New College chomps down on carnivorous plant research
An image of Venus Flytraps. (Taken by Isaiah Johnson.)

New College chomps down on carnivorous plant research

Carnivorous plant enthusiasts may have found a home in the CarniVORiNCF club. Started this semester by second-year transfer student Isaiah Johnson, the CarniVORiNCF program serves students who are interested in botany, plant biology and mycology. 

Johnson began pursuing his interest in carnivorous plants in high school, which he later developed through research on the physics of Venus Flytraps mouth-snapping at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  

“Carnivorous plants are one of the most sophisticated plants,” Johnson said. “I like to specialize in carnivorous plants and their behaviors, physiology and anatomy. I thought it would be a great club to start here at New College, given that a lot of people in Sarasota are intrigued by gardens and plant life.”

Johnson is currently growing 52 Venus Flytraps and other varieties of carnivorous plants for the project, according to an email sent to the Students-List email server on Feb. 13. He has been working on the project since January of 2022. 

The email also claimed that Johnson hopes to construct a water bog system in the Food Forest—although no concrete plans for this construction have been arranged at the time of this article’s publication. This water bog system would not only add an interesting feature to New College’s already rich Food Forest environment, but would also keep the mosquito population down. 

Participating students will walk out with knowledge of how to grow and repot the ferocious yet delicate plants, as well as a greater understanding of the plant’s unique physiology, environmental stressors and their interactions with different species of fungi. 

“Those who are interested in plant biology and science are going to have the ability to be able to work with these plants in the lab and learn how they grow,” Johnson detailed. “Those who are less interested in the molecular aspects will have another project where we build a bog house. It would be taught in a very interactive way so that it would be more interesting and appealing.” 

The club is sponsored by Assistant Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies Erika Diaz-Almeyda and funded by a private donor. Though no set meeting time or place has been established for this club yet, any student who is interested can participate regardless of experience level. Interested students should contact Isaiah Johnson at More information can be found about the upcoming club from this PDF that Johnson shared with the Catalyst.

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