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.
It may be hard to believe but Antarctica has a green past. Throughout its history, our southern polar continent has been the home to a variety of now-extinct biomes and my guest today is responsible for uncovering the oldest of these remains. Dr. Erik Gulbranson is part paleoecologist and part paleoclimatologist and what he and his collaborators are learning from these fossilized ecosystems not only helps us understand how life responded to climate change in the past, but also how it may respond in the future. This is one you don't want to miss! This episode was produced in part by Brian, Mark, Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Clifton, Shane, Caitilin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, Sienna & Garth, Troy, Margie, and Laura.
Many of us are aware that planting legumes helps enrich soils but how do they do this? By partnering with bacteria, of course! My guest today studies how this mutualistic relationship evolved and how it is maintained throughout various lineages. Dr. Katy Heath is a plant person at heart and she brings that passion with her to her lab as she tries to understand these evolutionary processes. Join us for a fascinating discussion about this system. This episode was produced in part by Allan, Clifton, Katherina, Shane, Amy, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, Christopher, Sienna and Garth, Margie, Laura, and Mark.
Lichens are everywhere and we hardly ever notice them. Aside from their beauty and interesting symbiotic relationships, lichens are also crucial components of their environment. Today we are joined by Jessica Allen, a PhD student who is devoting her career to understanding and preserving these wonderful organisms. Please join us for a fascinating discussion about the world of lichens. This episode was produced in part by Gregory, Mark, Bryan, Laura, Margie, and Allan.
It's here! The long awaited question show has arrived. Over the last few weeks listeners have been submitting their botanical questions for me to answer. I got some great questions and it was really fun doing the research in hope of providing satisfactory answers. I cover a lot of cool topics from leaf color to carnivorous plants and even some phylogenetics. This was a really fun episode to record. I learned a lot in the process and I hope you will too! This episode was produced in part by Gregory, Mark, Bryan, and Laura.
Whereas plant communities define much of what we think of as "habitat," individuals themselves can be habitat too. Join Steve and I for a fun discussion about a very interesting way in which plants support a whole community of life.
Music by: Moneycat