Ep. 131 - Lycopsids: What An Ancient Lineage Can Teach Us About Extinction

If you're into growing plants and looking at fossils, then this is the interview for you! Joining us today is Jeff Benca, a grad student at UC Berkely who discovered a love for growing clubmosses and their relatives. It was this love that convinced him that we can learn a lot about the past by studying the present. Since then he has gained a deep understanding of not only the history of this amazing lineage but also what it can teach us about mass extinction events. This episode was produced in part by Allan, Irene, Clifton, Sebastian, Holly, Katherina, Shane, Amy, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Jennifer, Sarah, Christopher, Sienna & Garth, Troy, Margie, Laura, and Mark.

Click here to learn more about Jeff's work.

Follow Jeff on Twitter - @jeffbenca

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Ep. 130 - A Passion For Passion Flowers

This episode is all about the passion flower family - Passifloraceae. Joining us from her post at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew is the one and only Rebecca Hilgenhof. You may remember her from Episode 86. Rebecca is extremely passionate about this group and I can't think of a better person to dish out an eloquent introduction to these wonderful plants. This episode was produced in part by Allan, Irene, Clifton, Sebastian, Holly, Katherina, Shane, Amy, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Jennifer, Sarah, Christopher, Sienna & Garth, Troy, Margie, Laura, and Mark.

Click here to listen to Rebecca's last interview

Follow her on Twitter - @passifloratree

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Ep. 129 - Garden Inspiration With Peter Donegan of The SodShow

I can't think of a gardener with a better sense of humor than Peter Donegan. Peter not only owns and operates an award-winning landscape design company, he is also the host of the wonderful horticulture podcast The SodShow. Join us as we wax poetic about our mutual love for growing plants and our journey through the world of podcasting. This episode was produced in part by Allan, Clifton, Sebastian, Holly, Katherina, Shane, Amy, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Jennifer, Sarah, Christopher, Sienna & Garth, Troy, Margie, Laura, and Mark.

Click here to listen to The SodShow

Click here to find out more about Donegan Landscaping

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Ep. 128 - Native Plant Appreciation

Today we are joined by John Magee, landscape designer and co-host of The Native Plant Podcast. John has always been a fan of gardening with natives and has some wonderful insights about the culture of landscaping. Join us for a fun discussion centered around celebrating native flora. This episode was produced in part by Allan, Clifton, Sebastian, Holly, Katherina, Shane, Amy, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Jennifer, Sarah, Christopher, Sienna & Garth, Troy, Margie, Laura, and Mark. 

Click here to learn more about John's landscape work

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Ep. 127 - What Is Going On With Seed Dispersal In Hawai'i?

The title says it all. My guest today is Amy Hruska, a PhD student at the University of Hawai'i. Her research bridges the gaps between invasive species, extinction, and seed dispersal in Hawaiian forests. Join us for an enlightening discussion about where a botanist fits in to this system. This episode was produced in part by Allan, Clifton, Holly, Katherina, Shane, Amy, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Jennifer, Sarah, Christopher, Sienna & Garth, Troy, Margie, Laura, and Mark. 

Click here to learn more about Amy's work

Follow Amy on Twitter - @AmyHruska

Check out Amy's blog

Learn more about the Hawai'i VINE Project

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Ep. 126 - For The Love Of Growing Plants

I think growing plants is one of the most important skills humanity has ever stumbled across. People like Dr. Chad Husby are a wonderful example of just how important it is. Whether its teaching the public, saving a species, or learning how to grow plants in space, botanical horticulture is vital. Join us for a fun discussion about what its like to be a professional plant grower at Fairchild Botanical Garden. This episode was produced in part by Allan, Clifton, Holly, Katherina, Shane, Amy, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Jennifer, Sarah, Christopher, Sienna & Garth, Troy, Margie, Laura, and Mark. 

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

Follow Dr. Husby on Twitter - @ChadHusby

Click here to learn more about Fairchild Botanical Garden

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Ep. 125 - A Conversation With The Plant Messiah

Carlos Magdalena has been called "The Plant Messiah" for good reason. His propagation work at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew has seen species like Nymphaea thermarum (the world's smallest water lily) and the Café Marron (Ramosmania rodriguesii) back from the brink of extinction. Join me for a discussion with this plant whisperer. This episode was produced in part by Allan, Clifton, Holly, Katherina, Shane, Amy, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Jennifer, Sarah, Christopher, Sienna & Garth, Troy, Margie, Laura, and Mark. 

