The New York Botanical Garden

PLANT RESEARCH & CONSERVATION

2015 Britton Gallery Talk Series

Graduate student Robin Sleith with Starry Stonewart (Nitellopsis obtusa). This invasive alga is often found in areas of high human traffic. (Image by Robert Stewart)

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Starry Stonewort: Chasing an Invasive Species Across the Northeast
A Conversation with Garden Scientists Kenneth G. Karol, Ph.D. and Robin S. Sleith, Ph.D. candidate

Many freshwater ecosystems in North America are declining in diversity—indeed, at a faster rate than terrestrial ecosystems—and a major cause is invasion by exotic species. Garden scientists Dr. Kenneth G. Karol and Robin S. Sleith discuss the importance of freshwater ecosystems as natural resources, their work surveying lakes and ponds across the Northeast, and their findings on the state of a particular invasive green alga, the Starry Stonewort. Following the Talk is a tour of the Garden’s Plant Research Laboratory to see some of the molecular and structural tools Karol and Sleith are using to study and understand this invader.

2 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Space for this program is limited; reservations are required.
For reservations, please e-mail membership@nybg.org or call 718.817.8703.


Palau Bai, traditional men’s meeting house, at the Belau National Museum, Micronesia. Elder’s knowledge of traditional practices is being lost in modern times. (Image by Michael J. Balick)

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Wisdom of Herbs: A Discussion of Nature’s Most Powerful Plants
A Conversation with Garden Scientist Michael J. Balick, Ph.D.

Traditional medical knowledge and practices remain of vital importance to the health of indigenous and local people in tropical regions. At the same time, the plants upon which these medical systems are based are under increasing threat, and elder’s knowledge of traditional practices is being lost. Garden scientist Dr. Michael J. Balick discusses NYBG’s work in the Pacific Islands to inventory plant diversity and, working with local scientists and elders, document their traditional uses. Following the Talk is a display of Pacific Island medicinal plant collections. Dr. Balick will also introduce his latest book Rodale’s 21st Century Herbal: A Practical Guide for Healthy Living Using Nature’s Most Powerful Plants.

2 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Space for this program is limited; reservations are required.
For reservations, please e-mail membership@nybg.org or call 718.817.8703.


A plant from Captain Cook’s first voyage, collected in 1769 in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. From the historical collections of the William and Lynda Steere Herbarium. (Image © C. V. Starr Virtual Herbarium, The New York Botanical Garden)

Friday, June 12, 2015

Hidden Treasures at the Botanical Garden: Every Herbarium Specimen Tells a Story
A Conversation with Garden Scientist Nicole Tarnowsky

The New York Botanical Garden has the largest herbarium collection in the Western Hemisphere, with approximately 7.4 million preserved specimens documenting much of the plant, algal, and fungal diversity of our planet. Garden scientist Nicole Tarnowsky discusses the irreplaceable role of herbarium specimens in botanical research and some of the amazing work scientists have done in exploring for, collecting, and amassing these specimens over the last 400 years. Following the Talk is a behind-the-scenes look at the Herbarium, itself, to see how these specimens are curated and stored and to view some of the hidden treasures she has come across in her 18 years of work.

11 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Space for this program is limited; reservations are required.
For reservations, please email membership@nybg.org or call 718.817.8703.


Cystopteris tenuis. The recent discovery of this fern growing in the Thain Forest marks a new record for the catalog of the Garden’s wild plants. (Image by Daniel Atha.)

Friday, August 28, 2015

Ecological and Cultural Treasures: The Wild Plants of The New York Botanical Garden
A Conversation with Garden Scientist Daniel Atha

The Botanical Garden’s Thain Family Forest preserves the largest tract of old-growth forest in New York City and the multitude of native wild plants that evolved over millions of years to occur there. Garden scientist Daniel Atha discusses the ecological and cultural treasures that are the wild plants of the Thain Forest and explains the concerted efforts by scientists, horticulturists, citizen scientists, and others to document our natives and understand and manage the species which are invading. Following the Talk is a tour of the Forest, itself, to witness native treasures and see the damage of such invaders as the Amur cork tree and the Japanese knotweed.

11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Space for this program is limited; reservations are required.
For reservations, please email membership@nybg.org or call 718.817.8703.


Over millions of years, the Skunk Cabbage (Lysichiton americana) has evolved many unique adaptations, including flowers that smell like carrion so as to attract particular beetles as pollinators. (Image by Dennis Wm. Stevenson. Retrieved from PlantSystematics.org)

Friday, October 16, 2015

Evolution and the Tree of Life: Problem-solving Through Time
A Conversation with Garden Scientist Dennis Wm. Stevenson, Ph.D.

As Charles Darwin famously recognized, the evolution of living things has been occurring for billions of years and is responsible for the marvelous diversity of life on Earth. Dr. Stevenson discusses evolution as a problem-solving process resulting in change over time and explains the Botanical Garden's modern research on understanding plant portions of the evolutionary Tree of Life (family tree of living things). Following the talk is a tour of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory to look at representative plants on the evolutionary Tree and note the particular problem-solving that has occurred.

2 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Space for this program is limited; reservations are required.
For reservations, please email membership@nybg.org or call 718.817.8703.