Ep. 211 - The Botanical Treasures of Steppes

For Mike Bone, propagating and growing plants is not just a hobby or a job, it's a way of life. Mike is the curator of the steppe collections at the Denver Botanic Gardens and his love affair with these plants rings true in everything he does. Steppes are important ecosystems, both ecological and culturally and yet they are all too often overlooked. As you will hear, Mike's work is about more than just putting pretty plants on display. It is also about conservation and education. Mike's passion for the plants of steppe habitats is intoxicating and hopefully inspires others to grow plants as well. Join us for a celebration of all things steppe veg! This episode was produced in part by Cat, Catherine, Brandon, Hall, Vegreville Creek and Wetlands Fund, Kevin, Oliver, John, Johansson, Christina, Jared, Hannah, Katy Pye, Brandon, Gwen, Carly, Stephen, Botanical Tours, Moonwort Studios, Lisa, Liba, Lucas, Mohsin Kazmi Takes Pictures, doeg, 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, Caitlin, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 207 - Into the Rooting Zone: Why Soil Carbon Matters

Grab your shovels because today we are heading underground to talk about soils. Joining us on this adventure is my friend and labmate Ron Salemme. Ron studies soil carbon cycling in the context of invasive plants and prescribed fire. In doing so, he works at the interface between plants and the soil environment where we are only just beginning to understand some of the most important processes on our planet. From dying microbes to plant exudates, Ron's work is helping us form a more complete picture of the role soil plays in storing carbon. This episode was produced in part by Brandon, Hall, Vegreville Creek and Wetlands Fund, Kevin, Oliver, John, Johansson, Christina, Jared, Hannah, Katy Pye, Brandon, Gwen, Carly, Stephen, Botanical Tours, Moonwort Studios, Lisa, Liba, Lucas, Mohsin Kazmi Takes Pictures, doeg, 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, Caitlin, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 204 - Asteraceae Addiction

The Aster family has nearly conquered the planet. It is one of the most diverse plant lineages on Earth and yet so many of us just pass them by without much of a thought. At least part of the reason may be the fact that composites can be difficult to identify. However, none of this has stopped my guest Joey Santore from taking a deep dive into the world of asters. What started as mostly curiosity with a hint of intimidation has since blossomed into a full on addiction with trying to get his head wrapped around the story of these plants. Along the way he is doing everything he can to share his passion with anyone who will listen in hopes that he can spark a love affair with botany in someone else's mind. Join us as we geek out about Asteraceae. Be warned, there is some strong language in this episode. This episode was produced in part by Vegreville Creek and Wetlands Fund, Kevin, Oliver, John, Johansson, Christina, Jared, Hannah, Katy Pye, Brandon, Gwen, Carly, Stephen, Botanical Tours, Moonwort Studios, Lisa, Liba, Lucas, Mohsin Kazmi Takes Pictures, doeg, 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, Caitlin, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 203 - Oaks: Insights into Evolution & Ecology

Oaks are some of the most charismatic trees on the planet. They are major players in the biosphere when it comes to their ecological impact. They also have a lot to teach us from a scientific perspective. Joining us in this episode is plant physiological and evolutionary ecologist Dr. Jeannine Cavender-Bares. Her career in science has focused heavily on oaks both from an ecological and evolutionary perspective. From the shape of their leaves to their role in carbon sequestration, Dr. Cavender-Bares is fascinated by how these trees evolved to become some of the dominant trees in the Americas. Join us as we gain some incredible insights from oaks. This episode was produced in part by Kevin, Oliver, John, Johansson, Christina, Jared, Hannah, Katy Pye, Brandon, Gwen, Carly, Stephen, Botanical Tours, Moonwort Studios, Lisa, Liba, Lucas, Mohsin Kazmi Takes Pictures, doeg, 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, Caitlin, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 201 - Plants of the Caribbean

When we think about the Caribbean, our minds often drift to sandy beaches, clear water, and corals. But what about plants? The Caribbean is home to an amazing diversity of plant life and my guest today is working hard to understand and protect them. Joining us is Sara Bárrios, Kew's Islands Conservation Partnership Co-ordinator. Join us as we learn what Sara and her colleagues are doing for the plants of this biodiversity hotspot. This episode was produced in part by Kevin, Oliver, John, Johansson, Christina, Jared, Hannah, Katy Pye, Brandon, 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, Caitlin, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 200 - Books, Books, and More Books!

