Exploring the science of plants, from the field to the lab

Cool Scientist Tech

Watch an NYBG Scientist Create a PCR, IRL

Posted in Cool Scientist Tech, Videos and Lectures on January 21, 2016 by Lansing Moore

Science IRLHere at NYBG we strive to bring the world of botanical science to the public, so we were thrilled to welcome brand-new web series Science IRL to shoot a video and offer viewers a glimpse into the daily work of NYBG scientists. Our own Gregory M. Plunkett, Ph.D., Director and Curator of the Cullman Program for Molecular Systematics, leads host Molly Edwards through the steps of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a fundamental part of our ongoing work in molecular science. As Dr. Plunkett and other scientists here at NYBG continue exploring the world’s biodiversity, identifying new species and examining how they are related to others, a PCR is a process that allows them to isolate a specific piece of DNA and create millions of copies.

Further explanation can be found in this video, which follows each step of a PCR. Watch below, and check out Science IRL’s other videos in the series on YouTube!

UPDATE: Part 2 of this episode is now live! Click through to see a phylogenetic tree generated from the DNA sample.

Lights! Camera! Algae!

Posted in Cool Scientist Tech on June 2, 2015 by Dario Cavaliere

Dario J. Cavaliere is a graduate student in the Commodore Mathew Perry Graduate Studies Program and a part-time research technician for the Cullman Program in Molecular Systematics at The New York Botanical Garden.

Nitella hyalina, freshwater algae

Meet Nitella hyalina, a freshwater alga with an especially unusual appearance. Elaborate whorls of branchlets and other three-dimensional structures make microscopic imaging of this species quite a challenge.

With advances in imaging software, N. hyalina has met its match. This software includes a stacking feature that allowed me to photograph the whole three-dimensional structure.

Check out those spiky bits! Those orange blobs are the plant’s reproductive structures, which are notoriously difficult to image. But now N. hyalina is ready for its close-up.