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Science on Sundays: July 2024

The extraordinary ecology of drylands. A talk by Dr Courtney Currier, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge

  • 21st July 2024 - 21st July 2024
  • 2:30 pm - 3:00 pm

From exploring herbarium uses to discovering the secrets of wildflowers and fungi, come and discover the fascinating world of plant science in just 30 minutes! Science on Sundays is a free, informal and monthly series of talks, sharing the latest discoveries in plant science and research with our visitors.

Sandy dunescapes, blowing hot wind and parched lips. When you hear the word “desert,” do these descriptions come to mind? Like so many people, Courtney carried these stereotypes with her when she moved to the Sonoran Desert in the southwestern United States. What she learned over ten years was how biologically diverse, evolutionary exquisite, and globally relevant these ecosystems are! Drylands are water-limited ecosystems that cover almost half the world’s terrestrial surface, store about as much carbon in their topsoils as forest plants globally and are home to over one third of the world’s human population. These ecosystems are transforming in the public eye from post-apocalyptic wastelands to key players for climate change mitigation. Yet climate extremes, like drought and flooding, and increased disturbance frequency, like fire, also make these landscapes particularly vulnerable to rapid change.

Please join Courtney for a 30-minute seminar and conservation, where she will share research and stories about these extraordinary ecosystems.

We will be running these talks live from the Botanic Garden Classroom for those visiting the Garden on the day.

Free with normal Garden admission.

Please check the website and social media for updates.

Suitable for adults and children aged 12+.

Talks run monthly March to August.


  • Assistance dogs welcome
  • Disabled Accessibility
  • Facilities for Disabled Guests
  • wheelchair access

Accessibility Facilities

  • Assistance dogs welcome
  • Designated wheelchair public toilet
  • Wheel chair accessible

Did you know?

Telegenic Cambridge has served as a backdrop for many films and TV series, from the obvious – such as Chariots of Fire, The Theory of Everything and ITV’s Grantchester – to the more unexpected, including Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.