This week In Defense of Plants is celebrating its 200th episode with a bunch of book recommendations. I get a lot of emails from listeners each week and unfortunately I simply do not have the time to respond to all of them. One of the most popular questions I get revolves around which books I recommend. And because In Defense of Plants wouldn't be where it is today without the wonderful support of listeners like you, I thought it would be great to dedicate the 200th episode to a list of books worthy of your time. Joining us to discuss our reading adventures is the wonderful Sara Johnson, who has brought some great recommendations to the table. So join us as we talk about some of our favorite botanical/natural history themed reads.

Books in this episode:

1. Alice in the Land of Plants: Biology of Plants and Their Importance for Planet Earth - Yiannis Manetas

2. Readers Digest North American Wildlife

3. Nature's Palette: The Science of Plant Color - David Lee

4. A Sand County Almanac - Aldo Leopold

5. A Natural History of Conifers - Aljos Farjon

6. The Orchid Thief - Susan Orlean

7. The Timber Press Guide to Succulent Plants of the World by Fred Dortort

8. Earthly Pleasures - Roger B. Swain

9. The Flowering of Gondwana - Mary E. White, Jim Frazier

10. Gods of the Morning - John Lister-Kaye

11. Flora: Inside the Secret World of Plants by Helen Fewster, Megan Douglass, Karyn Gerhard, Jamie Ambrose, Ross Bayton, Matt Candeias, Sarah Jose, Andrew Mikolajski, Esther Ripley, David Summers

This episode was produced in part by Oliver, John, Johansson, Christina, Jared, Hannah, Katy Pye, Brandon, 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, Caitlin, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 199 - Understanding Rainforests Through Evolution

Today we take a look at how understanding the evolution of various plant families provides us with insights into the history and diversity of some of the world's great rainforests. Joining us to discuss his work on palms and soursops is Dr. Thomas Couvreur. Throughout this episode we get a look at how fundamental scientific questions can unlock a wealth of knowledge about the history of our planet. We also gain an appreciation for the fact that you never know where important data are going to come from. This episode was produced in part by Oliver, John, Johansson, Christina, Jared, Hannah, Katy Pye, Brandon, 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, Caitlin, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 197 - Below the Surface of Aquascaping

The world of aquatic plants is incredibly diverse, yet our ties to land make it difficult to fully appreciate these organisms. Their glory and splendor is best observed in their underwater realm. This is why aquascaping is such an incredible hobby. Planted aquariums provide you with a unique view of the underwater world without ever having to get your feet wet. Whether you simply like to look at planted aquariums or get your hands wet in designing and constructing your own, there is no end to the joy you can get from bring aquatic plants into your home. My guest today was bitten by the aquarium bug and hasn't looked back since. Marvin Lo is an aquascaper extraordinaire who enjoys combining botany and artistry into amazing planted aquaria. Join us for a deep dive into the world of aquascaping and learn about some of the amazing plants that make this hobby what it is today. This episode was produced in part by John, Johansson, Christina, Jared, Hannah, Katy Pye, Brandon, 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, Caitlin, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 196 - Agave are Awesome!

My guest today was bitten by the Agave bug at an early age. Since then, Dr. Jeff Lake has amassed an impressive collection representing over 100 different species and varieties of this wonderful genus of New World succulents. Despite their popularity in form, Agave still have many secrets to discover. Join Dr. Jeff Lake and me for an exploration of what makes the Agave so special. This episode was produced in part by Johansson, Christina, Jared, Hannah, Katy Pye, Brandon, 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, Caitlin, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 195 - Chollas, Prickly Pears, and Biodiversity

When Dr. Jon Rebman decided to take on the diversity of cholla cacti, little did he know what he was getting into. Luckily, this work led him down a road stoked by a deep passion for understanding the biodiversity of not only cacti, but the entire flora of southern California and the Baja Peninsula. Dr. Rebman believes in maintaining a classical botanist’s approach to his work and as you will hear in our conversation, this has been quite fruitful. Thanks to Dr. Rebman and his colleagues, we have a deeper understanding of the flora of this region but there is still plenty of more work to be done. Join us for a fascinating discussion of botanical discovery. This episode was produced in part by Jared, Hannah, Katy Pye, Brandon, 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, Caitlin, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 189 - When Palms Grew in Wyoming

Join Dr. Sarah Allen and me as we journey back in time to the Eocene. Earth was a very different planet some 49 million years ago. Though we may recognize some Eocene flora, the combination of various plant lineages would be enough to make your head spin. Earth was experiencing a warming period and the plants had responded accordingly. Tropical species like palms were thriving in places like Wyoming and giant relatives of the redwoods covered much of North America and Asia. What Dr. Allen and her colleagues are learning about Eocene plant communities is not only interesting in its own right, it is helping scientists understand how ecosystems may respond to climate change into the future. This episode was produced in part by Brandon, 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. 184 - Fossilized Bryophytes: A Journey Back In Time

