Join the Harvard Museum of Natural History for a public lecture with Susan Alberts, Robert F. Durden Professor of Biology and Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University.
The social environment—both in early life and adulthood—has major effects on human health and survival. But how and why does the social environment get “under the skin” to also affect our physical health? Susan Alberts pursues this question by studying wild baboons in Kenya. Baboons, like humans, evolved as savannah dwellers. They rely on social relationships to solve problems and—like humans...
Harvard University Herbaria, 22 Divinity Ave., Cambridge
Historically, plants have provided humans with most of our drugs, fibers, food, dyes, perfumes, building materials, and even musical instruments. But how has this diverse and fascinating field been studied and what has been learned? In fact, for over 100 years, Harvard has played a pivotal role in the study of human-plant interactions, leading to the creation of the field of ethnobotany.
In this interactive lecture we will explore the science and history of some of the most important Harvard botanists and explorers through their unique specimens—now housed in the Harvard...
Hunnewell Building, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Boston
How does an egg become an egg? Why do chickens continue to lay eggs day after day? What controls the shape of eggs? Why do eggs of different species of birds have different colors? And how strong are eggshells?
In this talk which follows previous talks about bird flight, migration, and feathers, Lorna Gibson answers common questions about bird eggs.
Microbes play critical roles in the biology and health of human beings, but we are not the only species that benefits from intimate relationships with microbes. Ants, for instance, rely on the microbial communities living in their guts to process food and make strong armor.
Corrie Moreau will discuss this unique aspect of ant biology and what it tells us about the diversity and dominance of ants in terrestrial ecosystems, the evolutionary history of social insects, and the broad-scale evolutionary patterns of life.
Domesticated animals such as dogs, pigs, and horses often sport floppy ears, patches of white hair, and other features that are unknown in their wild ancestors. These traits—collectively referred to by scientists as a “domestication syndrome”—are the result of breeding less aggressive individuals.
Drawing from his new book, The Goodness Paradox (2019, Pantheon Books), Richard Wrangham will show that our cousin apes, the bonobos, also exhibit a domestication syndrome, making them the first clear example of a “wild domesticate.” Self-domestication in the wild now seems...
The Cape Cod white shark population has increased in recent years in response to the dramatic increase in the seal population. Shark sightings—some close to popular swimming and surfing beaches—are becoming more frequent and negative interactions between sharks and humans have become a real concern.
Gregory Skomal has studied and tracked white sharks in the Atlantic for more than 30 years. In this lecture, he will examine the behavior, ecology, natural history, and population dynamics of this species, and how scientific research can help sharks and humans coexist in the Cape...
Hunnewell Building, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
The Arnold Arboretum is full of spectacular specimens from around the world that any visitor will appreciate. However, what they observe is only half the story. How a tree uptakes water and nutrients, stays grounded in place, stores energy, and sometimes even propagates itself, is all thanks to its roots. Join horticulturists Andrew Gapinski and Conor Guidarelli as they unearth these questions and more during an exclusive look into the extraordinary world of roots.
Dana Greenhouse, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
Learn about seed biology, embryo dormancy, and factors present in woody plant seeds. The class will focus on seed storage and various treatment techniques, including over-wintering and aftercare. Appropriate for those who have succeeded at growing some plants from seed and are ready for greater challenges. Post-class nurturing will be required. Fee $55 members; $68 non-members.
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Knafel Center, 10 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA
To paraphrase Louis Pasteur, sometimes luck favors the prepared mind, as when Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin by noticing that mold growing accidentally in his lab seemed to kill bacteria. This 2018 Radcliffe Institute science symposium will focus on how scientists explore realities they cannot anticipate. Speakers from across the disciplines of modern science will present personal experiences and discuss how to train scientists, educators, and funders to foster the expertise and open-mindedness needed to reveal undiscovered aspects of the world around us.
Hunnewell Building and Landscape, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
Urban and suburban planting spaces are often constrained, often not ideal for accommodating a large oak, linden, or maple tree. But there are many smaller tree species that will thrive in a smaller space and won’t overwhelm the area. Some trees are cultivars that have been selected for their smaller size or narrow characteristics, while others are naturally genetically petite. Guided by the “right plant, right place” philosophy, Laura Mele...
Larz Anderson Bonsai & Penjing Collection, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
Manager of Plant Production, Tiffany Enzenbacher, will discuss the Arnold Arboretum's propagule collection and documentation procedure. She will also display some of the different types of fruits, nuts, and seeds that are in the process of becoming the next generation of Arboretum plants. Seed showcased will be those collected during Tiffany's 2018 expedition to the Ozarks, as well as those collected on other institutional collecting trips.
Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge MA
James W. Porter, Josiah Meigs Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia
Coral reefs support more than a quarter of all marine life, yet many are critically endangered. In the Florida Keys, the once common elk horn coral (Acropora palmata) has experienced steep declines since the 1970s. Preliminary blame was attributed to global warming and coral bleaching, but in fact, a human bacterial pathogen associated with a wide range of serious infections was the culprit. James Porter will discuss how Key West residents are saving these reefs...