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Matthew Wang

MS student

Email: matthewd.wang@gmail.com

Matt is interested in population/conservation genetics. His specific interests involve genetic diversity and how external factors affect diversity; particularly herbivory and disease. After working for the National Park Service in Utah for 3 field seasons, he developed an interest in rare cacti. His thesis work is focusing on how a newly identified herbivore is affecting genetic diversity in an endangered cactus, Sclerocactus wrightiae. In addition, demographic and population health data will be used to try and determine how susceptible unaffected populations might be as well as make predictions about extinction risk. Results from these data will be applied to two other listed species; S.wetlandicus and S.brevispinus. He also intends to build a phylogeny of the Sclerocactus genus to inform land managers of potential risks of herbivory in other Sclerocactus species.

Sclerocactus wrightiae in bloom Sclerocactus wrightiae with moth larvae

Grants & Awards

  • 2014 Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research Grant
  • 2014 & 2015 Student Undergraduate Research Fund Grant
  • 2015 & 2016 Pope Capitol Reef Scholarship
  • 2016 UVU Outstanding Student in Biology Award
  • 2016 Kimball T. Harper Botany Scholarship
  • 2016 Bureau of Land Management Grant
  • 2017 Utah Native Plant Society Grant
  • 2018 Northwestern University PBC Research Grant
  • 2019 Cactus and Succulent Society of America Grant

Papers & Presentations

  • 2015 The Effects of Road Disturbance on the Reproductive Success of the Holmgren Milkvetch (Astragalus holmgreniorum) – Unpublished
  • 2015 Poster Presentation “The Effects of Road Disturbance on the Reproductive Success of the Holmgren Milkvetch Astragalus holmgreniorum” Utah Conference for Undergraduate Research
  • 2017 Presentation “Taxon Boundaries and Genetic Variation Within and Among Populations of Rare Cacti, Pediocactus despainii and Pediocactus winkleri” Rare Plant Meeting hosted by Utah Native Plant Society, Red Butte Gardens, and The Natural History Museum of Utah
  • 2018 Presentation “Genetic results for Pediocactus despainii and Pediocactus winkleri, and future plans for Sclerocactus wrightiae Central Utah Cacti Meeting hosted by USFWS & BLM
  • 2018 Presentation “Genetic Factors Affecting Disease Management in Rare Plants” Rare Plant Meeting hosted by Utah Native Plant Society, Red Butte Gardens, and The Natural History Museum of Utah
  • 2019 (upcoming) “Threats Affecting Rare Cacti of the Colorado Plateau” Meeting of the Cactus & Succulent Society Greater Chicago Chapter
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