Ferns: Curious Life Cycles and Remarkable Biodiversity

Posted April 16, 2018 - 11:39am

Go behind the scenes and meet Dr. Eric Schuettpelz, a botanist who studies ferns at the National Museum of Natural History. Have you ever noticed how distinct ferns look and wondered why? Get a glimpse of the diversity of ferns in the Smithsonian's plant collection. Take a closer look with Eric at the unique aspects of fern life cycles. Figure out what having spores, but not seeds, means for a fern's fertility. Challenge yourself to better understand the unusual flexibility of fern reproduction. Ponder what features have allowed ferns to persist on Earth for millions of years, while adapting to new conditions. Follow Eric and his colleagues to some of the most isolated islands in the world, the Marquesas, to explore the profusion of ferns on islands. Ask Eric about the awesome adaptations that allow ferns to colonize and reproduce in new places.

Eric Schuettpelz will be sharing some of his findings from his 2016 Global Genome Initiative Rolling Award "The evolution of overrepresentation: exploring the biogeography of Marquesan pteridophytes" during the Q'rius Smithsonian Science How webcast for middle-school students on Thursday, April 19, 2018 at 11am and 2pm EDT. Learn more and register here: https://qrius.si.edu/explore-science/webcast/ferns-curious-life-cycles-and-remarkable-biodiversity