Maryam globetrotting!

Maryam has been in the Eastern Mediterranean collecting all the late summer plants in bloom! Check out some photos from her recent trip!

Entrance of a Cedar and Fir reserve


Pinus brutia overlooking an artificial lake


a very vibrant Centaurium tenuiflorum (also naturalized in California)


Ferns on limestone outcrop! Cheilanthes catanensis (left), Asplenium ceterach (right)


A coastal mountain summit overlooking agricultural land to the East. *Notice the plants hugging the ground*


A Cytisus bush (Fabaceae) surrounded by Pteridium but it looks like An found some Rubus in there too!


Collecting a special Levant variety of pear for more snacking!


A common view of the Maquis Shrubland floor. Limestone contrasted with rich brown soil



Entering a sea of Pteridium!


An edible Lupinus sp. Common were the canopy is open and in the supermarkets!


Last seasons Quercus calliprinos (Sec. Cerris) acorns create such a beautiful floor in mature Oak forests!


An old Pinus brutia that is a trademark of the local village


Field work is best capped off with chai and a small fire


The Genomes Have Landed

Last but not least … ferns enter the genomic era

Humans have their genomes sequenced, there’s a lycophyte genome, a moss genome, a liverwort genome, shloads of angiosperm genomes… but until this week no fern genome had been sequenced. It was the last frontier! But we need wait no longer — with the publication earlier this week of “Fern genomes elucidate land plant evolution and cyanobacterial symbioses” we have not one, but two fern reference genomes: Azolla filiculoides and Salvinia cucullata. Special congratulations to lead author (and former Rothfels Labmate) Fay-Wei Li, by whose blood, sweat, and tears (mostly tears) this achievement was made possible.

And it got the cover! Who can blame them — look at this beauty (photo credit: Laura Dijkhuizen):

This paper has also received some cool press–Discover Magazine, Cosmos, Earth.comCornell Chronicle, BTI press release, and  Nature Plants News & Views–it’s great to see people excited about ferns, and fern biology.


Joyce in Space

Dinner with a scientist, and not just any scientist!

Twice a year, 220 guests come together at the Chabot Space and Science Center for “Dinner with a Scientist.” And on May 8th that scientist was…. Joyce!!!

The program includes a TED-talk style presentation from the keynote speaker (did I mention that that was Joyce?) describing their personal journey in science, group discussions, and science activities, with the goal of bringing together Oakland middle- and high-school teachers, their students, and local scientists.

Congratulations to Joyce for her work to inspire a current generation of educators and a future generation of scientists!

Joyce in action.


Such sciencing! (I believe I even see a fern involved.)


(I promised Joyce I wouldn’t mention the standing ovation she got. But my fingers were crossed: STANDING OVATION!)