Science on Tap

Monthly over Zoom*

Come one, come all to the “science café” in Santa Cruz. This event is designed to connect the Santa Cruz community to the latest research happening just up the hill at U.C. Santa Cruz.  It is not an exclusive “club meeting” for scientists and science majors and aims to appeal to all audiences. So come, grab a beer, relax and hear some interesting cutting edge science that’s happening near you! Science on Tap is based on the Nova and Sigma Xi "science café" model and is generally on the last Wednesday of every month.


*Due to Covid-19, we will host mostly meetings online via Zoom. 

Zoom edition of Science on Tap May, 27th 2020
May 27, 7:00 PM
Online event

"Science on Safari: tourist photographs as a tool for wildlife monitoring"

 Kasim Rafiq
Postdoctoral Researcher in the Wilmers lab at UC Santa Cruz
Animal populations have declined on average by 60% since 1970, and it is predicted that around a million species are at risk of extinction. In the face of this, protected and wildlife areas are critical to conservation efforts. Unfortunately, many are underfunded and lack the resources for even basic wildlife monitoring. In Africa, for example, the total funding deficits of protected areas with lions is estimated at between 0.9-2.1 billion USD.  This is a problem because understanding the health of wildlife populations is important for diagnosing problems and diverting conservation resources to the right areas at the right times. In this talk, I’ll be sharing stories and pictures to discuss some of the most commonly used wildlife monitoring techniques in sub-Saharan Africa and how we found that tourist holiday snaps could fill a data gap for some of African’s most charismatic species. We’ll also discuss why partnerships with technology and safari companies can help to collect this wildlife data over larger scales. 

Who: Everyone! Not just scientists!
When: Wednesday, November 2oth at 7:00 pm 
Where: Outdoor patio at The Crepe Place (1134 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz) -- Make sure to make reservations & to dress warmly!

Science on Tap *NEW*

Monthly at The Catalyst 

      Join us at the "science pub" in Santa Cruz. This event is designed to connect the Santa Cruz community to the latest research happening just up the hill at U.C. Santa Cruz. It also provides an opportunity for graduate students to share their research with the community! 

     The event will be followed by "Sci-Fi Movie Night" at The Catalyst where one of your favorite sci-fi movies will be presented at 8 pm(please visit '' for more movie details). Science on Tap with generally start at 6:45 pm and the Sci-Fi movie will be shown at 8 pm. Science on Tap is generally on the second Monday of every month and is a free event! While this community event is designed for everyone, not just scientist is it 21 and over. We look forward to seeing you there! 

If you are interested in presenting at this event please email "" with the subject line "Science on Tap at the Catalyst". Please include your name, academic year, department, research topic, and availablity. Thank you! 

Return of the dead: How resurrection

plants come back to life

Helen Holmlund

  University of California, Santa Cruz


Most plants die when they dry out, but resurrection plants are an exception to this rule. Resurrection plants can lose almost all their water and then come back to life when they are watered again. We call these plants “desiccation tolerant,” because they can survive near-complete desiccation (drying). In fact, most plants are desiccation tolerant at the seed stage, but only a few plants also have desiccation-tolerant leaves, stems, and roots. Desiccation tolerance might seem like the ultimate plant super power, but there are some challenges associated with being a resurrection plant. Plants have a vascular system, kind of like we do. When resurrection plants resurrect, they need to restore water flow through their vascular system. My collaborators and I used high-resolution CT scans (x-rays) to see inside the plants while they were resurrecting. Our results show that these resurrection plants have several special traits that help them restore water flow through their vascular system.

Who: Everyone! Not just scientists! (21+)
When: Monday, November 11th th at 7:00 pm 
Where: The Catalyst (1011 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz) 

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