Episode 21: Understanding the Language of Plants

Episode 21: Understanding the language of plants

Like a silent battle cry, plants call out to signal they are under siege as a warning to other plants and to call in reinforcements to fend off the invasion. How does this communication work? What else are plants doing to protect themselves from disease and predators alike? In our latest podcast, Natalie Aguirre, a PhD candidate and plant physiology and chemical ecology researcher at Texas A&M University, dives into her research on pathogen infection, water stress, and how plants communicate and defend themselves.


Natalie Aguirre graduated with a degree in biology from Pepperdine University, where she completed an honors thesis conducting research on the interaction of drought stress and pathogen infection in chaparral shrubs. She then spent a year as a Fulbright scholar in Spain, studying the effect of water stress on Dutch Elm Disease. Most recently, Natalie worked for the Everglades Foundation, creating educational programs and materials about the Florida Everglades.

Links to learn more about Natalie Aguirre

Publications by Natalie Aguirre

Natalie Aguirre on Loop Open Science Research Network



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Hello everybody and welcome to We Measure the World, a podcast produced by scientists, for scientists.

Why do plants even produce these chemical compounds? Is it just because they smell nice? A lot of people already know that some flower smells might be a useful to plants to attract pollinators and help aid plants in that way. In reality, there’s a lot of different reasons why plants use these and produce and emit these volatile compounds. And one really cool way is because these plant volatiles that are produced when an herbivore damages a plant, they’re known as herbivore induced plant volatiles. And this specific smell that plants create and emits actually can attract some natural enemies. This means the plant is basically putting out into the environment a smell that some insects or other natural enemies can actually use to locate the herbivore that’s feeding on the plant. It serves the plant like a bodyguard.

That’s a small taste of what we have in store for you today. We Measure the World explores interesting environmental research trends, how scientists are solving research issues, and what tools are helping them better understand measurements across the entire soil plant atmosphere continuum. Today’s guest is Natalie Aguirre, PhD candidate and plant physiology and chemical ecology researcher at Texas A&M University. Natalie graduated with a degree in Biology from Pepperdine University, where she completed an honours thesis conducting research on the interaction of drought stress and pathogen infection in Chaparral shrubs. She then spent a year as a Fulbright scholar in Spain, studying the effect of water stress on Dutch elm disease. Most recently, Natalie worked for the Everglades Foundation, creating educational programs and materials about the Florida Everglades. And today, she’s here to talk about her research on how plants communicate and defend themselves. So Natalie, thanks so much for being here.

Thank you for having me.

We’re excited to talk about plant communication and plant self defense and all of that. So first off, we definitely want to get into your research interests and projects. But first, can you give us a little bit of your background and how you came to be in the field of plant physiology and chemical ecology?

Sure. So my excitement about science started pretty young, and I was able to do some research in unrelated fields in high school. After that, I knew that I enjoyed science and maybe not necessarily working in the lab all the time. When I decided to go to school at Pepperdine. I ended up finding a lab that I loved because we did a lot of research outdoors and we’re studying Chaparral shrubs. During the time that I was a student there, it really was a time where California was experiencing extreme drought. And we were making observations out in the field and noticed that some of the most important shrubs in my opinion out in the hillside, were experiencing a lot of die back, which was this drought induced die back due to pathogen so I spent a lot of time doing research and figured out that that’s pretty much what I wanted to do. My advisor Dr. Steven Davis at Pepperdine, encouraged me to apply for a Fulbright, there was a lab in Spain that is really amazing. And they were doing similar things to what we were doing in California, but studying Dutch elm disease all around Spain, and specifically in Madrid as well. So I got to use the same techniques and meet a lot of cool people doing that Fulbright in Madrid. And upon returning, I ended up applying to this lab at Texas A&M, who my advisor now is Dr. Angela Helms, she sent out an email requesting students to apply to her lab, I decided to switch gears a little bit and move towards chemical ecology and studying a little bit more about how plant volatiles and chemicals are involved in some of the physiological processes that I was already interested in. It’s been very exciting working under her and getting to know a little bit of a different side of scientific research.

That’s great. Let’s go back to your research there at Pepperdine. Can you go into a little bit more detail about what constitutes Chaparral? What are the different species that you’re looking at? And then specifically, like you mentioned, dealing with pathogen infection, what was going on specifically with those infections that those shrubs are dealing with?

