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Juniper Harrower copyright © 2011-2019

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 PhD ecology research focused on the interactions between Joshua trees, their soil fungi, and moth pollinators in Joshua Tree National Park. I use the ecological 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.