The Duckweed Anthem

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(What These Plants Can Do)

The Duckweed Anthem was created by Paul Fourounjian just before the 3rd ICDRA.

You can hear it (What These Plants Can Do, by Paul Fourounjian, 02:00 min) or download it (1.3 Mb ogg file).


Gathered here in Kyoto
We share knowledge of duckweeds
We learn from the professors
Appenroth and Toki
Of new ways to fix old problems
And the wonders of biology
They’re the smallest and the fastest
A model of simplicity
They teach us all a lesson
On the power of neoteny

Not even Landolt knew
What these plants could do
So he studied them through
And through
Now we take his lead
And carry on
And test this question too
And the work goes on
As the planet warms
Until everyone sees
What these plants can do
And how much we need
The power of duckweeds

Luckily, The great plant thrives
In our own waste streams
Dividing as, they live their lives
To keep our waters clean
Then just like The Giving Tree
They offer up their bodies
So small and easy to harvest
For our food and energy.
We thank you once again duckweeds
For your generosity

Personal verse (everyone can make their own about their research to add in)
The genome map was published
For all of us to see
Yet we still improve upon
our cartography
So I paint the tiny fragments now
And their silent activity

(Chorus, final, slowly)
Each day we work to understand
The power of duckweeds.

References that might not be recognized by everyone

  • Kyoto 2015, 3rd International Duckweed conference on research and applications.
  • Appenroth, Toki, Landolt: Distinguished duckweed professors.
  • Neoteny: The retention of juvenile characteristics in an adult organism.
  • Giving Tree: A poem of a tree, that takes care of a boy, until he’s a man. Then she tells him to cut her down to build a house and boat for his family. When she’s a stump she still offers herself as a seat.

There are certain Rugby songs where people can take turns putting in their own verse, before returning to the chorus that everyone knows. I see it as a good system to encourage people to personalize and expand the song, a few lines at a time.

While I sing this as a Rugby song, I hope that other researchers can modify the lyrics, and use whatever melodies they like to personalize this song to their tastes, so it can grow and evolve like any good idea or organism.

Paul Fourounjian