A podcast with ‘in situ Science’

A podcast with ‘in situ Science’

The podcast I recorded with in situ Science is available here. I really enjoy listening to podcasts and so I was very happy when Dr James O’Hanlon invited me to make a recording for one of my favourites: in situ Science.  We chat as we walk though Lane Cove National Park, searching for the population of flying duck orchids … Continue reading

Plant silicon e-book from Frontiers Research Topic is out now

Plant silicon e-book from Frontiers Research Topic is out now

The e-book from our Frontiers Research topic on ‘Plant silicon interactions between organisms and the implications for ecosystems‘ in now available on the Frontiers website: http://www.frontiersin.org/books/Plant_Silicon_Interactions_between_Organisms_and_the_Implications_for_Ecosystems/1112 or on the Research Topic page: http://journal.frontiersin.org/researchtopic/2077/plant-silicon-interactions-between-organisms-and-the-implications-for-ecosystems The issue focuses on new work and includes 9 papers grouped into three categories: Novel methods and fresh approaches, innovative herbivore defence experiments, and new insights into plant … Continue reading

Science Uncovered at Ulster Museum, Belfast.

Science Uncovered at Ulster Museum, Belfast.

A couple of weeks ago, I gave a talk at a new event called Science Uncovered at the Ulster Museum in Belfast, Northern Ireland.   It was an evening where the museum threw open its doors after normal hours, and filled its display space with music from a DJ.  There were lots of hands on, interactive … Continue reading

Open University Fieldschool for SXF206

Open University Fieldschool for SXF206

A couple of weeks ago I was teaching in two field-schools for the OU Environmental Science module SXF206 for the Soils and Vegetation practicals.  I really enjoyed the week at the Field Studies Council (FSC) property at Preston Montford near Shrewsbury.  It was great to see some familiar faces among the students – those I had met at … Continue reading

Siliceous Special Features, hot off the press!

Siliceous Special Features, hot off the press!

When I first became interested in plant silicon (studying archaeology at the Australian National University in 2001), the number of papers on the topic were limited.  Research was dominated by studies of preserved phytoliths rather than plant silicon use per se, though some seminal papers outlined potential roles of silicon in plants, speculating about further importance.  Today, papers about plant … Continue reading

Talking Science from a Soapbox

Talking Science from a Soapbox

On July 9 I was up on a soapbox, talking about my science to unsuspecting shoppers in the Milton Keynes Centre.  I took part in Soapbox Science, an initiative of Drs Seirian Sumner and Nathalie Pettorelli, which brings science to the public and increases the visibility of women in science.  First run on Southbank in London, 2016 was … Continue reading

PhD Studentship opportunity! Sexually deceptive orchid pollination strategies: is one true love or broad sex appeal best?

PhD Studentship opportunity! Sexually deceptive orchid pollination strategies: is one true love or broad sex appeal best?

**Applications for this project have now closed** Sexually deceptive orchids achieve pollination by mimicking the pheromones and appearance of female insects. The orchids entice males to try to mate with the flowers and pollen is spread through repeated deception among flowers. In this way orchids avoid the costs of producing nectar, but mimicking pheromones and … Continue reading

Solving the mystery of the algal balls at Dee Why

Solving the mystery of the algal balls at Dee Why

In September and October 2014, hundreds of algal balls washed up on Dee Why Beach, Sydney.  It was an unexpected and spectacular sight which drew media interest from all over the world, especially as these balls had never been recorded in Sydney before.  Matthew Bulbert and I went to see them and began a quest to discover what … Continue reading