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Life on the Rocks: Plants on Serpentine and Other “Harsh” Rock Outcrop Plant Communities  
Friday, May 17, 2019 07:30pm
Contact Madeline Morrow at past- This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or the Chapter phone (650) 260- 3450

Serpentine and other rock outcrops are home to many rare and endemic species of plants here in California and around the world. These rock outcrops have provided model settings for botanical explorations and the study of plant biology. Study topics range from diversity and ecology to physiology and evolution as well as the development of green technologies such as phytoremediation and agromining.

Join us at this talk, which will highlight plant-soil relations of rock outcrops both locally and globally and note important discoveries in ecology, physiology, genetics and biotechnology from the study of rock outcrop plants. The threats faced by these geobotanical wonders and the urgent need for their conservation will also be discussed.

Nishi Rajakaruna fell in love with plants at a young age during a visit to Sinharaja Rainforest, a lowland tropical rainforest in Sri Lanka. He received a BA in human ecology from College of the Atlantic (Maine) and conducted his post-undergraduate practical training in plant ecophysiology at Harvard University. His research on the evolutionary ecology of the Lasthenia californica complex earned him a MS and a PhD in botany from the University of British Columbia, Canada.

Nishi conducted post-doctoral research in plant ecology at Stanford University. His research examines how plant diversity, ecology, and evolution are influenced by serpentine and other “unusual” soils, including those with heavy metals. He taught botany at College of the Atlantic and San José State University for 12 years and spent a year as a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Sri Lanka and India. He is currently an associate professor in plant biology at California Polytechnic State University where he teaches general botany, biogeography and ethnobotany.

Location Los Altos Library Program Room 13 S. San Antonio Road, Los Altos
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