Science Café @ the Garden

Sponsored by the College of Science, this series of public talks, given by University of Arizona professors and graduate students bring the community together in a casual setting to learn about the latest research being conducted. You can get to know the faces behind the science, have opportunities to ask questions and deepen your understanding of the world around you. There are five, separate café series at different locations around Tucson now including Tucson Botanical Gardens.  Come join the conversation!

Learn more about UA Science Cafés 

The Diversity of Life: Origins, Perils, and Conservation

First Thursday of the Month, 6 to 7 p.m.

Have you ever marveled at the beauty and diversity of life on Earth and pondered how it all came to be?  How life is organized from cells to ecosystems? Why biodiversity is important?  What current threats imperil biodiversity, and how do we respond to them?  Join experts from the UA Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in a series of talks that explore the origins of life, the processes underlying its diversity, the impacts of invasive species, and the dramatic efforts to restore some of the most endangered plants on the planet.

Thursday, September 6, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.

Rescuing Hawai’i’s Silverswords and Lobeliads from the Brink of Extinction

Presenter: Rob RobichauxUniversity Distinguished Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona

The native Hawaiian silversword and lobeliad lineages are marvels of plant evolution. Yet the two lineages now include some of the world’s most critically imperiled plants. Focusing on the Kaʻū silversword and Pele lobeliad as examples, Dr. Robichaux discusses the highly collaborative, long-term endangered plant reintroduction efforts on Hawai‘i Island. He also discusses linking the reintroduction efforts to landscape restoration at large scales on the eastern slopes of Mauna Loa and Kīlauea volcanoes, some of the youngest and most geologically active parts of the Hawaiian archipelago.


Thursday, October 4, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.

Plant Diversity: A History of Duplications and Innovations

Presenter: Mike Barker, Associate Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona

The opportunity to view the diversity of plant life is one of the main attractions of botanical gardens. Plants display amazing variation in form and function. Much of this variation arose quickly, especially when compared with the diversity of animal life. How and when did plant diversity arise? In this talk, Dr. Mike Barker from the University of Arizona will discuss the evolution of plant diversity and our current thinking on how it arose. He will share work from his research on plant genomics that provides new insight into our understanding of plant diversity.


Thursday, November 1, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.

Beyond Buffelgrass: What makes a Plant Invasive?

Presenter: Katrina Dlugosch, Associate Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona

As gardeners, we are familiar with weeds, but what makes a plant ‘invasive’? In this talk, Dr. Katrina Dlugosch from the University of Arizona will discuss what species invasions mean, their impacts, and why we think they happen. She will also share some insights gained from her’s own lab’s research on plants and their genomes, where they are studying what makes some species of thistle so successful in western grasslands. Finally, she will consider what about species invasions we should be aware of as gardeners and plant lovers.


Thursday, December 6, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. 

From Cells to Ecosystems: The Future of Biodiversity

Presenter: Brian Enquist, Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary, University of Arizona

From tropical rainforests to the high arctic and back to the blackboard, developing mathematical theory, Dr. Enquist’s talk will explore the concepts of global ecology.  His research focuses on understanding biological phenomena from genes to whole ecosystems.  Insights from his work are contributing to new understanding and tools to predict the effects of global climate change on biological diversity and ecosystem health in the future.


Series special Offer!

*Guests of the Science Café are invited to stroll the gardens, after the talk, courtesy of the Tucson Botanical Gardens (Open 7 – 8:30 p.m.)
*It is strongly suggested that guests make reservations in advance, if they would like to dine @ Café Botanica