Click here to learn more about Carlos' work

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Ep. 124 - Darwin's Backyard

Few may realize just how important plants were to the great Charles Darwin. Luckily, Dr. James Costa is bringing Darwin's botanical interests to the forefront with his latest book, "Darwin's Backyard: How Small Experiments Led to a Big Theory." As if this book wasn't exciting enough, each chapter concludes with DIY instructions on how you and your friends and family can replicate some of Darwin's experiments in your own backyard. This is one conversation you don't want to miss! This episode was produced in part by Allan, Clifton, Katherina, Shane, Amy, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Jennifer, Sarah, Christopher, Sienna & Garth, Troy, Margie, Laura, and Mark. 

Click here to order your own copy of Darwin's Backyard

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

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Ep. 123 - Legumes and Their Nitrogen-Fixing Partners

Many of us are aware that planting legumes helps enrich soils but how do they do this? By partnering with bacteria, of course! My guest today studies how this mutualistic relationship evolved and how it is maintained throughout various lineages. Dr. Katy Heath is a plant person at heart and she brings that passion with her to her lab as she tries to understand these evolutionary processes. Join us for a fascinating discussion about this system. This episode was produced in part by Allan, Clifton, Katherina, Shane, Amy, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, Christopher, Sienna and Garth, Margie, Laura, and Mark.

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

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Ep. 122 - Understanding Ferns and Lycophytes

Ferns and lycophytes have been around for a long time. Still, they often get overshadowed by angiosperms but not in the Sessa lab! Our guest today is Dr. Emily Sessa, an assistant professor at the University of Florida. Her lab focuses on the interrelationships of these two great lineages and even offers the listener a unique opportunity to collaborate. This episode was produced in part by Allan, Katherina, Shane, Amy, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, Christopher, Sienna and Garth, Margie, Laura, and Mark.

Click here to learn more about the Sessa Lab

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Ep. 121 - Mosquitoes: The Unlikely Pollinators

Mosquitoes are maligned the world over and often for very good reason. However, there are a plethora of different species of mosquito on this planet and many of them do not bite humans or spread disease. In fact, some of them are important pollinators. In this episode we take a closer look at an orchid that relies on mosquitoes for pollination. The one leaved rein orchid (Platanthera obtusata) grows in close association with mosquitoes and our guests, postdoc Chloé Lahondère and grad student Ryo Okubo are working hard to understand how this system works. Their research not only helps us understand these overlooked pollinators but also provides deeper insights into how mosquitoes find their food sources. This is a great example of the kind of collaborative science I love!

Click here to learn more about the orchid

Click here to learn more about their work

Click here to learn more about the neural behavior of mosquitoes

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Ep. 120 - Understanding Rapid 'Ohi'a Death

The 'Ohi'a (Metrosideros polymorpha) is the dominant tree on the Hawai'ian Archipelago and it is under attack by two different species of invasive fungi. Trying to understand and combat the spread of these pathogens is one of the main focuses of our guest, Dr. James B. Friday. Together with multiple different stakeholders, they are trying to understand how these fungi got to the island and what can be done to protect Hawai'i's most famous tree. Allan, Shane, Amy, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, Christopher, Sienna and Garth, Margie, Laura, and Mark.

Click here to learn more about Rapid 'Ohi'a Death

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Ep. 119 - Plant Architecture

Our guest today is Dr. Karl Niklas. His work utilizes mathematics to explain plant growth and form in relation to four basic physical constraints: 1) Plants have to capture sunlight and avoid shading their own leaves, 2) Plants have to support themselves structurally, 3) Plants have to conduct water to their various tissues, and 4) Plants must be able to reproduce effectively. Using these basic constraints, Dr. Niklas builds mathematical simulations of plant evolution. Join us for a fascinating dive into the biophysical world of plant evolution. This episode was produced in part by Allan, Shane, Amy, Caitlin, Rosanna, Daniel, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, Christopher, Sienna and Garth, Margie, Laura, and Mark.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Niklas' work

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Ep. 118 - Reflections On Summer Botanizing

I am back in Illinois and I met up with my good friend Steve (co-host of The Field Guides Podcast) to wax poetic about summer botanizing. Steve has spent most of his summer exploring Illinois while I have been busying myself in the southern Appalachian Mountains. We bring a lot of interesting species to the table in this episode, each with its own memorable experience. This episode was produced in part by Allan, Amy, Caitlin, Rosanna, Daniel, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, Christopher, Sienna and Garth, Margie, Laura, and Mark.

