Ants are everywhere yet unless they find their way into our homes, we don't give them much thought. This episode is all about a group of ants that are crucial to the health of myriad plants around the globe. I am, of course, talking about the seed-dispersing ants. Joining us for this discussion is Dr. Robert Warren, a professor at SUNY Buffalo State, who studies the ecology of a handful of these wonderful ants and the plants they interact with. This episode was produced in part by Benjammin, Eli, Rachael, Stephanie, Philip, Henriette, Letícia, Ron, Tim, Carl, Lisa, Anthony, Susanna, Homestead Brooklyn, Brodie, Kevin, Katherina, Sophia, Lisa, Brent, Plant by Design, Mark, Rens, Mountain Misery Farms, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Clifton, Shane, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.
Plants, being sessile organisms, must go to great lengths to protect themselves from herbivores. Sometimes this takes the form of spines or thorns, sometimes its nasty chemicals, and sometimes it means recruiting ants as bodyguards. Peter Marting is my guest today and he studies how one group of tropical trees in the genus Cecropia recruits and houses ants and how the interaction between these two different organisms influences the collective personality of the ant colonies. This episode was produced in part by Tim, Lisa, Susanna, Homestead Brooklyn, Daniella, Brodie, Kevin, Katherina, Sami & Sven, Sophia, Plant by Design, Mark, Rens, Mountain Misery Farms, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Clifton, Shane, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, Sienna & Garth, Troy, and Margie.
Worldwide, we humans drink roughly 2.25 billion cups of coffee per day. Our consumption of coffee comes at a great cost to the environment. Around 11 million hectares of land have been turned into coffee plantations, much of which consists of large scale, chemically laden, industrial monocultures. Because of its massive ecological impact, people like Dr. Ivette Perfecto from the University of Michigan have dedicated their research careers to helping make coffee farming more ecologically friendly. It all starts with small scale farmers in Latin America. By introducing ecological principals back into the farming practices of this region, Dr. Perfecto and her collaborators are helping to make coffee farming more sustainable, and at the same time, helping to educate local farmers about the importance of nature and all of its players. Join me for a fascinating conversation about coffee ecology. This episode was produced in part by Alan from Wisconsin.
Music by Moneycat