What does the threat to the health of pollinators hold for the future of native plant populations and agriculture? Will plant and pollinator populations adapt to a changing climate, invasive species, and habitat loss?

The 13th Smithsonian Botanical Symposium, hosted by the Department of Botany and the United States Botanic Garden, will highlight current research in pollination biology, from plant physiology and ecology to evolution and animal behavior. New approaches to the study of plant-animal interactions may provide promise to safeguard biodiversity both here in the U.S. and around the world. The invited speakers will cover a wide range of approaches to illustrate the challenges in plant-pollinator relationships in a rapidly changing world.


ruby-throated hummingbird

Archilochus colubris (ruby-throated hummingbird) visits Campsis radicans (=Bignonia radicans, trumpet vine). From J.J. Audubon, The Birds of America: from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories, 1840-1844.


Registration is now open. The early registration deadline is 1 April 2015, with fees increasing after this date. Click here to register.

We are now accepting abstracts for poster and oral presentations. The deadline for abtract submissions is 1 April 2015. Click here to submit your abstract.

If you have questions, or would like to be added to the distribution list for conference-related announcements, please email:

Program and Schedule

Confirmed Speakers
Sam Droege (USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center)
Candace Galen (University of Missouri)
Matthew Koski (University of Virginia)
Tatyana Livshultz (Drexel University)
Nathan Muchhala (University of Missouri-St. Louis)
Robert Raguso (Cornell University)
David Roubik (Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute)

Friday, May 20
Morning Session
NMNH Baird Auditorium
9:00 a.m. Registration and coffee, Evans Gallery (enter through Constitution Avenue lobby)
9:30 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. Invited papers
10:45 a.m. Coffee break, upper level of the Museum Rotunda
12:45 p.m. Lunch break - on your own

Afternoon Session
NMNH Baird Auditorium

2:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Invited papers and discussion
4:00 p.m. Coffee break, upper level of the Museum Rotunda

Evening Events
The United States Botanic Garden

6:00 p.m. Closing reception and poster session, United States Botanic Garden, Washington, DC.


CALL FOR POSTERS The National Museum of Natural History and the U.S. Botanic Garden have begun accepting abstracts for poster presentations for the 14th Smithsonian Botanical Symposium, "Bats, Bees, Birds, Butterflies and Bouquets: New Research in Pollination Biology", which will be held May 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. Space is limited and will be accepted based upon the quality of the abstract and the order received.


  • Abstracts must be submitted electronically to before 13 April 2016.
  • Abstract selections will be made by 20 April 2016. Notifications will be sent by email only.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR PREPARING ABSTRACTS Abstract submissions should include the following:

  • Topic must be related to the study of pollination biology and contain original research.
  • Author(s) name(s) including affiliation(s) and email address(es).
  • List the title in upper and lower case. Titles are limited to 150 characters.
  • Abstracts may not exceed 1,500 characters (approx. 200 words), including spaces.
After you submit your abstract, you will receive a confirmation email. If you do not receive an email, your abstract has not been received. Registration is mandatory to be included in the program.



  • Posters will be displayed on May 20th at the U.S. Botanic Garden during the closing reception.


  • Posters should be no larger than 30" x 40" (portrait orientation)
  • Presenting authors are requested to attend the poster session (6:00 pm - 8:00 pm) to take advantage of opportunities to discuss their work with symposium participants.

What will be provided:

  • Easels, foam board and binder clips for each accepted presenter.
  • We will NOT provide you with a table, computers, monitors or other electronic equipment and cannot guarantee access to electricity for your presentation should it be required.


Cuatrecasas Family Foundation
National Museum of Natural History
   Department of Botany
   Office of the Associate Director for Science
United States Botanic Garden

Visitor Information


The National Museum of Natural History is located on the National Mall at the intersection of 10th St and Constitution Ave NW in Washington, DC 20560.

The United States Botanic Garden is also located on the National Mall, at 100 Maryland Ave SW in Washington, DC 20001.

For maps, directions, and additional information, visit the NMNH, USBG, or NPS websites.


Metrorail, Washington's subway system, and Metrobus link the city with nearby communities in Maryland and Virginia. The closest subway stations to the National Museum of Natural History are Federal Triangle and Smithsonian (both on the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines). The closest subway station to the United States Botanic Garden is Federal Center SW (also on the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines). For a Metrorail map and more information, visit the Metro website.

Washington is served by three major airports: Reagan National (DCA), which is most convenient for domestic travelers; Dulles International (IAD); and Baltimore/Washington International (BWI). DCA is served directly by Metrorail. IAD and BWI can both be accessed via public transportation, but are not directly served by Metrorail.

Parking is not available at the museum. There are several private parking garages in the vicinity.


There are many options in the Washington area. In general, prices decrease with distance from the National Mall (city center). However, it is important to factor in the cost and time required to travel between a particular option and the conference venues on the National Mall. It is recommended that you prioritize options within walking distance to a Metrorail stop or the conference venues.

For hotels, the popular online booking sites for travelers should provide you with a range of possibilities. As always, reading reviews can be helpful. Please keep in mind that Washington is a popular tourist destination; for the greatest number of options and best prices, book early. Please note that there is not an official conference hotel.

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