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Back Garden Biology

In this fun and informative series Dr Lindsay Turnbull, Associate Professor and Fellow of The Queen’s College, Oxford University, looks at the biology of the back garden. This series is recorded hot off the press in a normal garden in England beginning in March 2020 and would be of interest to anyone from age 5+. The series is particularly useful for children missing school who would like to carry on practical work in their own garden and have an expert help them understand the theory behind everyday biology. Packed with things to see right now, take the edge off your enforced boredom by venturing into the back garden.

# Episode Title Description People Date
1 Creative Commons One billion years a slave Peering into a drop of pondwater allows you to look back in time and see key events in the history of life on Earth. Lindsay Turnbull, Stuart West 06 Aug 2020
2 Creative Commons Feed the birds? What do birds like eating and what decisions do they have to make when visiting a bird feeder? Lindsay Turnbull, Friederike Hillemann, Annette Fayet 28 Jul 2020
3 Creative Commons Interview with a Vampire Find out how plants like mistletoe and hayrattle extract resources from their hosts and how hayrattle engages in a game of rock, paper, scissors, that makes managing meadows a whole lot easier. Lindsay Turnbull 10 Jul 2020
4 Creative Commons Much ado about mothing Dedicated to moths, this episode explores how and why these unsung heroes deserve more attention. Lindsay Turnbull, Doug Boyes, Ben Sheldon 30 Jun 2020
5 Creative Commons Stop the pigeon? Never! Woodpigeons are common garden birds, whose familiar call has been likened to someone complaining about their feet. But woodpigeons make fantastic parents, and like all pigeons and doves produce a kind of 'milk' to feed their young. Lindsay Turnbull 15 Jun 2020
6 Creative Commons All that glitters. Find out how birds, insects and plants exploit iridescence. Lindsay Turnbull 04 Jun 2020
7 Creative Commons Three little birds Blue and great tits commonly use nest-boxes in gardens. In this episode we explore their nesting behaviour and get a priviledged view inside the nest-boxes at Wytham Woods. Lindsay Turnbull 29 May 2020
8 Creative Commons Why is the world green? Lindsay searches for the truth about our verdant green world and tackles a mystery about her rose-bushes: who ate all the greenfly? Lindsay Turnbull 24 May 2020
9 Creative Commons Garden Safari: The Bug Five! Did you know that just five groups of insects dominate your garden? And can you tell the difference between bugs and beetles? Lindsey Turnbull 12 May 2020
10 Creative Commons Seeds of Change In this episode we take a look at the strange life-cycle of ferns and find out why they are so dependent on water. Lindsay Turnbull 10 May 2020
11 Creative Commons Hot as mustard. In this episode we look closely at Garlic mustard or Jack-by-the-hedge, a very common plant throughout the UK. Lindsay Turnbull 04 May 2020
12 Creative Commons One is the magic number Back Garden Biology takes a closer look at the insects in the garden including the solitary bee. Lindsay Turnbull 27 Apr 2020
13 Creative Commons Stinker! In this episode we look at the cuckoo pint, which has an unusual flower with the central part, called a spadix, releasing a stench that to our nostrils is quite revolting. Lindsay Turnbull 20 Apr 2020
14 Creative Commons Queen Bee Learn how to identify common garden bees and find out why they never seem to stay still. Lindsay Turnbull 20 Apr 2020
15 Creative Commons The Lillies of the Fields The beautiful snake's-head fritillary is the flower of Oxfordshire. In this episode we look closely at the flowers it produces. Lindsay Turnbull 13 Apr 2020
16 Creative Commons Deceived with ornament Plants attract pollinators through their colourful flowers but some plants aren't quite what they seem. Lindsay Turnbull 06 Apr 2020
17 Creative Commons Sex and the single primrose In early spring, primroses and cowslips can be found in many gardens and parks. Their yellow flowers are certainly beautiful, but they also hold a secret: they come in two different types that can only mate with each other. Lindsay Turnbull 26 Mar 2020