My guest today is Shelley Sianta, a PhD student at UC Santa Cruz, and she studies evolution in a group of plants that have specialized on serpentine soils. These may sound like sketchy conditions and indeed they are. Serpentine soils are high in toxic metals and low in precious nutrients. As such, the plants that live there have evolved a variety of coping mechanisms. Its these coping mechanisms that interest Shelley Sianta as they may be at the root of why we see such high rates of endemism on these toxic soils. Listen in for a fascinating exploration of plant evolution. This episode was produced in part by Botanical Tours, Moonwort Studios, Lisa, Liba, Lucas, Mohsin Kazmi Takes Pictures, doeg, Daniel, Clifton, Stephanie, Rachelle, Benjamin, Eli, Rachael, Anthony, Plant By Design, Philip, Lisa, Brent, Ron, Tim, Homestead Brooklyn, Brodie, Kevin, Sophia, Brian, Mark, Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Mountain Misery Farms, Caitlin, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.
I have always thought of pollination as rather straight forward - a pollinator visits a plant, picks up pollen, and deposits that pollen on its next visit. As it turns out, it's not that simple. To find out more about the complexities of pollination, I called up Dr. Randy Mitchell from the University of Akron in Ohio. His research is going to blow your mind. What to us seems like the perfect mutualism turns out to be more like a dark alley transaction in which each party is trying to get as much from the other without giving too much in return. This episode was produced in part by Allan Pisula of Kinosha, Wisconsin.
Music by Moneycat