A silly clown

It’s quite funny how hysterical professional gardeners and greenhouse staff get when they see aphids. I get it, aphids are the devil – that is, when you’re a tomato grower or whatever. I cannot count count the number of times I have been warned about all the horrors that are aphids – as if IContinue reading “A silly clown”

I discovered the root-washing station!

Another ecological experiment was successfully finished today. Oh well, almost. The most important harvest is behind us now. I started my day collecting a shitload of liquid nitrogen at the nitrogen tank (silo? What are these things called?) outside our building. This was done with the purpose of flash-freezing our leaf samples in the greenhouse,Continue reading “I discovered the root-washing station!”

My love-hate relationship with rain

Over the past weeks, I have mentioned quite a couple of times the tansy plants that were still growing in our greenhouses, after we had established our field experiment in Jena. First of all, there were the original 120 ‘mother plants’ that were the source for the 18 selection lines that I created and cloned.Continue reading “My love-hate relationship with rain”

I would make the worst orchid tour guide (but I can talk about snakes…)

Before returning home from our trip to the Chiemgauer Alpen, we decided to take a short walk in the Achental, from Marquartstein to a viewpoint called Windeck (probably because it is always windy as fuck – which it was today). The hike was short enough for our son to almost walk all of it twoContinue reading “I would make the worst orchid tour guide (but I can talk about snakes…)”

About bagging an experiment…

I just returned from what was supposed to be a short chat and check-in with Stephan,the person leading our running barley experiment. This evening he planned the fungal infection treatment. When I came in, Stephan had finished spraying and bagging maybe a dozen control plants. Another 200 were waiting. He was very optimistic in thatContinue reading “About bagging an experiment…”

We may just pull this off! (They all laughed at our plans.)

A couple of weeks ago, a new side-project was thrown in my lap. “Remember that guy I told you about? The dentist? We should talk about this soon, his experiment is coming up in May, and we still need to have a look at the final design. It would be good if he could includeContinue reading “We may just pull this off! (They all laughed at our plans.)”

A dark place

Since a couple of years, I have gotten quite interested in the effects of artificial light at night, especially on plant-mediated interactions. This interest was mostly sparked by many kitchen table conversations with my friend and former house mate Davide, who has studied effects of light at night on bird behaviour for many years. ItContinue reading “A dark place”

Camping in The Jena Experiment

This morning I packed my Tansy plants in a rental trailer, loaded up the Nugg with food, clothes and family, and drove off to Jena. As the rental trailer limited our speed to 80 kmh, we took about four and a half hours to reach or destination – The Jena Experiment – where our newContinue reading “Camping in The Jena Experiment”

Teaching ecology in China

As part of my teaching, I offer so-called ‘projects’ to students that are interested in the work I do. Projects are basically semester-long student projects that can be part of longer-term research, or can be something tailor-made for the students. The idea is that students get to think about a subject, formulate hypotheses or researchContinue reading “Teaching ecology in China”