Friday, December 5, 2014

World Soil Day December 5

World Soil Day -  December 5

Land is now considered to be a finite resource under significant threat from farming, industry and development.  The basis of land is of course soil which provides us with our food, fodder for livestock, fuel, fibre, building materials, and much more.  It is key to all ecosystem services and to human wellbeing.  Soil also harbours a significant portion of global biodiversity and is a key component in the carbon cycle and the storage and sequestration of carbon dioxide. World soil day has been celebrated each year since 2002 to raise awareness and to support action to protect and enhance soil quality.  The FAO are now the key organizers of events all around the world to celebrate World Soil Day.

Here is a message from FAO Land & Water Division Director, Moujahed Achouri

For more information about FAO World Soil Day contact Professor Nick Gray (

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

TCD Open Day for prospective students

There is an opportunity to meet Plant and Environmental Sciences staff and students at the Trinity College Open Day which will take place on Saturday 6 December, 2014 from 9.00 - 3.30.

The TCD open day allows prospective students to explore College and to experience the numerous undergraduate programmes available through almost 200 presentations.

Key features:
  • Mini lectures about each of our courses,
  • Tours of the Campus, Libraries, and Sports centre
  • Research demonstrations and Clinical skills sessions,
  • Presentations about Student Sports, Societies, the Students' Union, and Accommodation
  • Information sessions for Mature Students, Students with disabilities, Trinity Access Programmes, and Parents/guardians.
So this is your opportunity to find out more about all aspects of student life at Trinity College at first hand.  Find out more including downloads from early November at: Link

Friday, October 24, 2014

Support BOTSOC 2014-15

The Botany Society (BOTSOC) is up and running again this year thanks to the committee who are: 
  • KevinSheridan: President
  • Conor Dolan: Secretary
  • Cara Delorey: Treasurer
  • Yasmin Penders: Personal Relations Officer (PRO)
  • Ordinary Committee Members: James O'Brien, Kane Reu Cusack and Eoin Murphy.

They would very much like to boost membership and support this year. So if you would like to join the BOTSOC and help support the botany department's very own society then please get in touch with any of the committee members. Everyone is welcome  to attend any and all events held during the coming year.

If you wish to sign up for the society, there is an envelope in the Botany office with a sign up sheet. The price is just 2 euros.

Link: Facebook


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Seminar by Emmanuelle Graciet NUI Maynooth

You are welcome to attend a special seminar given by Dr Emmanuelle Graciet from NUI Maynooth titled:

Sensing the environment through the regulation of protein stability in plants

3:00 pm Friday 24th October
Botany Lecture Theatre

Dr Graciet’s research interests focuses on the role of protein degradation in the regulation of developmental processes, as well as in the response of plants to pathogens. Link


Monday, October 13, 2014

Lecture: Climate clues concealed in the canopy

You are invited to a lecture given by Dr Aline Horwath Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge.

Climate clues concealed in the canopy: on mossy matters & more

Thursday 16th October, 1pm, Botany Lecture Theatre, Trinity College Dublin.

Monday, September 29, 2014

It’s that time of year again…yes it is the Junior Sophister Botany Field Trip!

This year’s Leinster-based field course for incoming JS students in Plant Science passed off very successfully. Following a bright, hot and sunny afternoon in the TCD Botanic Gardens at Dartry, the next day saw the group out on the top of the Wicklow Hills at the source of the River Liffey. There, despite the mist, students practiced a number of ecological surveying techniques, resulting in many interesting plants and animals  being reorded

Next day the field course moved onto  the woodlands at Glendalough where they studied the history and vegetation of the woodlands. It was a surprise to find that the woodlands, though they look pristine, are in fact the product of re-growth following extensive deforestation in previous centuries.

Thursday saw a very pleasant trip made to North Bull Island’s sand dunes where the vegetation succession was investigated .

John Parnell

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

New Botany Garden to be opened by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn

If you have been wondering what has happened to the space outside Botany where the old porta cabins were located, well it is currently being transformed into the long awaited formal botany garden. 

This is an informal place designed specifically for students to relax.  The work is almost completed and has suddenly revealed the front of Botany showing just what a beautiful building we have.

The garden will be officially opened Saturday 6th September at approximately 2.30 by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand.

Nick Gray

Friday, July 18, 2014

New Exhibition at Dublin Science Gallery: Strange Weather

The latest exhibition at the Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin is STRANGE WEATHER.

The exhibition runs from the 18th July until the 5th September and  is curated by Catherine Kramer and Zack Denfeld of CoClimate; Lynn Scarff, Director of the Science gallery and Gerald Fleming, Head of Forecasting at Met Éireann.  Like all these wonderful exhibitions at the Gallery it is most informative and very much hands on. So you can have a try at forecasting the weather yourself, create your own micro-climates and learn just how predictable the future of weather is.

