2019 May General Meeting: Juniper Harrower (by )

? WHEN: 05/15/2019, 6-9 pm
? WHERE: Harvey West Scout House, Harvey West Scout House

Please join us for our General Meeting at the Harvey West Scout House.  Refreshments will be provided and informal mushroom ID from 7:00 - 7:30.  A discussion of upcoming events will precede our speaker,   Juniper Harrower,  our scholarship recipent for her studies on the complexities of species under climate change as both ecologist and an artist.  Doors open at 6PM.

Symbiosis under climate change: Investigating Joshua trees and their mycorrhizal fungi

Can you imagine Joshua Tree National Park without any Joshua trees? The iconic tree is under threat from climate change and may be extinct from its namesake park within a human lifetime. The places where they live could become too hot and dry for them or the species that they depend on to survive. Joshua trees have an intricate symbiotic relationship with an unknown community of mycorrhizal fungi. In exchange for plant sugars, these fungi provide the trees greater access to limiting nutrients, and may help fortify them against disease and drought. However, I have found that these relationships exist on a spectrum of mutualistic to parasitic outcomes depending on the species involved and where the symbiosis is happening. My research looks at how the interaction between the trees and fungi may change with climate and other environmental factors and considers how we can best manage for their future survival. I further investigate these topics as a multimedia artist - creating animations, an online dating site for Joshua trees, and an experimental painted soil study - to highlight and explore the complexities of these relationships, and to share their incredible beauty.

Juniper Harrower studies the complexities of species interactions under climate change as both an ecologist and an artist. As a PhD candidate in Environmental Studies at UC Santa Cruz, her research focuses on the symbiotic interactions between Joshua trees, their soil fungi, and moth pollinators in Joshua Tree National Park. She uses current science methods and a multi-media place based art practice to investigate the outcomes of human influence on ecological systems. By approaching her study system through art and science, she hopes to better understand the form and function of the organisms she studies as well as share the hidden beauty of these threatened species interactions with others. Harrower’s research is published in both science and art scholarly journals, and has contributed to shaping environmental policy and advising the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s review of Joshua trees for endangered species status. Her work is exhibited locally and internationally in galleries and museums, and her research and artistic products have received broad exposure in popular media such as National Geographic, the associated press, podcasts, music festivals and conferences. Visit www.juniperharrower.com to view her online portfolio.