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Showing posts from November, 2016

Diatom of the Month: November 2016 - Medlinella amphoroidea

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by Tom Frankovich*
I would like to introduce you all to Medlinella amphoroidea, a new taxon that was observed on loggerhead sea turtles, as the November diatom-of-the month. But, before I get to discussing the morphology and ecology of this new genus and species, I will tell you all a personal story of serendipity and professional relationships. It was early 2013, and I had received an email from Dr. Brian Stacy, a marine veterinarian at the National Marine Fisheries Service, and a friend from when we worked together investigating parasites in marine gastropods. Brian told me that his wife, Dr. Nicole Stacy, also a marine veterinarian, was interested in identifying organisms that she suspected were diatoms that were on skin smear slides and contaminants in blood, urine and teat fluid samples from Florida sea turtles and manatees.

Fig. 1. Dr. Brian Stacy performing a necropsy on a loggerhead turtle, Caretta caretta(Photo courtesy Brian Stacy, unknown photographer).
I subsequently found ou…

Drain the Swamp

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“I know more about ISIS than the generals do” Donald Trump advocates “draining the swamp” in Washington.  This statement is personal to me.  After spending the past 6 years studying swamps, I can say in no uncertain terms that draining swamps is bad. Swamps and other wetlands provide habitat to over half of the species deemed threatened or endangered in the US, filter our water, store more carbon than any other ecosystem, protect us from flooding and much more, making wetlands our most valuable ecosystems, thus their protection under the Clean Water Act.
Suggesting that draining swamps is a way to fix America’s problems is to reject science.  We have destroyed over half of our wetlands in this country to devastating effect.  The Everglades provides a great example.  The largest ecological restoration effort in the history of the world revolves around undraining the swamp.  We reduced the Everglades to half of its historical extent for development, but now realize that we made a mista…