The odds of any living material becoming fossilized are extremely rare, especially if that living thing is a moss, liverwort, or hornwort. It does happen, however, and my guest today is dedicating his career to studying and understanding what bryophyte fossils can tell us. Joining us is Alex Bippus, a PhD student at Oregon State and his work is absolutely fascinating. From climate change to evolution, there seems to be no end to the fun of studying bryophyte fossils. This episode was produced in part by 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. 183 - On Spiny Solanum & SciComm

Today we are joined by someone who is as passionate about doing science as he is with sharing his experiences with the world. Dr. Chris Martine is a true botany nut and his lab has been focusing on understanding the evolution of a group of Australian Solanaceae related to eggplants. We learn how pollinators have played a significant role in the evolution of a peculiar mating system and how that has led to a unique radiation in the genus Solanum. We also explore some of the reasons behind why we think science communication is so important as well as the many ways in which it can be effective and successful. Join us for a wonderful discussion rooted in a mutual love for botany. This episode was produced in part by 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. 182 - City Bee Diversity

As far as native bees are concerned, we still don't know very much. That desperately needs to change as we gain a better understand of the role these wonderful insects play in ecosystem function and health. Luckily there are people like Dr. Rebecca Tonietto. Her work on native bee diversity in urban landscapes is helping to revolutionize our understanding of biodiversity in these human dominated systems. Her work is inspiring to say the least and its something I think everyone needs to consider as we move further into a human dominated future. This episode was produced in part by 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. 181 - Protecting Alpine Plants in the Adirondacks

The Adirondack Mountains are home to a remarkable diversity of plant species. Situated in northern New York, these mountains are harsh enough that they foster a thriving alpine community. Despite their ability to handle some of the worst weather conditions, alpine plants can be quite sensitive to human traffic. With more and more people flocking to these mountains every year, concern was growing that the alpine ecosystem was going to be trampled right off the mountain tops. Luckily the the Summit Steward Program was put into place to protect and hopefully restore some of what has been lost. My guest today is Kayla White, who is currently heading up this program.Join us for an uplifting discussion about protecting the alpine flora of the ADKs. This episode was produced in part by 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. 180 - A Mossome Citizen Science Opportunity

My guest today is Dr. Rafa Medina from Augustana College in Rock Island Illinois and he comes to us with a wonderful citizen science opportunity. Dr. Medina is interested in moss evolution and how polyploidy may factor into the equation. To better understand this process, Dr. Medina and his colleagues are hoping that you can provide samples from all over North America and Europe of a common moss affectionately referred to as goblet or bladder moss (Physcomitrium pyriforme). Join in and learn how you can be a part of this incredible research. This episode was produced in part by 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.

Click here to access the PhyscoHunt training document

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Ep. 178 - Forest Conservation in Laos

Forest conservation has never been more important, especially in Southeast Asia. Rates of forest loss in this region are unprecedented. Much still remains in places like Laos but without proper regulation, more stands to be lost. Luckily places like the Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden are working hard to ensure that the forests of Laos do not meet the same fate as those in places like Indonesia, Combodia, and Vietnam. Joining us to talk about what Pha Tad Ke is doing to empower the people of Laos is botanist Bryony Smart. Join us for an enlightening discussion about what it is going to take in order to ensure Laos has a prosperous and verdant future. This episode was produced in part by 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. 177 - Serpentine Specialists & Their Evolution

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.

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Ep. 176 - On Pawpaw and Floral Mimicry

The world of floral mimicry really busts open traditional views on pollination. This spectrum of strategies involves things like poop and carrion mimicry, sexual mimicry, and possibly even fruit mimicry. That is where today's guest comes in. Joining us is Dr. Kate Goodrich, a chemical ecologist from Widener University who studies floral chemistry in the context of mimicry. Her system of interest involves pawpaw and other Asimina species, whose flowers take on strange fermented odors. Join us for a fascinating dive into the world of what makes a flower a good mimic. This episode was produced in part by 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.

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Ep. 175 - Conserving Tree Diversity

Today we are joined by Dr. Sean Hoban, a tree conservation biologist at The Morton Aboretum near Chicago. As you can guess by his title, Dr. Hoban specializes in the science of conserving tree diversity. To do this, Dr. Hoban and his colleagues utilize a wide variety of data from fossils to DNA in order to make sound scientific decisions regarding preserving tree diversity into the future. Listen and enjoy as we discuss his work with some of the world's most regal organisms. This episode was produced in part by 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.

Follow Dr. Hoban on Twitter - @seanmhoban

Learn more about some of the other work going on in Dr. Hoban's lab - HERE and HERE

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