Microbes, lagomorphs, and the geographic range limit of a California endemic wildflower
This always happens -- I have grand plans to post while in the field, then things get too crazy and I don't end up writing anything til I'm back home. But better late than never, I suppose. Summer 2015 field season was hot, dry, and productive -- kinda like the Central Valley! As we all know, … Continue reading Summer Field Season 2015
I gave my first talk this week, at the UMN Plant Biology seminar. The format was a series of "lightning talks," meant to be a 5-minute synopsis of some cool work you're doing. You can watch mine below. Trapped! A SoCal species border from John Benning on Vimeo.
I'm finally putting together a proper website with a mixture of static pages and blog entries. We're still in beta mode, but with time hopefully this will become part field notes, part open lab notebook, part research summary. With some extracurricular posts thrown in, as well (DIY, gardening, etc.). Thanks for checking it out!
I needed to quantify volumetric water content for a water stress experiment I have going in the greenhouse, but jeez, even a relatively simple setup can cost a pretty penny ($300 -$500). So I went the DIY route. You don't want to skimp on quality for the actual sensor -- for repeated insertion in greenhouse … Continue reading VWC sensor hack
My first video post!
You know how when you're a kid you want to climb everything? Tables, curtains, trees, chicken coops, cars -- you name it. Well, that inclination never really left me, and in August 2012 I was able to satiate those childhood urges under the guise of "work!" Leaving the Florida summer behind, I packed all … Continue reading Into the Trees
Click map above for enlarged image I spent the first half of 2012 wandering Florida's Lake Wales Ridge, an elevated, sandy spine that runs for 115 miles through the center of the state. A million years ago when peninsular Florida was largely underwater, higher elevations on the Ridge resulted in a series of islands which, … Continue reading Life in the Scrub
Here is the (largely pictorial) summation of my last wanderings in the desert; please forgive my extreme procrastination. Mexican Campion, Silene laciniata. You can see a closely related N.C. species (Silene virginica) in my July 2011 post about the Southern Appalachians. Forefront: Century Plant, Agave havardiana In mid-October Ben, Alex and I headed up … Continue reading Last Days in the Desert
Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucantham) The Silver Creek area of Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge So, what makes a desert? Lack of water, right? But why exactly do deserts lack water? There are a few possible explanations. Firstly, the simple fact of being far from the ocean, which is where most of the world’s atmospheric moisture originates, … Continue reading Rattlesnakes and Jewel Bugs