Rachel Love


  • Time Zone

  • Organization
    Grand Valley State University

  • Role
    Scientist Mentor: I will mentor teams of students online

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    I am interested in how and why we have differences between organisms! Why do we have different species? My work focuses on a rare group of carnivorous plants from Southeast Asia. My plants eat bugs. But I'm vegetarian!!

  • Profile Question 1
    What is your favorite plant? Why?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    I study one of the most intriguing groups of plants in the world; carnivorous pitcher plants. These plants have impressive, liquid-filled pitchers in spectacular shapes and forms used to trap animal prey. Isn't that incredible?! Tropical pitcher plants are, therefore in my opinion, the most fascinating and enigmatic living things in the whole world.

  • Profile Question 2
    What is the coolest thing you have discovered or learned about plants?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    The absolute best thing about tropical pitcher plants is that animals sometimes use them like a toilet. Some species are even shaped like a toilet. Tree shrews in Malaysia, for example, sit and eat nectar in the lid of Nepenthes lowii, and while they are there, they poop right into the plant trap. And the plants love it. Research has shown that the plants use the poop to live and grow. They found this out by tracking the nitrogen from the very poopy start to its use by the plant. Pretty cool work in my book.

  • Profile Question 3
    When and why did you decide to go into a science career?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    I like science because you can ask endless questions and because you can have so many different answers to allllllllll of those questions. My mom tells me that I asked for flower presses for my birthday, and microscopes for holiday gifts. I decided to make science my career very early in life.

  • Capacity: How many teams at a time are you comfortable working with?

Recent Posts

smsramigfall2022 project 9 Rachel Love

Dear Reckless Ryegrass,

High fives in being scientists on this project! You thought critically and were excellent communicators; both VERY important parts of being in science.

Sending well wishes your way and science-on!

Dr. Love

smsramigfall2022 project 9 Rachel Love

Excellent job recording your data! Another reason researchers make replicates is to measure variation in an experiment. This also allows statistical tests to be performed on the data evaluate differences, which make the research more robust. I'm…

smsramigfall2022 project 9 Rachel Love

Hi Reckless Ryegrass,

I see you noted that one of your bottles got knocked over. Those sorts of things happen sometimes! One of the things that many laboratories do to buffer for this sort of thing happening is making replicates. Can you think of…


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NSF_Logo.jpg This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant #2010556 and #1502892. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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