The Dutch Gap Canal along the James River in Virginia is known as an important place in American history and current palaeobotanical (fossil plants) investigations. Fossils from the site, now in the collections at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC and other museums across the country, are available for study today because of the labor of Union soldiers and Freedmen, who dug the canal during the U.S. Civil War. Creation of the Canal was part of a broader plan that failed to take Richmond, VA, the capitol of the Confederacy. Forty-five of these freedmen were taken from the Roanoke Island Freedman Colony and impressed into labor in 1864 by the Union Army. Dr. Judd will share their story and ultimate contribution to the understanding the evolution of flowering plants.

Dr. Nathan Jud is an Assistant Professor of Plant Biology at William Jewell College in Liberty, MO. He earned his doctorate at the University of Maryland College Park. His research interests include the diversification of angiosperms (flowering plants), the history of Neotropical rainforests, and vegetation during the Late Paleozoic Ice age.


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