When it comes to conservation, plants have largely been overlooked. We tend to spend a lot more time with "charismatic" species of animals. For instance, 100% of the world's known threatened and endangered animals have been assessed by the IUCN whereas we have only assessed about 5% of plants. This is quite scary considering that so-called biodiversity hot spots are defined by their vascular flora. This is why the New York Botanical Garden is working to improve our literacy of the botanical world. My guest today is Dr. Brian Boom who, among other titles, is the VP for Conservation Strategy for the New York Botanical Garden. Join us for an inspiring conversation about plant conservation in the modern world. This episode was produced in part by Gregory, Mark, Allen, Desiree, Sienna, Laura, Margie, Troy, and Bryan.
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.
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.
Parasites have earned themselves a bad reputation in our society. We often see them as nauseating freeloaders. This could not be farther from the truth. More and more we are starting to realize just how important parasites are in any given ecosystem. Not only do they promote and maintain biodiversity, they also serve as vital indicators of ecosystem health. My guest today is Brandi Cannon, a masters student at Columbia University. Brandi is busy focusing her education on understanding and conserving an endangered parasitic plant known scientifically as Schwalbea americana. Along the way we get a nice introduction to the broomrape family as well as gain a greater appreciation for the importance of parasitic plants. This episode is produced in part by Gregory, Mark, Bryan, Wonja, Margie, and Laura.
You can reach out to Brandi via email: email@example.com
Who doesn't love cycads? I know I do and can you really blame me? The cycads are an incredible group of plants. They are also quite ancient. Arising long before flowering plants, this lineage has survived munching dinosaurs, continental drift, and mass extinctions and has undergone incredible adaptive radiations. Today cycads are in trouble. Habitat destruction and poaching now threaten many of the world's species. To get to know cycads a bit better I reached out to one of the world experts on this group of plants, Dr. Dennis Stevenson of the New York Botanical Garden. Dr. Stevenson has traveled the world to study and describe new species of cycad. He has been on every major continent and has encountered nearly every species in the wild. His work has helped us better understand the enigmatic and ancient group. Join us for a fascinating discussion about the cycads.
Music by Moneycat
Many people are surprised to learn that North America is home to over 200 species of orchid. What's more, an embarrassing amount of North America's orchids are threatened with extinction. The plight of this intriguing plant family is an indication of how we are doing as a species. Orchids act as the proverbial canary in a coal mine. That is why Dr. Dennis Whigham, senior botanist for the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, created the North America Orchid Conservation Center. Join me for a discussion with Dr. Whigham in which we cover everything from the mutualisms that orchids need to survive to what it is going to take to ensure their survival on this continent.
Music by Moneycat