Ep. 188 - On the Origin of Flowering Plants

Despite their dominance on the landscape today, figuring out exactly when flowering plants got their start has been a challenge facing paleobotanists since Darwin's time. This so-called "abominable mystery" is nonetheless fascinating to study and that is exactly what our guest today focuses on. Joining us is Dr. Nan Crystal Arens from Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Her work on angiosperms of the early Cretaceous has given us insights into the evolutionary pressures that may have led to the evolution of flowering plants as well as how these early angiosperms made their living in a landscape already vegetated by a preponderance of gymnosperms. If you care at all about the history of plants on this planet, this is one episode you do not want to miss! This episode was produced in part by Gwen, Carly, Stephen, Botanical Tours, Moonwort Studios, Lisa, Liba, Lucas, Mohsin Kazmi Takes Pictures, doeg, Daniel, Clifton, Stephanie, Rachelle, Benjamin, Eli, Rachael, Anthony, Plant By Design, Philip, Brent, Ron, Tim, Homestead Brooklyn, Brodie, Kevin, Sophia, Brian, Mark, Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Mountain Misery Farms, Caitlin, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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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. 

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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.

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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

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