Adult Programs

Join us for Café Scientifique

Interested in science? Want to learn more about the latest technology breakthroughs in normal English, minus the jargon? Then Café Scientifique Pittsburgh at Carnegie Science Center is the place to be!

Café Sci is THE place in Pittsburgh where anyone interested in science can get together at a scientific hub to discuss today's science issues with experts, and best of all... you can ask your own questions! After a brief talk by our monthly guest speaker, the evening is dedicated to a question-and-answer session. Plus, enjoy our pub-type atmosphere with food and drinks available for purchase.

Join us for Café Scientifique on Monday, October 6.


Dr. Cynthia Morton

Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Curator of Botany


Assuring Urban Forest Health and Sustainability via Tree Genetic Diversity

As a botanist, Dr. Cynthia Morton, curator of botany at Carnegie Museum of Natural History, has worked locally and internationally to collect specimens for phylogenetic analysis of molecular and morphological data. The range of projects include redefining the citrus family, constructing genomic maps, cleaning ground water, and investigating park and nursery tree genetics.

Her work in 2008 compared the level of genetic variation in London Plane trees already existing in the Pittsburgh area with trees of the same species currently available from three commercial nurseries. The genetic diversity was far greater in the older urban tree samples compared to the nursery samples, indicating that the nursery industry has been selectively cloning to produce new trees. While cloning trees is in itself a benign practice, doing so on a mass scale without a proper understanding of the implications of drastically reducing the genetic diversity of urban forests is ill-advised. A greater understanding of urban tree genetic diversity will allow policy makers, city planners, environmental agencies, and the nursery industry to make informed decisions and recommendations to improve practices for maintaining a robust tree landscape for the future.

An urban environment rich with trees is highly valued for its aesthetic qualities as well as its environmental benefits, such as reducing summer cooling costs, carbon sequestration, intercepting airborne pollutants, and reducing storm water runoff. In the United States, urban forests are estimated to contain about 3.8 billion trees, with an estimated structural asset value of $2.4 trillion. Billions of federal, local and private dollars are spent annually on management, labor, and the trees themselves as part of tree revitalization projects, and millions more are spent by individual homeowners to improve their environment and property values. Despite this multi-billion dollar urban tree economy, little work has been done to understand urban tree genetic diversity as an issue of vulnerability, or to examine the long-term impacts of urban tree genetic diversity on the sustainability of the urban environment.

Morton's research has been featured in newspapers, videos, and in peer-reviewed scientific articles.

Date: Monday, October 6, 2014
Time: Doors open at 6 pm, and the program is 7-9 pm.
Location: Carnegie Science Center
Admission: FREE!
Parking: $5
Cash bar: Open from 6-7:30 pm

NOTE: Click here to let us know you're coming, even if you don't plan to buy food.

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