The beauty of soil symbiosis

Through a combination of field, lab, and studio research, I study the complexities of species interactions under climate change. My  ecology research focuses on the interactions between Joshua trees, their soil fungi, and moth pollinators in Joshua Tree National Park. I use the  science findings from my research to inspire the creation of a unique art form where I manipulate the physical and chemical properties of paint, and include elements of the study organisms into the process (Joshua tree fibers, seed oil, and the spines as painting tools). I then match the colors and shapes in the paintings to data on soil nutrients, temperatures and fungal species that I discover in my ecological research.


This scientific painting process requires detailed note taking to recreate the desired textures and effects. Through this work I aim to better understand the form and function of the organisms that I study as well as to share with others the hidden beauty of these threatened species interactions.

Jtrees and soil fungi high elevation
Jtree roots and trees on vellum
soil5 and mycorrhizal fungi
Roots 12 and fungi
Low elevation fungi
Mid elevation fungi
High elevation fungi
soil3 and fungi
Mid elevation Joshua trees
soil and fungi
Cima Dome burning
soil2 and fungi
soil8 and mycorrhizal fungi
soil9 roots and rocks
Process notes
Process notes

Jennifer Albrink, 2019. A Joshua Tree Love Story at the black rock gallery. Palm Springs Life.

Staff, 2019. Networked: Sci + Art exhibition. Curate LA.


Hillary Sloane, 2019. Juniper and the Joshua trees: Morongo Valley native delves into the desert species’ survival. Hi-Desert Star.

Richard Dion, 2019. Juniper Harrower on art and science. The Soul of California podcast.

Philip Kiefer, 2018. Iconic Joshua Trees may disappear but scientists are fighting back.

National Geographic.


Harrower, J. 2019. Merging Art, Science, and Motherhood to Save Joshua Trees. Leonardo: doi: 10.1162/leon_a_01791

Harrower, J., Parker, J., Merson, M., 2018. (cover feature) Species Loss: Exploring Opportunities with Art-Science. Journal of Integrative and Comparative Biology:doi.10.1093/icb/icy016