Ep. 109 - Phylogenetics and the Largest Flower in the World

Joining us today from Harvard University is Dr. Charles Davis. His lab focuses on elucidating the phylogenetic relationships among the plants of the world. One of his most exciting projects revolves around a genus of plants known as Rafflesia, which is famous the world over for producing the largest single flower on this planet. Join us for a wonderfully enlightening conversation about taxonomy. This episode was produced in part by Mark, Allen, Desiree, Sienna & Garth, Laura, Margie, Troy, Sara, Jennifer, Christopher, Manuel, Daniel, John, Rosanna, and Mary Jane. 

Click here to learn more about Dr. Davis's work

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Ep. 108 - Being a Botanist in Laos

Our guest today is Bryony Smart who is a botanist at the Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden in Laos. This is the first botanical garden in the country and because of that, Bryony and her colleagues are working diligently on categorizing and preserving the flora of this amazing country. Their work extends far beyond botany as well. Pha Tad Key Botanical Garden exists as a conduit between the local communities and the myriad plant species they rely on for survival. Join us for a fascinating discussion of what it's like to be a botanist in this position. This episode was produced in part by Mark, Allen, Desiree, Sienna & Garth, Laura, Margie, Troy, Sara, Jennifer, Christopher, Manuel, Daniel, John, Rosanna, and Mary Jane.  

Learn more about the Pha Tad Key Botanical Garden

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Ep. 107 - Chestnut Blight: Causes and Solutions

This week we take a deep dive into the world of chestnut blight. This fungal pathogen was introduced to North America in the early 1900's and has all but eliminated one of the dominant tree species of eastern US forests. Our guest today is Kristin Wickert, a PhD student at West Virginia University specializing in plant fungal pathogens. Join us as we discuss the in's and out's of this conservation issue. This episode was produced in part by Mark, Allen, Desiree, Sienna & Garth, Laura, Margie, Troy, Bryan, Sara, Jennifer, Christopher, Manuel, Daniel, John, Rosanna, and Mary Jane.

Shoot Kristen an email at klw5421@gmail.com

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Ep. 106 - Are Vines Parasites?

Vines are iconic the world around. Some are maligned whereas others are celebrated. Regardless of these viewpoints, their ecological importance cannot be understated. Joining us today to talk about the relationships between vines and trees is Tara Stewart, a PhD student at the University of Illinois. Tara and her colleague have taken a step back to ask some bigger theoretical questions about the relationships that vines have with trees. Join us for a fascinating discussion about this botanical lifestyle. This episode was produced in part by Mark, Allen, Desiree, Sienna & Garth, Laura, Margie, Troy, Bryan, Sara, Jennifer, Christopher, Manuel, Daniel, John, Rosanna, and Mary Jane.

Click here to learn more about Tara's work

Click here to read the paper

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Ep. 105 - Talking Soil With Author Paul Bogard

The soils beneath our feet comprise a complex ecosystem in and of themselves. Soils support literally every major ecosystem on this planet. Despite all of this, they are largely ignored. Even worse, we continually degrade them without a care in the world. Their degradation is what inspired author Paul Bogard (The End of Night) to write his latest contribution to the world of science communication. Join us for a fascinating discussion about his new book The Ground Beneath Us. Mark, Allen, Desiree, Sienna & Garth, Laura, Margie, Troy, Bryan, Sara, Jennifer, Christopher, Manuel, Daniel, John, Rosanna, and Mary Jane.

Learn more about Paul

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Ep. 104 - Rock gardens, alpines, and aquatics, oh my!

I don't think I have to say that my favorite people are plant people. Joining us today is Tom Freeth, the man in charge of the rock, alpine, and aquatic gardens at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. Tom has devoted his life to growing and understanding plants and has had an amazing journey to get to where he is at today. He passion and interests come through in every word. It was a real pleasure talking with Tom and I know you are going to enjoy this conversation. This episode was produced in part by Mark, Allen, Desiree, Sienna & Garth, Laura, Margie, Troy, Bryan, Sara, Jennifer, Christopher, Manuel, Daniel, John, Rosanna, and Mary Jane.

