Dr. Merav Vonshak is a former guest on the podcast from episode 7. Merav is an ecologist, naturalist, and citizen science organizer (see BioBlitz.club) located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Merav volunteers as a curator on iNaturalist, and has an astounding 42800 observations on iNaturalist. She has also lead a project to document and raise awareness about the tragically high roadkill mortality of pacific newts along Lexington reservoir in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Merav is one of those people who has many fascinating projects and nature observations. But today, we’re talking about her latest idea – Gall Week 2021, which is planned from October 2 to October 10 (yes, it is a week PLUS a bonus weekend!).The idea is to get everyone, regardless of naturalist ability, to get out and observe these fascinating creatures.
If you aren’t sure what a plant gall is, I can point back just two episodes ago to my interview with Adam Kranz covering all things galls. But the short answer is these are beautiful and sometimes bizarre growths on plant tissues induced by another organism, such as a wasp, midge, or many others. They often develop vivid colors and evocative shapes, and all have fascinating natural histories. These growths occur specifically to support the life cycle of the inducer, and are often induced in amazingly precise ways.
Today Merav tells us about the project, how to participate, and has a few tips and tricks for documenting your observations.
While you are welcome to listen to my show using the above link, you can help me grow my reach by listening through one of the podcast services (Apple, Google, Stitcher, etc) linked on the right. And while you’re there, will you please consider subscribing?
Links To Topics Discussed
Gall Week 2021 iNaturalist Project – join this project so you can add it to your gall observations
Books and Gall Resources
Gallformers.org – searchable (by host plant or gall) website with detailed descriptions of galls
Plant Galls of the Western United States, by Ronald Russo – HIGHLY recommended
iNaturalist Gall Projects:
Merav has a pamphlet of San Francisco Bay Area galls
Note: links to books are affiliate links
Opening – Fearless First by Kevin MacLoed
Closing – Beauty Flow by Kevin MacLoed
Both can be obtained from https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/