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posted October 7, 1998

The Botanical Society of America has honored Donald Kaplan, professor of plant biology, with the Jeanette Siron Pelton Award of 1998 for his imaginative contributions in experimental plant morphology.

In its award announcement, the society said: "Dr. Kaplan has demonstrated sustained excellence in research scholarship in the areas of plant morphology and morphogenesis throughout his career.

"He has reached out both to traditional plant biologists as well as to those who have come to plant biology through an interest in molecular aspects of biology. He is the author of numerous substantive publications on leaf development that are recognized as classic papers on the subject."

The society said that Kaplan's work on the relationship between the cell and the organism, "has required both plant organismal biologists and molecular geneticists to reevaluate their thinking about the underlying mechanisms responsible for the origin of plant form."

Plant morphology, according to Kaplan, is concerned with the description and characterization of the form of plants, and, more specifically, with form relationships of plants.

"Plants do not invent new organs for particular functional specializations," he said, "but instead modify the same basic organs for a range of functions. The task of the plant morphologist is to determine what these basic organizational themes are and what the developmental or causal basis of their production is."

Kaplan previously received the Alexander von Humboldt Distinguished Senior U.S. Scientist Award, and a certificate of merit award for outstanding contributions to botanical science from the Botanical Society of America.

Kaplan, who was a Berkeley graduate student from 1960-64, has been a faculty member since 1968. He received a Distinguished Teaching Award in 1976.


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