Planting Science - Members: View: Penelope Ales
You are here: Home / Members / Penelope Ales / Profile

Penelope Ales


  • Time Zone

  • Organization
    Florida State University

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

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    I study how plants and insects interact with each other. When insects are feeding on plants, the plants can use different chemicals to defend themselves and make leaves taste bad to the insects that are eating them. I focus on studying how plants choose to defend their leaves and how the insects respond and digest these defenses.

  • Profile Question 1
    What is best about being a scientist?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    The best thing about being a scientist is that I get to constantly learn something new about how the world works which always makes my job exciting and interesting. Since I focus on studying ecology (the study of relationships between organisms and their environment), I also get to spend a lot of time outside and visit different ecosystems (and see a lot of interesting plants and animals!) that I wouldn’t have otherwise been exposed to if I was not in this career. I also get to develop ways to answer questions that interest me in addition to answering questions that can potentially inform management decisions or nature conservation, which can be especially rewarding.

  • 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):
    I think one of the coolest things I have learned about plants is that they can “talk” to each other through chemicals in the air. When a plant is being damaged by an insect, they can release chemicals into the air that can potentially warn other plants near them that they are likely to get attacked by the same species of insect. When neighboring plants pick up on these chemicals, they can defend their leaves faster and are more prepared to repel the feeding insect than if they had not been “warned” by the damaged plant. I think many of us tend to think of plants as very passive participants in the interactions they have with other plants or animals, but there are a lot of interesting processes they are doing that are worth appreciating!

  • Profile Question 3
    (not set)

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    (not set)

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

Skills & Endorsements

  • No skills have been endorsed yet.


f_logo_RGB-Black_72.png 2021_Twitter_logo_-_black.png icons8-mail-30.png




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.

Copyright © 2022 PlantingScience -- Powered by HUBzero®, a Purdue project