Professor, Biology

Plyler 132E

  • Current disciplinary research interests

      I am currently working on building a series of Economic Botany Gardens for Furman University. In 2011 I started the Fiber/Dye Garden. This garden contains plants used for fiber production (flax and cotton) as well as a number of plants we use for dyeing in BIO-401: Applied Plant Science and BIO-150: Live and Let Dye May Experience. I am proposing expansion of the garden to include herbal medicines.

  • Interest in connecting sustainability to research

      I have already been discussing the use of the gardens with several history professors who are interested in showing their students cotton and indigo, two plants that were important in South Carolina during the slave period. Several other professors have shown interest in plants used in herbal medicine.

  • Center-funded research projects

      Use of Invasive Plant Species for Natural Dyes, and Establishment of an Economic Botany Garden at Furman University

      Student Research Assistant: Sarah Lyons '13

      The idea for this project originated from Dr. Thompson's Applied Plant Science course, as she was constantly seeking plant material to create dyes and fiber for her students to use. This project identified invasive species for plant dyes in order to aid in protection of native plants and help control local invasive species. The project also established an economic botany garden in front of the greenhouse on campus, adjacent to Townes Center for Science. This garden is used by students in the Biology department with special emphasis in the Biology 401: Applied Plant Science class.

  • Sustainability courses taught
      • BIO-111: Foundations of Biology
      • BIO-150: Live and Let Dye,
        Ethnobotany travel study class
      • BIO-401: Applied Plant Science

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