December Science Cafe at Orca Books: Scotch Broom revisited


When:  7:00 PM, Tuesday December 13th, 2016
Where:  Orca Books (509 East 4th Avenue, Olympia, Phone 360.352.0123

Our December topic is:  Interactions between Invasive Scotch Broom and Insects along an Elevation Gradient

Scotch broom is an invasive plant species in the Pacific Northwest. Although useful in erosion control and producing beautiful blooms each year, Scotch broom reduces natural biodiversity and timber crop yields. Past research has suggested that broom may be limited by the availability of pollinators and the effectiveness of introduced biological controls. However, such plant-insect interactions have not been evaluated in the mountains where Scotch broom competes with timber crops. Other researchers have also shown that broom evolves to optimize its interaction with pollinators along an elevation gradient. In a series of summer studies, we investigated the interactions between Scotch broom and insects. We found that, despite previous research showing the converse, broom is highly visited by pollinators. We categorized and compared pollinators at several sites along an elevation gradient, and found how flower size varies with elevation and season. The effectiveness of biological controls was also investigated, with implications for their future spread.

About the Speaker:


Robert Bode got his B.S. in Biology from Hope College in western Michigan and his PhD from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. His past work has focused on plant-herbivore interactions and the evolution of plant defenses. However, more recently he has focused on the interactions between weedy plants and seed-eating insects. Robert has been an assistant professor at Saint Martin's University since 2014, and currently lives in Olympia with his wife and kids.

Three great reading groups meet at Orca each month to discuss their latest selections. Have a look at what they're reading this month. All our in-store groups are open to the public and are always looking for new members. Please join us!

The Orcapod Book Group is the original Orca-led reading group. We meet on the second Sunday of every month at 2:30pm. At the Nov 13th meeting we will be discussing Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro. Past Selections =>
The Fireside Book Group meets on the first Thursday of every month at 7:00pm. At their October 6th meeting they will discuss Oliver Sacks' On the Move: A LifePast Selections =>
The M3 (Murder, Mystery & Mayhem) Reviewers is currently meeting at Three Magnets Brewing, and is hosted by Linda, the former owner of Whodunit Books in downtown Olympia. They meet at 6:30pm on the second Wednesday of each month. At their November 9th meeting they will discuss Susanna Calkins' The Masque of a Murderer. Past Selections =>
Click here to see selections from the other groups that register their picks with us each month!