Yannick and Anne-Sophie were invited to give presentations at the Burgårdens Gymnasium high school in Gothenburg. They discussed their journey as researchers in botany, and presented some of their PhD work to the students. The outreach was a big success with very engaged students, and the teachers in attendance will also revisit some of the presented material before Christmas break. It was a pleasure for both Yannick and Annie-Sophie to give some inspiration to these budding scientists.
Mehrdad and his colleagues and at Naturalis (including Plant.ID members Barbara Gravendeel and Frederic Lens) swrote an article for Nature Today on their recent ebony identification paper. In this popular scientific article, they explain how wood identification techniques can be used to combat illegal trade and protect endangered plant species. Great job to everyone involved in explaining the social significance of this work!
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.
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.
María and Physilia are combining their expertise in this collaboration where they are using eDNA in soil to track the presence of the elusive Capercaillie bird.
Ntwai was interviewed on a South African radio station, Motsweding FM, where he talked in the local language about the life of a PhD student and the goals of the Plant.ID network.
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.
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.
Barbara presented Marcel's PhD research on pollen and hay fever in urban environments during the FLORON day on 14 December 2019 at the Radboud Universiteit in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
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)
Physilia had the opportunity to write about her research on reconstructing the diet of Capercaillies using metagenomics. You can read the article online at the iBOL Barcode Bulletin but you can also download the pdf here.
Enjoy this lovely video featuring Bastien talking about this research within Plant.ID. He is working on an authentication protocol for plants in herbal mixture and plants in trade at CERTH in Greece.
Stephen shows us that plants are pretty magnificent. Exotic and compelling stories come to life when exploring century-old plant collections. Stephen is studying the tiny plant Euphrasia, a fascinating hemiparasite found all over the globe. It is all part of exploring diversity and the natural world around us.
Physilia visited some exciting places around the globe during 2018 and she shares her adventures in this video!
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.
Physilia wrote a beautiful poem about her capercaillies. Read it here!
Bastien did so well last time high school students visited the labs at CERTH that they decided to do it again! This time he teamed up with Laura, an ESR of the ITN Cosmic, and they shared their experiences of being part of a MSCA project. (pictures)