Published: Jan. 20, 2024

For the Love of Flowers

I knew when I was knee-deep in mud, covered head to toe in bug bites, having been measuring flowers for hours, that I was actually doing exactly what I was meant to do. While it may seem brutal, field-based science is where I have had the most meaningful experiences in my biology career. My name is Ash Kerber and I am a senior studying Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. I have a particular interest in angiosperm morphology (color, scent, morphometrics) and pollination syndromes. While botany has been the main focus of my research experience throughout my undergrad, I have had a passion for insect biodiversity since I was a child.  Nowadays, I also prioritize incorporating feminist and anticolonial science practices into the projects I pursue. I have spent the last six months traveling through the jungles of Florida, Ecuador and Brazil to explore these interests, aid in higher level research projects, collaborate with international colleagues and explore what being a dialectical biologist means. During our travels, my labmate and I were fortunate enough to spend every day in the field studying a family of flowers known as Melastomataceae. These unique plants require buzz pollination in order to reproduce, and we are trying to understand why. In my last semester here at CU Boulder, I will be analyzing the videos and specimen samples that we collected over the last six months. This summer, in collaboration with the University of Vienna, Austria, I plan to present our findings at the International Botanical Congress Conference in Madrid, Spain. Wanna see some cool creatures I saw in the jungle? Click here!