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The Southeast is one of North America's biodiversity hotspots. Any trip through this region will be rewarded with lots of botanical splendor if you know where to look. Join Conservation Biologist Sara Johnson and me as we reminisce about a recent botanical excursion and learn about a fraction of the botanical diversity we met along the way. This ep…
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I have said it before, and I will say it again: plants ARE habitat. Nowhere is this fact more apparent than in the field of wildlife ecology. From food to shelter, one simply can't understand the innerworkings of nature without understanding plants. Join me and Wildlife Ecologist Dr. Chris Moorman as we look at why plants are so important to conser…
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Competition for nutrients is a major driver of plant evolution, especially in nutrient-poor soils. As such, plants have evolved myriad ways of getting a "root up" on the competition. Dr. Jim Dalling joins us to discuss two recent discoveries related to two species with distinct and incredible root adaptations aimed at maximizing nutrient capture in…
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The Appalachian region may not readily seem like a fire-prone region, but parts of it certainly are. Fire can be an important tool in sustaining biodiversity, but modern understanding of its role is limited. That is why people like Dr. Don Hagan study the effects of prescribed fire in the Appalachian Mountains and beyond. Join me and Dr. Hagan as w…
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Wildfires are familiar to those living on Earth today, but what about in the past? How does one go about studying ancient wildfires through deep time? Some of the answers lie in coal deposits. Join me and Dr. Ian Glasspool as we explore how he studies wildfire events dating back hundreds of millions of years and marvel at the amazing stories his da…
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Good news is hard to come by in the world of plant conservation, but it is out there! Take, for instance, some recent examples on Santa Cruz Island in which the recovery of a handful of endangered plants, including island bedstraw (Galium buxifolium) and Santa Cruz Island Dudleya (Dudleya nesiotica), has been so successful, they have been delisted.…
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How does one breath life into an extinct tree only known from fossils? There are a lot of answers to this question, but my guest today decided to go digital. Tim Stonesifer is the Assistant Director for Media Technology at Colby College and the person responsible for creating the 3D reconstruction of Sanfordiacaulis densifolia that was discovered b…
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Fossil hunting is like playing the lottery, your odds of hitting big are infinitesimal, but it can happen. Such was the case for Dr. Bob Gastaldo and colleagues when they unearthed the remains of Sanfordiacaulis densifolia, an extinct tree from the Carboniferous Period unlike anything we have ever seen. Join me and Dr. Gastaldo as we take a deep di…
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Litter trapping plants don't worry about soil, they make their own! Because so many species in the tropics grow either epiphytically or in nutrient poor soil, some of them have turned to alternative solutions. Their anatomy is such that they collect everything from dead leaves to bird droppings. A diverse community of soil microbes and invertebrate…
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For Dr. Rob Raguso, the phrase "stop and smell the roses" takes on a whole new meaning. Dr. Raguso studies the intricate world of floral chemistry. You are undoubtedly familiar with some of the wonderful odors flowers produce but such tantalizing smells are only the beginning. The world of floral chemistry is quite remarkable and the function of th…
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Plant pigments certainly catch the eyes of many organisms, but they serve many important functions beyond simple attraction. For instance, plant pigments can play a huge role in managing stressors like heat, sunlight, and more. Join me and Dr. Niky Hughes as we explore one of the most abundant and important types of plant pigments - anthocyanins - …
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Plant stress starts at the molecular level but can influence entire ecosystems. That is why questions about drought, heat, and climate change fuel Dr. Lou Santiago's research. Join us as we explore the ins and outs of studying plant stress in different ecosystems. This episode was produced in part by Charis, EJ, Laura, Sung, NOK, Stephen, Heidi, Kr…
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Plants obviously need water to survive, but how do they interact with water in a more physical sense? How plants like trees capture and distribute precipitation can have massive consequences for ecosystem and societal processes. From soil formation to stormwater management, understanding wet plants is very important. Join me and Dr. John Van Stan a…
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What wetland scene would be complete without a few cattails? The genus Typha is synonymous with wetlands yet as you will hear in this episode, we know so little about them. Joining us is Dr. Pam Geddes from Northeastern Illinois University to talk to us about her work on cattail invasion ecology. What started as a question about ecosystem function …
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We take seeds for granted, yet still have much to learn about how they work. What factors play in to seed dormancy? How long can some seeds remain dormant? What cues are required to break dormancy? All these questions and more drive Dr. Grace Fleming's research. Join us as we explore how molecular processes involving mRNA play a role in the mysteri…
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My guest today is Melissa Díaz-Morales from the Jardín Botánico Lankester in Costa Rica and her work focuses on orchid pollination. Orchids are known for their deceitful pollination syndromes and Melissa has spent the last few years working on a lady slipper orchid known as Phragmipedium longifolium. This flowers of this beautiful orchid appear to …
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We revisit a conversation with PhD student Melissa Díaz-Morales and Director of the Lankester Botanical Gardens, Dr. Adam Karremans to look at how flies have managed to influence the evolution of the largest subtribe of orchids in the world - the pleurothallids. This remarkable group of orchids is home to over 5,000 unique species and presents some…
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