Follow Tom on Twitter - @tfreeth

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Ep. 103 - The Trout Lily Project

Calling all citizen scientists! The Trout Lilt Project needs your help! Joining us today is Dr. Emily Austen, a post doc at the University of Ottawa. You may remember Dr. Austen from episode 52 where we discussed her work on the evolution of flowering plants. Shes back today to give us updates on the results of 2016's citizen science reporting as well as to call for more citizen scientists to help with the project. This episode was produced in part by Mark, Allen, Desiree, Sienna & Garth, Laura, Margie, Troy, Bryan, Sara, Jennifer, Christopher, Manuel, Daniel, John, Rosanna, and Mary Jane.

Click here to get involved!

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Ep. 102 - Building a Flora of Syria

Did you know that there are many regions around the world that do not have a descriptive flora? Syria is one such place and my guest today is working very hard on ameliorating that. With her focus on geophytes, Angham Daiyoub is scouring the mountainous regions of western Syria to characterize the seasonal plant diversity. There are many challenges associated with this task so join us for a fascinating discussion of what its like to be a botanist in Syria. This episode was produced in part by Mark, Allen, Desiree, Sienna & Garth, Laura, Margie, Troy, Bryan, Sara, Jennifer, Christopher, Manuel, Daniel, John, Rosanna, and Mary Jane.

Make sure to follow Angham on Instagram

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Ep. 101 - Life at an Ornamental Plant Germplasm Center

Today we get a sneak peak of what its like to work at a germplasm lab. Joining us is Andy Schenkel, a research assistant at The Ohio State University Ornamental Plant Germplasm Center. From collecting and storing seeds to conservation of unique cultivars, Andy has his colleagues have their work cut out for them. Join us for an interesting conversation about life in a germplasm lab. This episode was produced in part by Mark, Allen, Maz, Beccah, Desiree, Sienna & Garth, Laura, Margie, Troy, Bryan, Sara, Jennifer, Christopher, Manuel, Daniel, John, Rosanna, and Mary Jane.

Click here to learn more about the Ornamental Plant Germplasm Center

Follow Andy on Twitter - @AndySchenkel

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Ep. 100 - A Tour of My Plant Collection

Wow, 100 episodes! I can't thank you enough. Your support over the last few years really means the world to me. In celebration of this milestone I thought we would do something a little different. Today we are taking a tour of my plant collection. I love being surrounding by interesting plant species. As such, I have compiled quite a living collection of interesting species. Since enjoying plants is best done visually, I teamed up with filmmaker/producer Grant Czadzeck (www.grantczadzeck.com) to bring you a video accompaniment for this episode. This episode was produced in part by Mark, Allen, Maz, Beccah, Desiree, Sienna & Garth, Laura, Margie, Troy, Bryan, Sara, Jennifer, Christopher, Manuel, Daniel, and Mary Jane.

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Video by Grant Czadzeck

Ep. 99 - Living Collections: Exploring Ex Situ Conservation at Kew Gardens

This week we are joined by Kew Horticulturist Andrew Luke for a conversation about the importance of living plant collections. Ex situ conservation is part of what is required for successful plant conservation. This is especially true in today's fragmented landscapes. Join us for a fascinating discussion revolving around plant propagation efforts. This episode was produced in part by Mark, Allen, Maz, Beccah, Desiree, Sienna & Garth, Laura, Margie, Troy, Bryan, Sara, Jennifer, Christopher, Manuel, Daniel, and Mary Jane.

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Ep. 98 - Our Changing Planet, a Paleobotanical Perspective

I have always loved fossils, which is why I am so excited about my guest this week. Joining us from the University of Washington is Dr. Caroline Strömberg. Dr. Strömberg's research involves using the fossilized remains of plants to understand how flowering plants have evolved since the Cretaceous and how changes in climate influence changes in environments. One of the best ways to try to understand the future is to examine evidence from the past. Join us for a fascinating dive into the world of a paleobotanist. This episode was produced in part by Mark, Allen, Maz, Beccah, Desiree, Sienna & Garth, Laura, Margie, Troy, Bryan, Sara, Jennifer, Christopher, Manuel, and Mary Jane. 

Click here to learn more about Dr. Strömberg's work

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Ep. 97 - Bulbs, Bulbs, Bulbs!

