How do you identify a plant when you need to see inside some barely visible flowers on the outside? Cuscuta (Dodders) is an obligately parasitic plant found worldwide. Members of the Cuscuta genus tap into their host using haustoria, which enables them access to the vascular system, and thus an abundance of nutrients. It has the appearance of spaghetti as it takes a stranglehold over trees, crops and other vegetation. As part of a directed study with Dr. Costea, I will be photographing (using a Nikon SMZ1500 microscope and PAX-IT software) many different dodders from Chile to Quebec, with the goal of facilitating the identification, study and characterization of this ill-studied and interesting group of plants.
When not pouring over samples of Cuscuta, I enjoy working out, cycling, traveling, swimming, and enjoying nature in all itís beauty. I am currently finishing up my undergraduate in Biology with an option in Environmental Science and a minor in French.