JSD Seminar


"Tiny Trebuchets and Miniature Mushroom Clouds -- Explosive Spore Dispersal in Plants"
Dr. Dwight Whitaker, Assistant Professor of Physics
Pomona College
From: 11:00 AM To: 12:00 PM
Thursday, Oct 7, 2010
Keck Science Center, Burns Lecture Hall
Plants have developed a number of mechanisms for efficiently dispersing seeds and spores to their surroundings without using muscles. Many of the more spectacular methods of dispersal involve ultra-fast movements (t < 1 ms) and are entirely mechanical. In our research we use high-speed video recordings, with frame rates up to 100,000 fps, and computer modeling of the dynamics in conjunction with field observations to study the details of these ultra-fast movements. This interdisciplinary approach enables us to better understand the adaptive significance of these behaviors by examining the details of the dynamics of dispersal mechanisms from an ecological perspective. In this talk I will focus on two explosive plant movements -- the pollen launch of bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) and the explosive discharge of spore-filled vortex rings by capsules of Sphagnum moss.
Seminar Registered by: Velda Yount


Back to the Seminars List