Dr. Diana Bizecki Robson

About Dr. Diana Bizecki Robson

Dr. Robson obtained a Master’s Degree in Plant Ecology and a Ph.D. in Soil Science at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. She has been working at the Manitoba Museum since 2003, conducting research mainly on rare plant and pollination ecology. Her botany blog http://www.manitobamuseum.ca/main/botany/ is published by the Manitoba Museum and is reproduced here with its permission.

Water lilies and wetlands

Wetland plants are the least commonly collected and photographed plants in Manitoba for good reasons. For starters they’re protected by the most vicious gangs of thugs you can imagine: bloodthirsty mosquitoes and black flies. I’ve taken many blurry photographs in my day because I was too busy swatting mosquitoes to focus properly. Continue reading

5 reasons to love field work in the prairies

Once again I spent a few weeks out at the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s fescue prairie preserves, south of Riding Mountain National Park, studying plant-pollinator interactions. Early June was my first trip of the year. Before I left the city I was feeling apprehensive: were the mosquitoes going to be bad, would I get Lyme disease from a tick bite, eaten by a bear, stuck in the mud? However, all that nervousness melted away as I came to my first plot and remembered what it is I love about doing field work: Continue reading

William Dampier – pirate botanist

Piracy and botany are two words that do not usually occur together in a sentence. But in the golden days of exploration, seafaring men were not always vicious rogues intent on thievery. Well, all right, a lot of them probably were. But one man among them combined piracy with a love of plants and that man was Captain William Dampier (1651-1715). Continue reading

Plants that want to kill us

OK I’m exaggerating, plants don’t really want to kill us – they just don’t want us (or any other animal) to eat them. So plants have evolved ways to protect themselves – thorns, spines and prickles come to mind. But instead of physical armaments, many plants use chemical warfare to keep us pesky mammals away. Continue reading

The botany of libations

With the holiday season beginning, I often find myself thinking about celebrations and how frequently alcohol is part of them. Although people are familiar with the different kinds of alcohol-rum, vodka, beer etc., not everyone knows what they are made of. And what is the difference between lager and ale anyway? Well you’re in luck. Alcohol comes from plants and ethnobotany is one of my areas of expertise. So if you’re terrible at small talk, here are a few bits of alcohol-related trivia that you might want to use as a conversation starter at your next holiday party! Continue reading