On this episode we are taking a dive into the world of bulbs. In order to find out more about the various plants that fall under this category, I reached out to Kit Strange from the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. Kit specializes in growing bulbs and alpine plants and her knowledge on the subject is vast. This is a fascinating discussion about a group of plants that many probably take for granted. This episode was produced in part by Mark, Allen, Maz, Beccah, Desiree, Sienna & Garth, Laura, Margie, Troy, Bryan, Sara, Jennifer, Christopher, and Manuel.

Follow Kit on Twitter - @strangekit

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Ep. 96 - Guam's Changing Forests

Guam is a sort of poster child for invasive species. Following the accidental introduction of the brown tree snake, this tiny Pacific Island lost nearly all of its bird populations. With them went all of the ecosystem services they performed. Joining us today is Dr. Haldre Rogers of Iowa State University to talk about some of the ramifications of this ecological upheaval. As you will soon find out, the loss of birds is felt throughout the entire forest ecosystem. This episode was produced in part by Mark, Allen, Maz, Beccah, Desiree, Sienna & Garth, Laura, Margie, Troy, Bryan, Sara, Jennifer, Christopher, and Manuel.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Rogers' work

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Ep. 95 - Epiphyte Restoration

Protecting and restoring biodiversity to tropical forests is paramount to maintaining the ecological integrity of these areas. My guest today is Estefania Fernandez and she is working in a brand new field of restoration ecology that focuses on epiphyte communities. Join us for a fascinating discussion on restoring health to tropical forests. This episode was produced in part by Mark, Allen, Maz, Beccah, Desiree, Sienna & Garth, Laura, Margie, Troy, Bryan, Sara, Jennifer, Christopher, and Manuel.

Contact Estefania - epi.stef@gmail.com

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Ep. 94 - Winter Botanizing

This week we head out into the prairie to do some winter botanizing. We meet a handful of cool plants along the way. This episode was produced in part by Mark, Allen, Maz, Beccah, Desiree, Sienna & Garth, Laura, Margie, Troy, Bryan, Sara, Jennifer, Christopher, and Manuel. 

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Ep. 93 - Botanizing Ichetucknee Springs

This week we are doing something a little different. We're trading in our hiking boots for a kayak and a paddle. We're going for a paddle on the Ichetucknee River. The crystal clear water was chock full of botanical treasures of all kinds. We were joined by aquatic botanist Dr. Colette Jacono and botanist Dr. Mark Whitten among others. This was a fun trip and I learned a lot. We were in a large group so I apologize in advance for the background noise. This episode was produced by Mark, Allen, Maz, Beccah, Desiree, Sienna & Garth, Laura, Margie, Troy, Bryan, Sara, Jennifer, and Christopher.

Support this podcast - www.patreon.com/indefenseofplants

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Ep. 92 - The Flora of Middle-Earth

This week's interview is one of the most unique that I have had to date. Joining us this week is Dr. Walter Judd, distinguished professor, emeritus from the University of Florida. Dr. Judd specialized in plant systematics, specifically the taxonomy of members of Ericaceae and Melastomataceae. More recently, however, Dr. Judd has been working on the Flora of Middle Earth. Join us for a fascinating discussion about botany, biodiversity, and the importance of imagination in appreciating the natural world. This episode was produced in part by Mark, Allen, Maz, Beccah, Desiree, Sienna, Laura, Margie, Troy, Bryan, Sara, Jennifer, and Christopher.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Judd

Click here to reserve a copy of the Flora of Middle-Earth

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Ep. 91 - Botanizing a Long Leaf Pine Savanna

This week we take an enlightening hike through a long leaf pine savanna. Our guide is botanist extraordinaire, Dr. Mark Whitten of the Florida Museum of Natural History. I learned a lot on this hike through one of North America's most biodiverse habitat types. This episode was produced in part by Mark, Allen, Maz, Beccah, Desiree, Sienna, Laura, Margie, Troy, and Bryan.

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Ep. 90 - Reflections on Science

This week we are joined by Steven Fleck of The Field Guides Podcast for a fun delve into the life and thoughts of a couple of grad students. We touch on life as a grad student, how reading scientific research can help maintain a critical lens on the world, and what inspired Steve and Bill to create their podcast. This episode was produced in part by Mark, Allen, Maz, Beccah, Desiree, Sienna, Laura, Margie, Troy, and Bryan.

www.thefieldguidespodcast.com

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www.twitter.com/FieldGuidesPod