So the Chaparral shrub vegetation type is pretty unique. It occurs in different places around the world and one of them being in Southern California. And if you think about being out on a hike, you would see a lot of different low tree shrubs. So I’m trying to describe the height to you. It’d be above your head and there’d be a lot of different species that are dominant in that area. And then there’s also some important plants slike a sage plants so those smell really unique and really fragrant. And then this Chaparral Shep community is also composed of different native grasses that grow closer to the ground there. The landscape and California changes pretty often, especially now with increases in fire frequency. The Sharpe ratio community has different plants that are adapted to these fire intervals. And so some plants they need this fire in order to germinate the seeds in the seed bank. The plant that I studied melasma Lorena uses this Reese broad Vantage to come back after fire. So this specific Chaparral shrub to me, I think I’m a little bit biased, but it’s one of the most important out there in the landscape. Because it has these huge root systems. So the taproot goes down like 30 meters into the ground, and really provides a lot of stability for the hillside. So once we started noticing these major die backs in different pockets of these Chaparral communities throughout California, and specifically in the Santa Monica Mountains, we decided to look a little bit closer. And ended up seeing that it was an opportunistic endophyte, which just means fungus that was able to take advantage of the plant stress during this drought time in California. And I did a little bit more research into finding out exactly why that was happening and how much stress is required and things like this,

Right, I guess, in my mind and not thinking as a plant physiologist or you know, mycologist or whatever. But it would seem that I mean, the the general common sense is that fungus needs nice moist areas to grow and propagate. But you’re saying that fungal communities were then affecting the shrubs during drought seasons during these hot and dry areas? Does that seem counterintuitive? Or is it just me?

If we think about our own bodies, we can have, let’s say a scrape on our arm or something where we might get some kind of bacteria or microbe that could cause an infection. And if we were healthy and not previously sick, let’s say or not stressed out with something going on in our life, then that cut will heal pretty quickly. But if we were extremely sick and the cut was big enough, we might take a really long time to heal. And so when we put that analogy into how the plants on the hillside, this prolonged drought, which is not normal for these plants are occurring over four or five year period are really stressing the plants to an extent that this normally occurring microbe that can live in the plant tissues, and the plant can normally fight it off and resist this infection. It just started spreading.

Is there a specific vector for the fungus?

Yeah, so not this specific one. We didn’t really look into how it was being factored or, or moved around. But I did help some other students throughout my time there. Think about doing some spore trapping throughout the Santa Monica Mountains, where we tried and it’s not very fancy at all. We just dipped microscope slides into some Vaseline and stuck it out in the wild and saw and trying grew what was stuck on to those slides. And so we were trying to get what you’re saying it’s how exactly I say moving from tree to tree, for example. And for this specific microbe, we think that just having spores in the air and maybe a naturally occurring break in a branch, for example, the sport can land there and grow a little bit over time and then take advantage in these instances. And of course, like anything else when it’s doing well start to reproduce and spread that way.

Yeah. So what exactly was the specific effect to the plant from this fungus?

A healthy, very good shrub that’s in good shape. Would have a lot of like stems coming up from the ground because again, it’s one of those tree sprouter’s. So it just shoots up from base. And the stems can extend maybe 10-12 feet in the air and be very bushy, a lot of green, large leaves. And once this infection starts occurring in one of those branches, that it would start to drop its leaves. And so over time, throughout the years, when we really started to notice that there was something happening, you would have a lot more clearance and what the shrubs looked like the above because they’re dropping a lot of leaves. And then ultimately, when the progression of the disease was so bad, then you would have what looks like very dead trees up top.

Is this a matter of these plants then not being able to go dormant? They basically just are dying off, like you said, because that lack of photosynthesis.

This was a question that we were really not sure at the time and the students now at Pepperdine, are continually trying to answer some questions and take more data and observations of what the landscape looks like. Now, over time, they have these great taproot systems, which store a lot of the energy that the planet was making over time. And so the thought was that even if they dropped all their leaves, even if they, you know, had to essentially kill off all of their big, large branches, they could re sprout since that was the mechanism that they used from fire frequencies and how they would cope with that a lot of people when I would give presentations to the public, for example, they would ask like, Well, are the roots dying? Because I need to know if the slope is going to be stable, because my home is directly underneath? And it was really hard for us to answer that question. Because we, and this is a fault to a lot of plant scientists, it’s so much easier to study what’s happening above ground, and really difficult for us to have a good measurement on the effects of this infection below ground. And I tried to understand a little bit more about this root system, the impacts of it on the fungal infection, ultimately, we were able to grow saplings in pots. And what I found interesting from this brief experiment that I did is when I inoculated this fungus into branches up top, it was unable to travel down into the root system. Essentially, what I was measuring was if I can recover this pathogen from the roots, and I never cut, so I didn’t do long enough studies to know if there was large effects on the composition of the root or anything like that. But I at least couldn’t retrieve it from there, which I thought was really interesting.