Nick Gray

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Trinity College Dublin participates in first Intervarsity BioBlitz

On 1st and 2nd of May four teams of scientists, in four different universities, will race against time to see how many plants and animals can be recorded on their campus in a 24-hour period. TCD is one of four universities taking part in the event, which also includes DCU, NUI Galway and UCC.
But anyone around campus can join in by visiting the BioBlitz Public Lab upstairs in the Science Gallery. The Lab will open at 9.30am on Friday, 2nd of May and provides a great opportunity to meet the scientists involved and find out about the plants and animals that inhabit the TCD campus. Visitors can join in one of three different plant walks at 9.30 which will survey TCD’s gardens, or find out about bugs, birds and moths at the Lab.

One of the key aims of BioBlitz is to raise awareness about biodiversity. As part of the TCD BioBlitz public engagement programme 4th class from St. Mary’s Boys school will visit the Gallery for a workshop on pollinators with Green Bee Education ( The class will make nests for solitary bees which will positioned around campus and will be revisited with a primary school class at next year’s BioBlitz.

Students and staff are being encouraged to get involved by raising awareness of Irish wildlife and the BioBlitz event through social media. Different species flyers created by @daveendangered have been distributed across the campus with specific social media contact details. This is an opportunity for everyone to support the BioBlitz and get involved by creating a SpeciesSelfie through e-mail, twitter and facebook.

For more information about the BioBlitz or how you can get involved please contact Dr Rachel Kavanagh at

Visit the Science Gallery on Friday, 2nd May to join in the fun.

The BioBlitz is an initiative of the National Biodiversity Data Centre and An Taisce Green Campus.  This initiative is supported in Trinity College by Trinity Centre for Biodiversity Research, the School of Natural Science, The TCD Green Committee and the MSc students in Biodiversity and Conservation and Environmental Science.

More information on BioBlitz in your area use the link

 Rachel Kavanagh

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day 2014

Earth Day is an annual event celebrated each year on April 22nd where events are held to support a sustainable world.  Started in 1970 by John McConnel, a peace activist, and Gaylord Nelson, a US Senator, Earth Day celebrates the first day of spring in the Northern hemisphere by inviting individuals and groups from around the world to get involved.

Each year there is a new focus and this year’s theme is Green Cities.  Climate change fuels migration into cities where well over half of our global population now resides…this means that cities will have to adapt and evolve as they grow. Link


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Trinity Tree in Collision!

Trinity has many magnificent trees but perhaps the most iconic are the big leaf maples (Acer macrophyllum).  Over the years concerns about their age and possible fungal infections have all been raised, but a new threat appears to be passing traffic!

A  52 page booklet, Trees of Trinity College Dublin (3rd Edition), provides a detailed guide to the vast array of Trees found in College complete with full colour photographs and detailed guided walks through the campus. This can be purchased online for  € 5.00 plus postage from the Library Shop.

Nick Gray

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Botany Library News - Collectanea Botanica

The Institut Botanic de Barcelona has written to me explaining that they will no longer publish a paper copy of their journal Collectanea Botanica which will now only be published in digital format.  Access to the articles are open  (free) and can be accessed at their website

The journal has the most beautiful covers and the papers are also excellent.  So it is great news that all previous issues will also be available online in pdf format.

Nick Gray

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Plant and Environmental Sciences Poster Day Today!

Just a quick reminder that the Senior Sophister Plant Sciences and  Environmental Sciences Poster Day is taking place today.

Posters will be displayed from 2 pm in the Luce Hall Seminar Room. From 4pm to 5pm students are asked to be beside their posters and be available to answer questions. From 5pm, refreshments will be available.

This is a wonderful opportunity to find out more about plant and environmental sciences.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Epiphytes: A lecture by professor Gerhard Zotz

copyright Gerhard Zotz

Evolutionary Biology & Ecology Seminar Series
You are invited to a fascinating talk on

Epiphytes - a critical review of concepts, facts and assumptions
Gerhard Zotz
University of Oldenberg

3:00 pm  Friday  21st  March in the Botany Lecture Theatre.

There will be tea afterwards in the Zoology Tea Room immediately afterwards. 

If anyone would like to meet with Gerhard please email Daniel Kelly (  To find out more about Gerhard's research use this link.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Research ethics

An interesting article came to my notice the other day by David Resnick with the title What is ethics in research and why it is important?  One of the things that is popping up increasingly frequency in research applications is a section on ethics, so I was delighted to see this article.

David is a bioethicist at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences which is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services.   He gives a number of interesting case studies and tackles a number of thorny issues such as who should be included as an author on a research paper.   An entertaining and enlightening short article. Access the article here:  NG

Friday, March 7, 2014

Professor Malcolm Bennett University of Nottingham

Root development scientist Professor Malcolm Bennett from the University of Nottingham discusses his research and the future funding of plant science in the UK.


Friday, February 28, 2014

Favorite Blogs - Fascination of Plants Day

Fascination of Plants Day, which is coordinated by a dedicated team of plant scientists and naturalists, organize a wide range of activities throughout Ireland. Its aim is to remind the public that plant science is of critical significance to the social, environmental and economic landscape now and into the future. Plants are unique organisms.  It was last held on the 18th May, 2013.  The next one, the third time the event will have been held, will take place on the 18th May 2015 and the official website for that has just been launched.  Check this out to see the results of the success of the 2013 event which was truly global.  If you want to be a part of this then the organizers want to hear from you as soon as possible.  Also watch out for sporadic events around the 18th May. 2014.

