Exploding Plants: Nature’s Weapons of Mass Reproduction
Date & Time
April 3, 2014, 8pm
Machine Project

Despite the phrase “watching grass grow” being and idiom for something slow and boring, a number of plants and fungi have developed a variety of methods to move rapidly to disperse their spores and seeds.

In this presentation, Professor Dwight Whitaker will show how his research group uses high-speed video photography to capture the ultra-fast dispersal mechanisms devised by plants. These videos reveal that plants have evolved to be remarkable mechanical engineers with a diverse set of techniques to launch objects of varying size. This talk will describe several of these mechanisms, and discuss how these behaviors have helped to increase the fitness of each organism.