Ep. 213 - Buzzing Bees and the Floral Microbiome

We tend to view pollination as an altruistic blending of plant and animal behavior but altruistic it is not. Both plants and their pollinators are trying to get as much as they can out of the relationship while giving as little in return as possible. What really blows my mind is just how much we still have yet to learn about this vital ecological process. That is where scientists like Dr. Avery Russell come in. Dr. Russell specializes in pollinator behavior in the context of the various drivers that push bees towards specialist lifestyles. Along the way we will learn about how the floral microbiome may be influencing the evolution of these relationships. If you truly care about plants and their pollinators, this is one episode you do not want to miss! This episode was produced in part by Joseph, 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. 179 - Demystifying Orchids

Orchids are some of the most popular plants in all of the world. This hyper-diverse plant family captures our imagination like no other. So often, the true lives of orchids are so strange, so bizarre, that it can seem that anything is possible with these plants. This is one of the main reasons why orchids are also subject to a lot of speculation. My guest today is here to talk about why orchids are so mysterious and to set the record straight on a handful of orchid stories. Joining us from the Lankester Botanical Garden in Costa Rica is orchid specialist Dr. Adam Karremans. Dr. Karremans studies orchid diversity and ecology and he has set out to write a book all about the mysterious world of orchids. The better we get to know these plants, the better we can work to conserve them and the habitats they need for survival. 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. 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. 173 - What the Dogbane Family Can Teach Us About Pollination

Pollination is a fascinating phenomenon to ponder. There seems to be as many variations on the subject as there are flowering plant species. Wonder and amazement wait around every corner. My guest today has devoted his career to such investigations. Joining us is University of Northampton professor Dr. Jeff Ollerton who, among other things, studies members of the family Apocynaceae as a model system for the complexities of plant/pollinator interactions. This family of plants contains many familiar species and many you may have never heard of before. Join us for a fascinating discussion about this charismatic group of plants. This episode was produced in part by: 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. 167 - Trial Gardens at Mt. Cuba Center

Nativars are frequently seen as unnatural mutant versions of their wild counterparts whose use overlooks the whole point of natives in the first place. Take, for instance, the popularity of double flowered nativars. These plants have been selected for an over-production of sepals and petals that can be so dense that they preclude visitation by pollinators. It would seem that nativars are a slippery slope to yet another sterile landscape incapable of supporting biodiversity. However, anecdotes don’t equal data and that is where places like Mt. Cuba Center come in. Located in northern Delaware, Mt. Cuba is doing something quite amazing for the sake of environmentally friendly landscaping – they are putting plants to the test. Joining us today is Manager of Horticultural Research, George Coomb to talk about what Mt. Cuba Center's trial gardens are all about. 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.

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Ep. 159 - An Orchid That Mimics Aphids?

My guest today is Melissa Díaz-Morales from the Jardín Botánico Lankester in Costa Rica and her work focuses on orchid pollination. Orchids are known for their deceitful pollination syndromes and Melissa has spent the last few years working on a lady slipper orchid known as Phragmipedium longifolium. This flowers of this beautiful orchid appear to be mimicking aphid infestations. Why is that? Listen and find out ;) This episode was produced in part by Letícia, Ron, Tim, Carl, Lisa, Susanna, Homestead Brooklyn, Daniella, Brodie, Kevin, Katherina, Sami & Sven, 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.

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Ep. 155 - Understanding Floral Chemistry

For Dr. Rob Raguso, the phrase "stop and smell the roses" takes on a whole new meaning. Dr. Raguso studies the intricate world of floral chemistry. You are undoubtedly familiar with some of the wonderful odors flowers produce but such tantalizing smells are only the beginning. The world of floral chemistry is quite remarkable and the function of the myriad substances they produce go much deeper than simply pollination. This conversation will put a whole new spin on your appreciation of flowering plants. This episode was produced in part by Letícia, Ron, Tim, Carl, 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, and Margie. 

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Ep. 133 - Pollinator Pathway: A Design Challenge For The Planet

As we dive deeper into the new epoch we have created - the Anthropocene - we are going to have to face a lot of harsh realities about the way we treat the planet. That is where people like Sarah Bergmann come in. About a decade ago, Sarah embraced concepts of sustainability, ecology, and ecosystem connectivity, into a giant design challenge for the planet. Listen and learn! This episode was produced in part by Bendix, Irene, Holly, Clifton, Shane, Caitilin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, Sienna & Garth, Troy, Margie, and Laura. 

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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.

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Ep. 78 - A Focus On Native Bees

North America is home to a plethora of native bees. Sadly, they are a bit of a mystery. Overshadowed by non-native honey bees, many of our native species are in serious trouble. That is where scientists like Dr. Alexandra Harmon-Threatt come in. An assistant professor of entomology at the University of Illinois, her lab is focused on the interactions between native bees and the surrounding plant communities. This is a fascinating discussion that will hopefully inspire more people to dive into the shadows surrounding these important players in our local ecology. This episode was produced in part by Gregory, Mark, Bryan, Laura, Margie, and Allan. 

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Ep. 47 - Pollinators and Parentage

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. 

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