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Zoe Xirocostas | What we can learn from weeds

For us to have the chance to turn the 21st century into the right place, we should take a leaf from a weed’s book, and learn to thrive no matter the circumstances.

Zoe Xirocostas

Can weeds help us find answers to the world’s problems? Yes, those pesky plants with the flimsy leaves that always seem to be growing out the cracks of footpaths. A weed is defined simply as a plant in the wrong place, and as climate change drives up temperatures, more plants are being forced to move to cooler climates in order to live. Non-native plant species have wreaked absolute havoc on so many of the world's precious ecosystems, because they’re trying to make the best of a situation they never should have been exposed to. So can we really blame weeds for just trying to survive? Scientist Zoe Xirocostas has some secrets to share about our pre-conceptions on weeds. 

A UNSW Centre for Ideas project, with illustrations designed by Juune Lee and footage filmed at the EPICentre – a UNSW research centre located at the Art & Design campus. Videos filmed and edited by Paper Moose, and podcast editing and music composition by Bryce Halliday.

Zoe Xirocostas

Zoe Xirocostas

Zoe Xirocostas is a third year PhD candidate in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the Faculty of Science at UNSW Sydney. Her main area of research asks why some introduced plant species are better than others at invading new regions. Xirocostas was awarded the 2020 Outstanding Evolution & Ecology Research Centre Student Outreach Award and was selected for the UNSW Women in Maths & Science Champions program's 2021 intake. 

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