A smiling woman wearing a pink shirt, brown jacket, and with reading glasses on her head stands next to a large, chalky-green succulent. This image is overlaid on top of a close-up shot of a cluster of tiny white flowers with yellow anthers.

Naturally Speaking Virtual Talk – Successful Pollination

Join us for the next Naturally Speaking Virtual Talk on Monday September 20 at 6:30pm. Dr. Sula Vanderplank – botanist and conservationist, will be speaking on “Successful Pollination – Factors that Influence the Plants and Pollinators of Coastal Southern and Baja California”.


A woman kneeling behind some cactus stems on the ground.
Dr. Sula Vanderplank

We all know that many plants need pollinators to propagate, but what happens when plants and their pollinators are out-of-sync? For example, it’s important that the beginning of flowering matches insect emergence for appropriate pollinators. However, there are other key ecological factors that relate to the success of pollination, ​such as the distance that pollen travels which influences genetic variation in populations.  One of these factors is the synchrony of flowering within a species.  For example, do all the individuals flower at the same time in a massive display? Or do different individuals flower at different times throughout a longer season? Flowering times can be triggered by day length, making them very predictable, or more commonly by local water availability – making them much more erratic and subject to climate change.  This talk will look at the impact of fog on flowering times and how that relates to pollinator behavior in ​the coastal maritime succulent scrub habitats of ​Southern and Baja California.

Dr. Sula Vanderplank is a biodiversity explorer and rare plant botanist who specializes in the vegetation of Northwestern Mexico and Southern California. She has worked for organizations such as UC Institute for Mexico and the US (UC MEXUS), the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, and the San Diego Natural History Museum​​, and is the current Director of Terrestrial Ecosystem Conservation at Pronatura Noroeste, a Mexican non-profit organization. Sula is an award-winning speaker, advocate for conservation, and boat captain.

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