Field of Science

Botanical meetings - Day 3

What happened to Day 2?  It vanished into the dozens of conversations with friends and colleagues, multiple sessions of scientific talks, research discussions, mixers, and business meetings.  Events started at 8 AM and continued through an overly long business meeting that ended at about 9 PM.  Can you exist on a diet of snacks, beer, and wine?  Well, yes!  In this case the evening schedule was so daunting that the decision was made to have a larger than usual lunch, and because the food court has some pretty nice items, including Indian with freshly baked tandoori naan.  So while fortified with food, as soon as the lights were dimmed for a talk, the urge to doze off had to be fought, with great difficulty in a couple of them.  And then a young colleague seeks you out because you possess knowledge in a particular subject area that almost everyone else has forgotten, and you are surprised how much of it you still remember from over 25 years ago.  And what's even more surprising is how many older colleagues are still attending these meetings, and are still active botanists.  You see it isn't just a job, or a career, or an expertise, it's an advocation and these people just love what they do, and the students begin to figure out that you've been a professional botanist for more than twice as long as they've been alive.  Now it's Day 3 and a bit of fatigue is setting in. This afternoon the Phactor delivers a research paper on an invasive legume and the impact of several environmental factors have on its growth.  Not much good news here; the invasive legume will "win", prairie diversity will lose.  And at this very moment, other than knowing that nothing critical is happening, the Phactor has lost his custom-made schedule and has no idea what to attend next.  Sounds like more coffee is in order.  Maybe then the next evo-devo presentation will make more sense.  Let's see what has been learned?  Well, the scanty development of diploid endosperm of waterlilies and their relatives may represent an intermediate stage between the female gametophyte of gymnosperms and the full-fledged triploid endosperm of most flowering plants.  A little gnetophyte, Ephedra monosperma (or E. minima) is easy to propogate and grow for research and teaching.  Have to see if it's available from an online nursery.  Time to run.

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