Dance Your Ph.D.

Dance Your Ph.D. is an annual video contest sponsored by Gonzo Labs and the American Academy for the Advancement of Science. The challenge is to present some concept or component of your Ph.D research in an interpretive dance. With the support of my lab and a few mentors at school, I dove into the project. Check it out below:

So what does it all mean? I hope much of the basic science or motivation behind my research was clear from the video. Early on we chose to rely on the dance and filming to relay the message instead of providing captions or other forms of text to lead you along. So here I've provided a little debriefing on what I hope you saw.

The ballet dancers are trees. To start the video they are "wild" and have many small apples which are insufficient for sale.

The drummers are fruit growers. Drumsticks become our symbol for pruners and very quickly the growers overwhelm the "wild" trees to a heavily managed system. The trees are pushed back stage to a barre where they are capable of producing a few large apples ideal for market.

One tree is left behind and shows that in her "heavily managed" state and without the barre to hold her up she cannot support the weight of the large apples.

This is where my work comes in. My goal is to develop an understanding of fruit trees so that I can recommend a management strategy that acknowledges the physiological constraints imposed on fruit trees through evolution while also producing an economically viable fruit. The resulting tree represents a "natural" tree architecture that actually uses fewer resources to produce fruit by achieving maximum physiological efficiency.

With this knowledge, I transform the heavily managed orchard into a balanced orchard that combines knowledge from natural forest and domesticated orchard research.

If we did a good job with the video, you knew all of that already.

Thanks to all who participated in the production of the video and supported us along the way!

--- Utah State Today ---
--- Salt Lake Tribune ---
--- Herald Journal --- 
--- USU Ignite, Nicole Martineau ---