So with all of this research, were there any specific measurements that you were doing with specific instrumentation? Or was this all just visual observation? What were you doing there?

I participated with other undergrads studying the same project as part of a class. And so there were many students taking a lot of data on different things, but ended up sticking I guess, or what I ended up continuing on for my honors thesis was specifically I was interested in the movement of water to plants. This is known in the field as plant hydraulics. So we were doing a lot of plant hydraulic measurements, we also looked at as the model conductance and photosynthesis rates to know if there was an effect on those types of measurements from this infection. I didn’t quite appreciate this at the time. Now, as a graduate student, I really love being able to use a parameter because it’s such powerful data. And we’re able to retrieve this data so quickly and learn a lot about the system, even if it’s just an initial measurement.

So you were looking at how the leaves were reacting to the fungus. So that helps to stomatal conductance was reacting to the fungal infection.

Yeah, exactly. I also was really interested in how the change in moisture affected the plant as well. An easy way to understand this, especially over time is to know how the plant is responding to opening or closing somata. All right, yeah. So I think my love of the porometer started in California and it really has continued until now.

Are there any ways then to mitigate against these fungal infections there on the chaparral?

Yeah, we haven’t come up with a good solution. To be completely honest. There are ways to mitigate microbial infection in plants. As a community, I think scientists have focused on plants that are really economically important for trees. I should say, I don’t know too much about this. But there are some stories I’ve heard where you can give some kinds of injections to plants and help fight the microbial community that way. Unfortunately, right now in California, they’re just native plants. So the people who care about them are less in abundance, I guess,

Let’s switch gears and follow you over into Spain because it seems that these studies of pathogen infection in plants is kind of your impetus for moving over into Spain. Is that right?

Yeah, that’s right. What I ended up determining is that water was playing a big role in how the plant is able to combat this infection. So Johne’s disease is a completely different scenario. I guess there’s a vector involved with the bark beetle and different plant completely and different environmental conditions that the elm trees grow in was very different to like dry California. But I was still interested in how water was affecting the growth of the pathogen, and also the physiology of the plants.

So in California, we we’re trying to figure out okay, is there stress that’s not necessarily inducing these infections, or at least making them vulnerable to greater infections? Were you seeing that same similar drought flood? Like you said, it’s a different ecosystem, a different environment from for these elm trees and And so I would assume that there’s different impacts that water and drought and temperature and other things might have.

I was really lucky with the lab that I ended up working with because they allowed me to join in on other projects. Originally, I had really wanted to study how the fungus can grow in different water conditions. Specifically in and out of the plants, they ended up realizing that if we tried to grow some of these trees in an environment that also had other microbes present as well, if this can change and help the elm tree and prepare its defenses for future stress because of the disease, even there, my work shifted a little bit. But I would say that what I ended up getting out of the Fulbright the most besides being able to meet new people and learn new techniques, was just being able to think a little bit differently. It was the first time that I was really on my own as a researcher and trying to figure out how my ideas could fit into a different perspective. And so yeah, I find that with Fulbright, in general, a lot of people love their experience, but it ends up being very different than the scientific picture that we have, in our mind going into it.

So a lot of times we talk about how is it best to, quote unquote, translate, you know, scientific language into the language of the public, there seems to be a disconnect with what scientists are finding out in their research and how that is communicated. I would assume that going into a different language as well, it does add complications, but at the same time, it can be very insightful and a good way to get into these other communities. For instance, here in the United States that maybe are primarily Spanish speakers?

It’s true, I think, it just opened up my mind to the idea of communicating science to other cultures. One Direction I think my career will move into is being able to help scientists communicate to the public right now, my advisor has encouraged me to be a science mentor for a science journal that allows scientists to rewrite their articles for young mind. It’s a really cool process. I’ve reviewed several papers. Now, every time I get an article, in my email, I’m like, yes, I’ll review and this specific journal is really cool. In that they also have young minds work as the peer reviewers for the article, what I found is that as much as scientists try, and they know that they’re writing for a specific audience, it is really difficult to think about science in a way that other people can understand. And yeah, pretty much most articles come in. And I just think to myself, wow, scientists really need help in this department.

Yeah. So what is the general process? Then you receive these articles, then are these articles they’re already written or supposed to be written for a younger audience? Is that correct?

Yeah. What I found is that a lot of scientists don’t know that this is out there, this type of journal that allows you to republish your work, and they actually counts as a full on publication, the one that’s written for kids, so you can cite it. So in my opinion, valuable to a scientists as well to be able to do this, but they submit the article. And like any other article, there’s often co authors and graphs of data that are in these articles. I think throughout the process, the authors are able to really take a step back and receive feedback from young kids. I’ve worked with students in elementary and middle school, both here in Texas, and also at home in Miami. It’s just so funny what these students say. And the whole process is really enjoyable for me to be able to interact with these students. And they really take it on as a big responsibility that they’re in charge of, which is really nice. I think it’s a different way to think about science, especially as a young kid. Ultimately, we submit reviews in the forum and the platform, and the scientists have to make those edits and changes and re-upload them to a script. Yeah, it’s the same process but with a little bit of a twist.

I did have a couple of questions back with the Dutch elm disease. So the beetles are feeding off of the trees. The fungus is on the beetles, the fungus is then spread to the trees, and then the beetles are picking up the fungus from the trees itself. So is it all kind of self contained within that community?

Yeah, exactly. Factoring of diseases occurs very differently in different systems, which I find really crazy but for this specific disease, and a lot of other ones the bark beetle was just trying to enter the plants in order to feed on the good tissues, right. So a lot of the times the most nutritious will be underneath the bark. And like you mentioned, the pathogen can stick onto the beetle and move to the next plant that way or a clean individual bark beetle can get infected and take that to another one because it consumed tissue that had the disease. And now a little bit of what I’ve learned throughout my PhD, it’s also interesting because sometimes the pathogen itself can manipulate these types of factors, specifically insects to aid itself in spread, I guess, or spreading to other diseases. So while it’s been a long time since I’ve thought about the Dutch Elm system, but I don’t know too much about the motivation of the I guess. And the relationship with the insect in that regard. But yeah, it is pretty crazy to think that even as scientists as researchers, what we think is happening might not be the full story.

I would assume that there are many, like you said different angles for mitigation as well. So you could tackle the you know, the beetle itself or the fungus or even just the stress, right?

Yeah, Spain spends a lot of money in finding research about Dutch Elm disease. And the angle that we took in the lab that I was in was resistant varieties of Elm plants. So they had found different Elm individuals throughout the country. And they were these healthy looking Elms, amongst other not so healthy looking plants, and they bring back cuttings and try to propagate and determine which are like the most resistant individuals of Elm trees were used in farming of grapes. And they would actually serve as the posts that allow the grapes to grow up because Elm trees are just you know, like one second, especially as a young saplings and they don’t branch very much. And so when people would move from place to place there was on trees planted as they went along to help in this cultivation of grapes. So now they have these stands of Elm trees that grow in very differing conditions. You mentioned flooding earlier, and they oftentimes do grow by rivers and more moist areas. But going back to how this started, one of the ways this lab specifically tackled the problem of Dutch Elm disease was planting more resistant varieties of Elm in places where the population might be struggling.

Alright, let’s switch over and talk about your current PhD research looking at plant volatiles plant physiology and moving from pathogens to herbivores, or other other consumers of these plants and how that affects plants defense and communication.

Yeah, the world of chemical ecology, I just think is crazy. There’s so much going on out there that we don’t understand still, and so many volatiles that are present. So for those listening who might not think of plant volatiles, we often like to say that the smell of freshly cut grass or the smell that you encounter in the kitchen, when you’re chopping herbs, all of these plant volatiles that we think about are really useful to plants and communication of different events going on in the community. Yeah, I was really unaware of all of this occurring in our world until I started this PhD. And now, I just think it’s the most fascinating thing.

So what are some of the specific questions that you’re getting at with these volatiles and how they affect plants and the plant physiology and other things?

