30 Life Science Bldg.
(334) 844-1646

ROLAND R. DUTE, Professor; Ph.D., Wisconsin, 1976.  Plant cell ultrastructure; wood anatomy; diatom ecology.


ne area of research in my laboratory involves wood anatomy, and we have a continuing project involving the structure, development, chemical composition and function of pit membranes.  Pit membranes represent low resistance pathways between water-conducting cells, and as such are of crucial importance to the proper functioning of wood.  We are particularly interested in the so-called torus-bearing pit membranes found in certain hardwoods and in the fern genus Botrychium.  The torus is a thickening on the pit membrane that serves to prevent membrane rupture and the subsequent passage of gas embolisms.


A second area of research involves diatoms, their structure and ecology.  Diatoms are ubiquitous algae whose siliceous coverings contain various markings that aid in their identification.  Diatoms have proven to be good indicators of aquatic environmental conditions, and we are at present studying species distribution in an inland hypersaline environment.  In contrast, we recently completed a study of diatom populations in an acidic freshwater ecosystem containing a low concentration of mineral salts.


A final area of interest is biology education for the visually impaired.  We have completed a series of animal and plant laboratory exercises in Braille and are presently seeking a publisher.

Recent Publications:

1) Wood Anatomy

Morrow, A. C. and R. R. Dute.  2002.  Crystals associated with the intertracheid pit membrane of the woody fern Botrychium multifidum.  American Fern Journal 92: 10-19.

Dute, R. R., M. E. Miller, M. A. Davis, F. M. Woods, and K. S. McLean.  2002.  Effects of ambrosia beetle attack on Cercis canadensis.  International Association of Wood Anatomists (IAWA) Journal 23: 143-160.

Dute, R. R., M. E. Miller, and R. R. Carollo.  2001.  Intervascular pit structure in selected species of Thymelaeaceae.  Journal of the Alabama Academy of Science 72: 14-26.

Morrow, A. C. and R. R. Dute.  1999.  Electron microscopic investigation of the coating found on torus-bearing pit membranes of Botrychium dissectum the common grape fern.  IAWA Journal 20: 359-373.

Dute, R. R., K. M. Duncan, and B. Duke.  1999.  Tyloses in abscission scars of loblolly pine.  IAWA Journal 20: 67-74.


2) Diatoms

Dute, R. R., M. J. Sullivan, and L. E. Shunnarah.  2000.  The diatom assemblage of Ophrydium colonies from South Alabama.  Diatom Research 15: 31-42.

 Estes, A. and R. Dute.1994.  Valve abnormalities in diatom clones maintained in long-term culture.  Diatom Research 9: 249-258.


3) Other

Dute R. R., S. L. Lanier, B. McKinnell, B. M. Whitman, M. D. Haynes, C. Moynihan, and T. D. Donald.  In Press.  Biology laboratory exercises for the visually impaired.  Journal of the Alabama Academy of Science.

Timmerman-Erskine, M., R. R. Dute, and R. S. Boyd.  2002.  The Trillium pusillum Michaux complex (Trilliaceae):  Analysis of pollen and leaf epidermal micromorphology.  Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 129: 175-186.

Timmerman-Erskine, M., R. R. Dute, and R. S. Boyd.  2002.  Morphometric analysis of the Trillium pusillum Michaux complex (Trilliaceae) of the Southeastern United States.  Castanea 67: 109-119.

Schultz, H. C., G. J. Keever, J. R. Kessler, Jr., and R. R. Dute.  2001 BA does not reduce detrimental effects of high nighttime temperature on offset formation in Hosta.  Journal of Environmental Horticulture 19: 29-32.

Watkins, J. E. Jr., A. Diamond, and R. R. Dute.  2000.  Distribution and new county records of the fern, Botrychium lunarioides (Michaux) Sw. in Alabama.  Castanea 65: 64-68.