Outreach

María together with her two colleagues two of her colleagues Eva and Mari at the Natural History Museum in Oslo have published an article in Titan on the use of environmental DNA (eDNA) that can be found in soil for the mapping of nature types in Norway. This is the first time that eDNA has been used for mapping habitat types on land, and represents a major development in our ability to efficiently (and economically) monitor habitats. Thank you to our colleague Bjarne for writing this outstanding article, as well as sharing it with the Miljødirektorat in Norway! 

Anne-Sophie has taken the initiative to recently start up her own taxonomy club at the University of Gothenburg, within the Physolychnis section. Their meetings have both practical and theoretical components related to the taxonomic identification of plant species, with lectures, quizzes, and walks through the herbarium. This is a fantastic initiative, and Anne-Sophie is looking to expand it to research groups interested in zoology and fungi, as well as further outreach opportunities with the general public.

Video conference

Even during these current times with restrictions on travel and meetings, our Plant.ID ESRs are working hard to reach out to both the scientific community and public to explain and discuss their research. In this video, Yannick Woudstra explains his research at the weekly seminar KABaM! (Kew Advances in Botany and Mycology!) at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew to a virtual audience of 140 people.

We've all seen posts in the media about the use of anti-malaria drugs to treat COVID-19. As scientists, it is our duty to be critical about this and to communicate clearly with the public. In this article, Kim Walker, Cassandra Quave, and Nataly Canales warn against the use of quinine or cinchona bark as there is no evidence to date that they exhibit activity against COVID-19.

The article has also been translated into Spanish by Nataly. It is published in Peru, Nataly's home country that has the cinchona tree as national tree.

On Thursday 27 February, Mehrdad presented his work on ebony wood identification to battle against illegal trade at the forestry department of WWF The Netherlands.

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Like last year, Bastien participated in the Researcher's Night in Thessaloniki, Greece. It is becoming a regular thing but it is always good practice to talk about your research to a non-expert audience.

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Bastien was one of the representatives of the Institute for Applied Biosciences (CERTH) during the Thessaloniki International Fair. He explained visitors what the function of the institute is, what kind of research is conducted, how they contribute to society, and how the institute collaborates with (inter)national partners.

11th graders in classroom

Ntwai visited Ramotshere High School in Dinokana, North-West Province, his former high school in South Africa. He talked to 11th grade students about choosing courses at university, career planning, and life beyond the classroom. As a bona fide motivational coach, he encouraged them to do well during exams and life in general. (pictures)

Nataly is passionated about gin and tonic but not only because it is a delicious drink. The compound that makes the drink bitter is quinine and it is found in the bark of the Cinchona tree, the national tree of Peru. Quinine is used to cure malaria and it has saved more lives in human history than any other remedy. Nataly's research is about the evolutionary history, the chemical diversity, and the biodiversity patterns of the Cinchona trees.