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Showing posts from January, 2013

Applying for the future: a guide to opening your doors

This guest post was written by Mari Soula, undergraduate researcher in Dr. Jenn Rehage's lab at Florida International University.


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The most annoying thing for me to hear is “but I don’t know if I’m going to like it” or “they’re not going to accept me”. My mom has always said that I’d never know if I’d like something until I try it. (She’s a smart lady, so I assume the same could be said for the second statement.)
What’s even worse is when people let that simple “fear” get in the way and they don’t even try. I find that when it comes to applications for programs, awards, funding, conferences, etc. people use this “fear” as an excuse to cover up their laziness.
The way I see it, every application is a new door. And every door not taken is an opportunity wasted, an opportunity with the potential to change your life. We’re all ecologists here; this opportunity wasted i…

Extreme ecology: taking a look at the 2010 freeze

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Happy new year folks! 
 I am writing today to discuss extreme ecology!
As much as I wish that “extreme ecology” is studying ecology while surfing or snowboarding, it is not. Rather, extreme ecology or the” ecology of extremes” is the study of how ecosystems change following very rare natural disturbances.   These disturbances are more like natural disasters, that include volcanic eruptions, biblical floods, hurricanes, super storms, and boiling heat waves.  Extreme disturbance events are so harmful because they often kill everything that happened to be in the path of the disturbance. On top of destroying ecosystems, these events incur billions of dollars of damages to humans.  The 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens provides a good example of an extreme disturbance event. 


Mount St. Helens before and after the 1980 eruption

What's in a name?

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I've always been fascinated with the names of places and the history behind those names. Why is Paris called Paris, and why did somebody in Texas feel the need to use the name again? Why is the big rock in the middle of Australia called Uluru by the native Aboriginals and why did a white guy rename it Ayers Rock in the 19th century? The coastal Everglades is full of fantastically obvious (Mud Lake) and wonderfully enigmatic (Willy Willy) place names and I have bumped into many of them during my research. Here is a list of some of those places and where the names come from (or at least where I think they come from):