Skip to main content

After Dark: Roots

Branches and leaves on the forest floor
After Dark: Roots

Uncover the underground life of plants! Find out how plant roots serve up necessary carbon, water, and more for healthy life—then hear from researchers about how roots adapt to climate change. Get an up-close look at root systems, and learn about the vast underground networks that connect plants to each other across species to communicate and share resources.


On a continuous loop
Bechtel Gallery 3

By Andres Gonzalez

Head to the Wattis Studio in Bechtel Gallery 3 and immerse yourself in Sempervirens by Andres Gonzalez. The work combines video and photography to document sequoias and redwoods in Vallejo, CA, where Andres lives. It reflects on their relationship to time and place, and considers the way their roots reach toward those of nearby trees and often entwine with them to create support—reminiscent of human emotion and Andres’s own family connections. 

Andres Gonzalez is a visual artist based in Vallejo. He has published two books, Some(W)Here and American Origami, which won the Light Work Photobook Award and was shortlisted for the Paris Photo–Aperture Photobook Awards. He is a Fulbright Fellow and has received recognition from the Pulitzer Center and the Alexia Foundation.  

TERI: Seeing the Hidden Half of Plants
6:30–9:30 p.m.
Osher Gallery 1: Human Phenomenon

With Chunwei Chou and Jiannan Wang

Root systems reveal some of the most important information we can learn about plants, but until now it’s been a struggle to look at them without destroying them. Tonight, meet the team from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who developed TERI (Tomographic Electrical Rhizosphere Imager), a sensing technology that allows scientists to look closely at plant root systems while keeping them in situ and intact. Get up close with this new tool, learn about how it works, and find out what it’s uncovering.

Finding Fungi in Roots
6:30–9:30 p.m.
Osher Gallery 1: Human Phenomenon

With Peter Taylor Pellitier

All plant roots have microbes living inside, on, or around them—no exceptions. Join Stanford researcher Peter Taylor Pellitier to peel back the story of how scientists study the microbes that live in these environments. Discover DNA-sequencing approaches, dive into professional databases, and look at the diversity of these organisms. Explore cutting-edge approaches and what these tools can tell us about the future of microbes in a changing climate.

Peter Taylor Pellitier is an NSF Postdoc in the Stanford Department of Biology and the School of Sustainability. He studies the ecology of bacteria and fungi that inhabit forest biomes.

Plant Propagation Station
6:30–9:30 p.m.
Osher Gallery 1: Human Phenomenon

As spring springs all around, step up to our plant propagation station to learn more about how certain plant species are ready to multiply at the cut of a stem. See a variety of propagation-prone plants at different stages of their root development—and carefully clip from a selection of potted plants to take your own propagator home to grow. In time, pass on the propagation!

Wood Wide Web
7:00 and 8:00 p.m.
Osher West Gallery, Black Box

With Ariellah, Kaeshi Chai, and Marjorye Maciel

Beneath the forest, trees are connected and communicate through a network of fungi and bacteria. Tonight, watch this usually secret communication come to light in a special performance by PURE Globe dancers.

Talk Dirty to Me: Plant Roots and Microbes
7:30 p.m.
Kanbar Forum

With Lorenzo Washington

Did you know that plant roots are hotspots for microbial activity? Join researcher Lorenzo Washington to dig into the why and how of this relationship and its connection to the larger ecosystem. And learn about some especially close relationships between plants and microbes.

Lorenzo Washington (he/they) is a PhD candidate in Dr. Henrik Scheller’s lab at the Plant and Microbial Biology Department at UC Berkeley and the Joint BioEnergy Institute. He studies how plant–microbial symbioses occur through molecular signals and modifying structural features.

Through the Lens: Plant Plates and Fungi Roots
6:30–7:00 and 8:30–9:30 p.m.
Osher Gallery 1: Human Phenomenon

With Lorenzo Washington

Get a look at a selection of plants at different stages of growth—and how their roots are stained by fungi! Armed with a microscope, researcher Lorenzo Washington takes you on an up-close tour.

The First Entanglement
8:30 p.m.
Osher Gallery 1: Human Phenomenon

With Regina Sobel, Jeffrey Ross-Ibarra, and Jennifer Frazier

Did humans domesticate plants, or did they domesticate us? In the short film The First Entanglement (2023, 13 min.) director Regina Sobel explores the origins of agriculture and probes the complicated and far-reaching impact humans have had on the evolution of plants. After the screening, stay for a conversation with Regina and evolutionary biologist Jeffrey Ross-Ibarra, moderated by Jen Frazier of the Science Communication Lab. They’ll consider the birth of agriculture across cultures and examine how new technologies are changing the trajectory of agriculture today. 

Jeffrey Ross-Ibarra is a professor in the Department of Evolution and Ecology and a faculty member at the Center for Population Biology and the Genome Center at UC Davis. His research lab works on the evolutionary genetics of maize and its wild relatives, the teosintes.

Regina Sobel is a Senior Producer at the Science Communication Lab’s Wonder Collaborative. She edited and cowrote the feature documentary Human Nature, for which she received International Documentary Association and Emmy Award nominations for best editing.

Moderated by Jennifer Frazier, Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Science Communication Lab and adjunct professor at UCSF.

DJ Dance Party
6:30–9:30 p.m.
Bechtel Gallery 3

With DJ Lexapeel

Get ready to dance your way through the night as DJ Lexapeel sets the vibe and keeps the party moving!

DJ Lexapeel is a Los Angeles native whose love for music is the driving force behind her curation of eclectic vibes in every city she visits. Her distinct sonic collection of hip-hop, trap, jazz, R&B, Afrobeats, and house rocks crowds with ease.

Food and drinks will be available for purchase at our Seaglass Restaurant and additional bar locations.

Curious about what to expect during your visit? Check out our current safety protocols and guidelines.