The results of last the 2013 event in Ireland can be accessed via their blog:  and  at

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Votaí do Mhná - TG4 - Wednesday March 5th

Former Trinity Botany graduate Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington, (Botany and Plant Sciences at the NUI Galway) will be appearing on the TV Channel TG4 in a documentary on the Irish women’s suffrage movement.

Votaí do Mhná - (Votes for Women) - will be broadcast on TG4 on Wednesday March 5th at 9.30pm, and again on Saturday March 8th at 8.50pm.  It can be watched online on the TG4 player.

Monday, February 17, 2014

New Botany Course Website - Living Sustainably

The UK Chief Scientist announced last week that the extreme weather being experienced in the UK and Europe is being influenced by global warming and this has been echoed in the UK Parliament. The Plant Science team in Trinity College Dublin is very committed to dealing with climate change through a wide range of research projects as well as through their extensive teaching programme.  The Botany  Broad Curriculum course Living Sustainably: a complete guide to surviving a changing planet (BCBOT) is just one of the large number of climate change  related courses that they offer, and it has just launched a new look website.  The students on the  course contribute to the site blog as well as carry out a range of assessments from choosing the most accurate carbon dioxide calculator and measuring their own footprint, to producing a personal action plan.   The course is aimed at students from all disciplines from Music to Mechanical Engineering and is all about taking personal action. Have a look at the new site at:

'This is your time, your planet, you can decide what kind of world you want to create'

Thursday, February 13, 2014

New Head of Botany

Professor Trevor Hodkinson 

Professor Trevor Hodkinson will take up the role of the new Head of Botany, commencing in July of this year.  He will take over the management of Botany from Professor Daniel Kelly who has worked work so hard these past years to ensure that the discipline remains an important and vibrant part of the faculty.  So our grateful thanks to Daniel for his fantastic work and our best wishes to Trevor as he prepares to take over the reins.
Find out more about Trevor at:


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Final Year Student Presentations

Each year final year (Senior Sophister) plant science students present the results from their individual final year research projects.

This year posters explaining their research will be on display in the Luce Hall Seminar Room on Wednesday 19th March from 2:00pm . Between  4:00-5:00 pm students will also be in front of their posters to discuss their projects and answer questions, which will the be followed by wine and refreshments.  This is a great opportunity for prospective students to get an insight into the course and to meet final year students and staff.   Freshman Students are especially welcome so we look forward to seeing you. For more information contact  Check out some of our postgraduate posters here

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Check out our favorite blog - Brilliant Botany

Just one of the lovely images on
Brilliant Botany was started in November of 2011 by Claire who has degrees in both Plant Biology and English which is a formidable combination.  She is really passionate about plants and uses her blog to introduce people about the exciting world of plant sciences.  She has produce a fantastic range of posts, especially about careers in botany, as well as a series of wonderful series about plants on You Tube link.  This is a blog you need to check out because you will find yourself going back to it all the time.  

You can contact Claire at or via twitter (@brilliantbotany).

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Lisa Egan awarded PhD on her research on duckweed

Congratulations to Lisa Egan on completing her PhD.  She has been working on the use of duckweed as an indicator of toxicity of acid mine drainage on freshwater ecosystems as well as its potential use as a bioremediation system for the waste streams.  

Acid mine drainage is a globally significant pollutant affecting hundreds of thousands of kilometres of river channel, as well as severely impacting lakes and groundwater. The picture shows a unique system she developed for assessing the surface area of duckweed fronds using digital imaging.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Is biodiversity a driver in the health benefits of green space?
A  Special Seminar will be held on Friday 14th February 2014, 2-3 pm in the Botany Lecture Theatre  by Dr Jenny Roe, Senior Research Leader for Health and Wellbeing, at the Stockholm Environment Institute, University of York.  The talk
 'Is biodiversity a driver in the health benefits of green space?'
examines the effect of green space on wellbeing which is a hot topic just at present. Find out more about Jenny’s research  at

Monday, February 3, 2014

Darwin Day Lecture 2014

In association with the Department of Genetics
The Humanist Association of Ireland

Altruism and the Oddity of Humans

Dr Nicola Marples
Zoology Discipline, College

7.30pm, Wednesday 12th February
JM Synge Theatre
Trinity College

Admission is free, but be sure to get there in good time to secure your seat! 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

BT Young Scientist Competition-bleeding canker disease of horse chestnut

Congratulations to Anna McEvoy, Our Lady’s College, Drogheda, Louth.

First Prize in BT Young Scientist Competition (Biological & Ecological Category)

Her project was on the bleeding canker disease of horse chestnut. In collaboration with Botany, Trinity Centre for Biodiversity Research, she sequenced its DNA from infected Irish trees for the first time, compared its strain to other countries and found a whole host of potentially beneficial bacteria that could be tested for biocontrol agents.