Ranessa Cooper
Biology

Ranessa L. Cooper

Professor of Biology, Director of Slayton Arboretum, Board of Women Commissioners Chairwoman in Botany
I have been fortunate to be able to pursue a diverse set of projects over the years, including collaborative efforts with colleagues that include some of my former students. My undergraduates and I have appreciated being a part of multi-faceted studies in conservation, paleobotany, and plant anatomy/morphology.
— Ranessa Cooper

Education

Ph.D. in Plant Biology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, 2001
Dissertation: “Structural adaptations of willows (Salix; Salicaceae) endemic to the Athabasca sand dunes”

B.S. & B.A. in Biology, Truman State University, Kirksville, Missouri, 1997

Professional Memberships

Botanical Society of America (and the Legacy Society)

Isle Royale & Keweenaw Parks Association

Michigan Botanical Club

Michigan Consortium of Botanists

Michigan Nature Association

Torrey Botanical Society

Awards and Honors

Lion Legacy Award (Salem, IN), 2012

National TRIO Achievers Award from the Council for Opportunity in Education, 2002

University of Alberta Ph.D. Dissertation Award (declined), 2001

Graduate Student Teaching Award (U. Alberta), 1999

F. S. Chia Ph.D. Scholar (U. Alberta), 1997 – 2001

Young Botanist Award, Botanical Society of America, 1997

Outstanding Senior in Biology (Truman), 1997

Maynard F. Moseley Student Paper Award, Botanical Society of America, 1996

Sigma Xi Student Research Award, Kirksville Chapter (Truman), 1996

Barry M. Goldwater Scholar, 1995 – 1997

Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program Scholar, 1994 – 1997

Publications

Taylor, M. L., R. L. Cooper, E. L. Schneider, and J. M. Osborn. 2015. Pollen structure and development in Nymphaeales: Insights into character evolution in an ancient angiosperm lineage. American Journal of Botany. 102(10): 1685-1702.

Little, S. A., B. Jacobs, S. J. McKechnie, R. L. Cooper, M. L. Christianson, and J. A. Jernstedt. 2013. Branch architecture in Ginkgo biloba L. – Wood anatomy and long shoot-short shoot interactions. American Journal of Botany. 100(10): 1923-1935.

Smith, S., S. Little, R. L. Cooper, R. J. Burnham, and R. A. Stockey. 2013. A ranunculalean liana stem from the Cretaceous of British Columbia, Canada: Atli morinii gen. et sp. nov. International Journal of Plant Sciences. 174(5): 818-831.

Edwards, M. D., R. L. Cooper, M. Serafin, and B. E. Toppen. 2012. Assessment of a novel reclamation effort in Grand Mere State Park. The Michigan Botanist. 51(2): 57-72.

Cooper, R. L., J. V. Ware, and D. D. Cass. 2004. Leaf thickness of Salix (Salicaceae) from the Athabasca sand dunes of northern Saskatchewan, Canada. Canadian Journal of Botany. 82: 1682-1686.

Cooper, R. L. and D. D. Cass. 2003. A comparative epidermis study of the Athabasca sand dune willows (Salix; Salicaceae) and their putative progenitors. Canadian Journal of Botany. 81(7): 749-754.

Cooper, R. L. and D. D. Cass. 2001. Comparative evaluation of vessel elements in Salix (Salicaceae) endemic to the Athabasca sand dunes of northern Saskatchewan, Canada. American Journal of Botany. 88(4): 583-587.

Osborn, J. M., G. El-Ghazaly, and R. L. Cooper. 2001. Development of the exineless pollen wall in Callitrichaceae and the evolution of underwater pollination. Plant Systematics and Evolution. 228: 81-87.

Cooper, R. L., J. M. Osborn, and C. T. Philbrick. 2000. Comparative pollen morphology and ultrastructure of the Callitrichaceae. American Journal of Botany. 87(2): 161-175.

About

As an undergraduate, I realized that I really enjoyed botany. I began pursuing botanical research and enrolled in several botany courses. My instructors showed such enthusiasm for their respective fields in plant biology, and I learned a great deal from those interactions with my professors. I valued the small university, liberal arts atmosphere, and it inspired me to walk in the footsteps of my mentors. They loved teaching, sharing knowledge, and working with their students, and I knew that I wanted to assume a similar role in my prospective academic career.

I am enjoying a rewarding career in academia by serving in the capacity of a teacher-scholar. I have been fortunate to be able to pursue a diverse set of projects over the years, including collaborative efforts with colleagues that include some of my former students. My undergraduates and I have appreciated being a part of multi-faceted studies in conservation, paleobotany, and plant anatomy/morphology. I look forward to pursuing more field-related projects to promote conservation and management of Cirsium hillii (Hill’s thistle), a species of special concern in Michigan.