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The “Unloved Animals Club” has the vision to highlight those species that are unloved, underappreciated or misunderstood, and asking people to give them greater consideration and love. In "The Battle of the Kingdoms" event we will expand beyond the animal kingdom to include the plant and fungi kingdoms as well. Each speaker will be the champion for a kingdom, introducing the audience to some of the creatures that form them and their importance. At the end of the night the audience will decide which kingdom they love the most. So come ready to learn, have fun and vote!
Why fungi are the best friends (and enemies) you never knew you had
Rowena Hill (PhD Researcher, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and Queen Mary University of London)
The kingdom Fungi represents a huge chunk of life on earth, and yet most of us grow up without really learning anything about them. But fungi are essential to life as we know it - they helped build our beautiful green planet and are constantly working behind the scenes to keep it going. At the same time, fungal pathogens are a major global threat that could be the next international time bomb. I’ll let you know why fungi are the coolest, weirdest, most underrated kingdom, and how most things come back to fungi in the end.
A Lot More Than a Sting
My talk is about wasps, your stripy picnic friend and some of the other 100k species in this group! I’ll tell you everything about them. Things beyond your imagination. Here’s some tasters: there are five times more species of wasps than bees; some wasps have sex inside plants; others turn cockroaches into zombies. Wasps taught us how to make paper; they are architects, guardians of microorganisms, invaders, pollinators, seed dispersers, predators, pest controllers and pharmacists; they might even hold a cure for cancer. I guarantee that wasps will blow you (and my contenders) into orbit.
No kingdoms without plants
Carlos Magdalena (Science & Horticulture Research Assistant at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew)
Plants are the green glue that sticks the world’s ecosystems together making life as we know it, possible. They are atmosphere architects, soil masters and real capos of the most addictive substance, sugar. While awake we use several plant species mostly without noticing. From food, fibres, paper, clothes, medicines to even poetry, plants an endless source of inspiration and resources to solve most of the world’s problems. Yet 3 out of 5 plant species are threatened with extinction and many disappear before their discovery. Curing this plant blindness could change how we ‘see the world’.