Big Ecology in the Big Easy

Earlier this month, I was took part in the Ecological Society of America’s yearly conference, this time in New Orleans, LA, USA. There were a lot of temptations of this meeting – first of all I was invited to participate in a really interesting organized session, New Uses for Old Collections: Herbarium Data in an Era of Ecological Change. And I’d never been to the famed city before. But also, I got to act as…

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More posts from me, starting now

Hey y’all! I am now a contributor to The Molecular Ecologist. You can read the introduction of new contributors here, and my first post, about invasive species (I mean… obviously) is up today! So check it out, if you are of a mind. I have no plans to shut down Alien Plantation, or anything, and who knows, this may trigger a flurry of blog writing activity!

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Guest post: Botany is not dead, but this plant is

Jennifer Ackerfield, Herbarium Curator in the Biology Department, shows off specimens in the CSU collection. May 12, 2015. Image via J. Ackerfield. Guest post from Colorado State University Herbarium Collections Manager Jennifer Ackerfield. She literally wrote the book on Colorado flora. Botany is not dead, but this plant is: The importance of herbaria in the 21st century and beyond Herbarium.  For many, this one word invokes images of a dark, dusty place, a mortuary for…

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Our Man in Savana

See what I did there? Image via Wikimedia Commons. Our friend the mesquite seems to pop up in the most unlikely of places. Mesquite, a genus which includes thorny desert shrubs/trees from various parts of the Americas, perhaps most clearly demonstrates the importance of context. It’s not that a species is inherently bad because it’s invasive. Or, to go as far as some naysayers, that to want to prevent or remove invasive species is a…

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It gives me the duck face

Like this, only it last for a few days… Image from Emergency Brake from Wikimedia Commons. There is still time to contribute to the science of science communication! See the bottom of this post to do so AND also win prizes. Survey closes Nov 20, 2015. This may, perhaps, be more than you needed to know. But I am allergic to poison ivy. No big deal, you might think. You’re a botanist. Surely you know…

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News and a Survey

Hi cats and kittens. Next month I’m starting a postdoc position at Colorado State University working on a whole new weedy plant! (Don’t worry, knapweed, I still love-hate you.) I’m planning some (hopefully) fun sci-comm gems related to this project, perhaps even a small citizen science project that YOU could help me out on. We’ll see how it goes. For now, let’s say I’m getting just a *tad* closer to my childhood dream of being…

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What is going on with invasive knapweed? OR How I spent my PhD

Over the course of my PhD work (published here, and most recently here), I have found evidence for evolved differences in phenotype (in other words, in their morphology, development, phenology, stress responses) between native and invasive populations of diffuse knapweed. Why is that interesting? Well the invasive populations didn’t even exist until barely 100 years ago. And something about them has let them succeed and spread over vast areas of their new habitat. Perhaps what…

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How have we never talked about knapweed before???

Surely I’m not the only one that thinks of their study organism in terms of fictional criminal geniuses? Wow, sorry folks, I’ve been slacking, and that whole PhD thing is a sorry excuse! Let me tell you a little natural history about a plant called diffuse knapweed (Centaurea diffusa), the  Dr. Moriarty to my Sherlock Holmes. Experimental plant, Centaurea diffusa, Montpellier, France, June 2011 The system I work in is a weedy species in a…

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