Friday, July 27, 2012

Why the Finery?

If you run across flags, 
or ribbons 
or even elaborate stuff like this in the woods, 
please don’t mess with them.

They’re science. And science, contrary to some political figures these days, is pretty much good. In this case Northwestern University grad student Karen Taira is studying the pollination biology of perennial sunflowers.

She is beating the bees to the pollen. Indeed, using bridal veil material, she’s excluding bees, which are difficult to train as scientists. Karen and her colleagues are hand-pollinating different flowers in different ways and comparing the results.

Part of the goal of forest preserve conservation is to conserve gene pools, components of which may be important to the future of the planet, our grandchildren, and the health of our spirits. (In case you haven’t heard, people who actively or passively let the beauty and fruit of millions of years of creation and evolution go down the drain may subsequently suffer in hell – of one kind or another.)

In order to conserve biological diversity, it’s very helpful to know more about how species reproduce, evolve and change. Thanks to Karen for working on this.

For some related work by Karen Taira go to:

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