Presented by Leonora Bittleston
The idea of a plant eating an animal is very strange. Scientists were ridiculed when they originally suggested plants could be carnivorous. But now we know that carnivory has actually evolved multiple times in plants, in a pattern called convergent evolution. My lecture will discuss how pitcher plants are perfect examples of this, as their particular form has evolved three separate times in different parts of the world. Some creatures are food for pitcher plants, yet others can’t survive without them. I will talk about the communities of insects and bacteria that live happily inside pitcher plants’ deadly pools of water. At the end of the lecture, I will discuss new technology and theory used to study the communities within pitcher plants.