Yeah. So I guess in order to describe my main question, I need to give a little bit of introduction into why do plants even produce these chemical compounds? Is it just because they smell nice? A lot of people already know that some flower smells might be useful to plants to attract pollinators and help aid plants in that way. In reality, there’s a lot of different reasons why plants use these and produce and emit these volatile compounds. And one really cool way is because these plant volatiles that are produced when an herbivore damages the plants, they’re known as herbivore induced plant volatiles, and this specific smell that plants creates and emits actually can attract some natural enemies. This means the plant is basically putting out into the environment a smell that some insects or other natural enemies can actually use to locate the herbivore that’s feeding on the planet. It serves the plants like a bodyguard, I guess. Yeah. And so that’s one really cool way. And the fields is also discovered that plants can communicate with other plants in its vicinity. So we call them neighboring plants. And some people have looked at the relationship between the individuals. So if the plant is closely related to an individual that’s five meters away versus the one directly next to it, it will have better communication with the directly related individual even though it’s further away. So these are questions that are, I think, relatively new and not flushed out. So what might occur in one species doesn’t occur for all, you know, but yeah, very interesting things like that, we’re able to learn now about how plants are communicating with volatiles. And specifically, when I first learned about how these plants sort of communicating with smells, I guess, what I knew about plants was their physiology. So I know a lot about how water moves through them. And I knew that they responded to water stress by closing the pores called Samad on the surface. And I was like, Okay, so the volatiles enter through the pores. And my advice is like, well, we don’t know, we don’t know, if they entered through the plants, if they’re perceived on the outside, you know, we don’t exactly know how the plants are perceiving these compounds, and where that’s occurring. So I was like, Oh, this is exactly what we need to know. It’s like the first step. And I’m not the first person but I am happy to be here and try and see if I can answer these questions.

First of all, I guess, what were some of your hypotheses or your predictions, as you were going into this project,

I initially hypothesized that the important volatiles that we’re studying in the lab would enter plants through the stomata. And mainly this is a really good place to start, I think because we know that the stomata are responsible for gas exchange. So that’s their job. They’re letting gases in and letting them and I thought, Okay, this, this is a great place. So if I had to have one statement that just stamps my whole dissertation, it’s that one, but it’s such a big question, I guess. The more I look into it, the more I realize, man, it takes a lot of work to be able to say that that’s definitively true. The stomata has the port of entry for volatile compounds is also really promising because other people have shown that volatiles do enter the plant leaves. So that’s one step. Like a lot of people might think that’s obvious when not a lot of people have shown that the plants are actually taking up these volatiles. And so there have been some studies that show that that plants use a volatile that has been marked in some way by the lab, and they able to track this molecule and it’s converted into other molecules that then can be used for defense, for example. So we do know that at least some of these larger compounds that are important in this type of plant communication, specifically referring to herbivory do enter the plant. We also think that the volatile compounds are exiting leaves via the stomata instead of just diffusion or maybe mechanical breaking one that insect consumes the plants, that’s another option. There have been studies that show that that volatiles are produced in some areas of the leaf that haven’t been broken specifically by the herbivore. And if these volatiles don’t exit out of the whole set of the stomata, then they would build up and become toxic to the plants. And so through that sort of reasoning, they’ve determined that the stomata must be the exit port for a lot of these volatile compounds.

It’s super fascinating this whole idea of plant communication, these volatiles are going from plant to plant. And when the plant takes in these volatiles, what is the next step of its self defense process?

Sure. These volatiles are being used by the plant as a cue, right that there’s an attacker near, I guess. So it’s really crazy because different species have different strategies. So different plants use this same cue to do something completely different. So in one instance, the cue could mean that the plant needs to induce defenses because surely an herbivore is about to come. And so it will start signaling within cells to create defensive compounds and then the plant will be less palatable to that insects, for example, and there’s really high degree of specificity so specific insects that are consuming a plant. So for example, I study corn, but we can think of any plant species, it produces different smells or different volatile blends, depending on that herbivore. So it actually senses different compounds in the saliva or in the regard to tint of different insects, it’s able to then manipulate the smells to be more reliable for its neighbors. So this strategy of induced defense is one way to combat this. But the one that is more closely related to my research is called defense priming. The induce defenses would be great if an herbivore actually appears and starts trying to consume the plant, it would have been a great strategy to use. But if there’s no herbivore, then the plant would have used a lot of energy and resources. In order to produce these defenses that were really not useful to it, there is another strategy that plants can actually prime their defenses so we can think of it like being in a ready state, and only when an herbivore comes near and starts to consume the plants and the plant recognizes the herbivore then is able to really induce these high levels of defense of compounds. related to my research, I use these known defense priming cues or these volatile compounds that we know in corn prime plants as a way to understand if when I expose corn plants to different volatile compounds, if they were able to hear this or smell this and ready their defenses. As researchers, we are able to take advantage of these known strategies that plants are using in this communication to try to answer different questions,

right. I was trying to wrap my head around how corn evolved these triggers. Is this something that is from precursor state? Or is this something that has quickly evolved over just a few 1000 years or even a few 100 years.