Click here to check out The Field Guides Podcast

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Ep. 117 - Alfred Russel Wallace and Evolution

Today we are continuing our conversation with Dr. James Costa. This week, we take a deeper look at the life of Alfred Russel Wallace, a man who independently began developing a theory of evolution. You will find out why we hardly remember Wallace for his contributions to this fascinating world of science and inquiry. This is a different kind of discussion than we normally have here at In Defense of Plants but I think it is important to humanize the sciences every now and then. This episode was produced in part by Allan, Amy, Caitlin, Rosanna, Daniel, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, Christopher, Sienna and Garth, Margie, Laura, and Mark.

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

Click here to pick up a copy of Dr. Costa's books

Click here to learn more about Highlands Biological Station

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Ep. 116 - Social Caterpillars, Their Host Trees, and the Origins of Evolutionary Science Pt. 1

For Dr. James Costa, a love of biology started early. It eventually evolved into a career studying social insects and their interactions with plants. It also evolved into a passion for the history of science, specifically that of evolutionary theory. Dr. Costa wears many hats and you will hear about some of them in part one of this two part episode! This episode was produced in part by Allan, Amy, Caitlin, Rosanna, Daniel, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, Christopher, Sienna and Garth, Margie, Laura, and Mark.

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

Click here to pick up a copy of Dr. Costa's books

Click here to learn more about Highlands Biological Station

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Ep. 115 - On Old Growth Forests and Disturbance

Today we are talking about one of my favorite subjects - old growth forests. Joining us is Dr. Beverly Collins, an associate professor at Western Carolina University. Her work looks at the dynamics of old growth forests, especially as it relates to disturbances. She is especially curious about the role disturbance plays in the survival of understory herbs. This episode was produced in part by  Mark, Allen, Desiree, Sienna & Garth, Laura, Margie, Troy, Sara, Jennifer, Christopher, Manuel, Daniel, John, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Amy, and Caitlin. 

Click here to learn more about Dr. Collins' work

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Ep. 114 - A Tour of the Tilden Park Botanical Garden or The Flora of California Condensed

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT PHOTOS FROM THIS TOUR

In this episode, In Defense of Plants is going back in time a bit to my visit to San Francisco. What you are about to hear is a tour of Tilden Park's wonderful botanical garden whose purpose is the collection, growth, display, and preservation of the native plants of California. This was easily one of the most impressive living collections I have ever seen. The tour was led by none other than Bart O'Brien, who has been placed in charge of this amazing place. If you head on over to www.indefenseofplants.com/podcast you can find the photo album that accompanies this trip. This episode was produced in part by  Mark, Allen, Desiree, Sienna & Garth, Laura, Margie, Troy, Sara, Jennifer, Christopher, Manuel, Daniel, John, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Amy, and Caitlin. 

Click here to learn more about the Tilden Park Botanical Garden

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Ep. 113 - Restoring Ecosystems Across the Globe

Restoration ecology is a topic near and dear to my heart. The idea of nursing the land back to health is something we all must rally behind. Plants are at the center of this practice and our guest today has devoted his career to understanding both plant diversity and how to restore their populations following human disturbance. Joining us from western Australia is Dr. Kingsley Dixon. Restoration is quite challenging in this harsh landscape but the lessons Dr. Dixon has learned over the years is being used to improve restoration projects around the globe. This is one episode you do not want to miss! This episode was produced in part by Mark, Allen, Desiree, Sienna & Garth, Laura, Margie, Troy, Sara, Jennifer, Christopher, Manuel, Daniel, John, Rosanna, Mary Jane, and Caitlin. 

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

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Ep. 112 - The Wild World of Moss Sex

Plants have interesting sex lives. In this episode we take a closer look at reproduction in the mosses, in particular, a species known as fire moss. Joining us to talk about a particularly interesting version of this is Leslie Kollar, a PhD student at the University of Florida. Her work is fascinating and this is one episode you don't want to miss! 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. 

Follow Leslie on Twitter - @Kollar_Genetics

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