Showing posts from October, 2012

Rising star in FCE

I would like to introduce you to a new rising star in the FCE, Sara Osorio! She has been working with FCE LTER Education and Outreach coordinator, Mr. Nick Oehm, and our lead PI, Dr. Evelyn Gaiser. Her research project is about the diatoms found in the wetland restoration area of the Deering Estate (Biscayne Coastal Wetlands Project).

How to Hate Ecology and Still Write a Thesis

During my first year as a graduate student, a week didn't go by where someone didn't ask me "So what's your research question?"  I hated that question more than anything.  I had combed the literature, searching for research ideas, only to discover everything I was interested in had already been done a hundred times over.  All of the mysteries of the environment had been answered and there wasn't anything left to be studied.  "Why am I even here and why are any of us doing science," I frequently asked myself.  "Ecology is stupid.  Ecology is hard.  I hate Ecology!" were also common chants I shouted in my office (and by office, I mean the spare lab next door that was used for storage and sleeping quarters for homeless grad students).  Then, one day, it suddenly all made sense.  I realized I was being punished by my adviser, because he was punished by his adviser, and his adviser's adviser punished him, etc. etc....

What does it mean to restore the Florida Everglades?

It is complex question, which merits thoughtful engagement with south Florida’s history, familiarity with ecosystem restoration theory and a good dose of visionary thinking. As scholars have demonstrated, ecological restoration is not just a scientific endeavor. Ecological restoration is also a social and political process that poses tough philosophical questions about what people’s proper relationship to nature should be (1). Yet, this question becomes all the more important in the current era of unprecedented environmental change.

Everglades Science: By land, by sea, and by air.

The Everglades is our backyard, and that backyard is HUGE! Fourteen cities of Miami fit in the Everglades. But in exchange for the high-rises, freeways, and spanish-tiled roofs there are tree islands, sloughways, water, pines, mangroves, birds, alligators, fish, spiders, mosquitoes, and plenty of beautiful scenery. The vastness of the Everglades provides prodigious niches of scientific interest to pursue. Some of us study the impacts of the drainage and canal system that line the perimeter or pierce through the Everglades. Other scientists scrutinize the causes of vegetation community structure changes. Some research predator/ prey relationships and others, the animal movement between biomes. Some study the water cycle and the physical and chemical interactions between surface water and groundwater*. But before we can crunch all the numbers, write all the papers, graduate and go off to save the world, we need to take the measurements, collect the samples, and download the data. Truthf…

Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore!

Guest post today from a new member of the FCE community!
Howdy ya’ll! I’m one of the newest members of the Trexler lab, here all the way from Houston, Texas. I finished my Masters in May, which focused on reproductive life histories of small stream fishes. In addition to working in some amazing clear water East Texas streams, I have a love/hate relationship with springs in the beautiful West Texas Chihuahuan desert. But, life hasn’t all been unicorns and butterflies; I’ve worked in my share of dumpy freshwater sites. However, nothing prepared me for what I was to endure in the Everglades.

Why I love alligators

I've always had a passion for animals, particularly large animals of the dangerous variety (big predators), but before I started my PhD I had never really spent much time thinking about alligators. Now, after working with alligators in the coastal Everglades for the past 5 years, they are one of my favorite animals. Let me tell you a few reasons why: