Showing posts from April, 2018

Communicating your Science

There are endless opportunities for graduate students to participate in science outreach! However, few receive proper training and are prepared to attend such events. We obviously know our research but translating that research to the general public is often difficult. Most outreach events require preparation and involve tabling. Having an activity that explains your research is essential to effective tabling. This is usually challenging to scientists who struggle to communicate the intricacies of their work to the general public.

For example, how do I efficiently explain how I study how extracellular enzyme potential in peat soil changes with saltwater intrusion. To me, that is the simplest way of summarizing my research, but only a few scientists and I would understand it. I needed help translating what I do.

If you are looking for a formal training experience to build up your science translation skills and effectively communicate your research, you should consider becoming a Scien…

What is Peat and Why is it Collapsing?

Written by Benjamin J. Wilson
For a background refresher on the impacts of sea level rise in South Florida, see my previous blog post.
Peat soil is the backbone of many wetlands. It is full of organic-rich carbon that is formed when plants perform photosynthesis: they suck up carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and use it to make roots. These roots go into the soil, and because decomposition is slow in wetlands, these carbon-rich roots are stored in the soil for very long periods of time, allowing the marsh to grow in elevation (Fig. 1).
Under freshwater conditions, this carbon can be stored in the soils for thousands of years. This leads to a landscape full of pristine marshes that provide habitat for wildlife and are very efficient at filtering contaminants out of water (Fig. 2a). However, in some brackish marshes, especially in the Everglades, an exciting feature appears. From above, you can see the landscape is dotted with open-water ponds (Fig. 2b). I kept thinking, what cou…