So the native plant that corn was bred from or maize that we know today is called teosinte. And I’m not very well versed on how well teosinte is able to prime its defenses, I’d imagine that it’s been co evolved with definitely this idea of coevolution with different insects and how better or worse maybe the plants are able to communicate due to really long term interactions is really important. However, the more we learn about what these blends are composed of the more realized that a lot of the compounds that are in the blends are consistent through out different species of plants, volatiles. And so it adds another layer of complexity because we need to then figure out if it’s the ratios of these volatile compounds, but that’s doing the major communicating, right, or maybe the presence of one volatile in conjunction with another one, for example. And I specifically ended on corn because again, I’m really interested in the stomatal aperture, how open and closed they’re in this whole plant process. With breeding plants over time, we’ve selected for the ability for plants to maximize yields, right, so like open stomatal while they photosynthesize as much as possible. And then close over time. And corn is really good at doing this. And so it is a model system in chemical ecology and also in plant breeding as well.

Right. What are the implications of your research? Or what do you think that you can add to the field as it goes forward in the future?

Yeah, so we’ve talked a lot about plant defenses in the past few minutes. And this is really intriguing for farmers and people who are growing crops and thinking about how to help plants defend themselves against these pests that reduce yields and reduce our ability to produce food. And so there’s thoughts of using different volatile compounds to lower insects away from fields or maybe compounds that can help boost this natural immunity of plants or this prime state. I think that research looking at how these compounds are interacting with plants, so maybe getting into plants or how they might change the plants physiologies I think that the field of chemical ecology could really be combined with plant physiology in order to help better agriculture and help understand how we can use this to be more efficient in our crop production. I think what I’ve found is that and I say I think because I’m still not a million percent convinced that I can make such a bold claim. But I really do think that the properties of these volatile compounds will determine how they will enter into plant leaves. And so I think that when we use whole blends of compounds, there could be molecules with different properties that might be able to enter via diffusion, right, like small molecules. But in general, I think that my research has shown that larger compounds do require this stomatal pore as a port of entry. And then to further complicate things, we know that environmental context now is super important, not only because it changes this stomatal aperture, at night, plants close their stomata, but then their defenses might change based on what they perceive in these different contexts. So just so many possibilities, but one thing when you said that about nocturnal herbivores, I think that plants might also be able to open their stomata a little bit more to maybe hear better or smell better, or whatever verb you want to use. And so some of my Somatal conductance data has shown that, yeah, maybe during the day, they’re better at modulating this to be able to fine tune what they might have heard. And at night, maybe there’s completely different compounds that could allow this to happen and try and smell if an herbivore is present at night.

That’s super cool. Did you have anything else that you wanted to add? We know you have a passion for bringing stem research to underserved communities? Can you go into a little detail about that?

Yeah, so I didn’t grow up in a community that’s much like anywhere else in the US. Communities where there’s a lot of huge Hispanic population, or different diverse communities, oftentimes lack the availability to have different types of professionals present in large abundances in the community, I guess. And I just think that it’s this presence of being able to see somebody who maybe sounds like you, or looks like you or something like that. I just think that it’s the awareness that’s able to propel kids in different directions that they might not have gone forward with, if they didn’t know. And so after graduation, I want to move back to Miami and be able to talk science to different communities that not necessarily are younger, I really think that the elderly are really underserved community as well, especially in science, we don’t really write or communicate with elderly folks very much. And I think that they’re pretty vulnerable to being lonely or not have as much intellectual stimulation. So there’s a lot of different communities out there that I find really enjoy a lot of like the common science thing, you know, like everyone has smelled freshly cut grass, and most of us love it. Yeah. So just being able to provide a little bit more scientific context to different groups, I think is hopefully how I can spend my life in the future.

I think that’s a great endeavor, being able to communicate scientific research and findings to everybody, you know, young, old, those in our field, those who are out of our field. All of that is super important in helping our society flourish, I think.

Thank you. Thanks so much for having me.

All right. Our time’s up for today. Thanks again, Natalie, for joining us. We really do appreciate you taking the time to talk with us.

Thank you.

Also you in the audience. If you have any questions about this topic or want to hear more, feel free to contact us at metergroup.com or reach out to us on Twitter @meter_env. And you can also view the full transcript from today in the podcast description. That’s all for now. Stay safe, and we’ll catch you next time on We Measure the World!

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