Showing posts from November, 2016


"From the rain Comes a river running wild that will create An empire for you Illuminate! There's a river running wild that will create An empire for you" - "Empire" by Of Monsters and Men Friends, last Thursday was Thanksgiving in the United States, so I used the holiday weekend to spend time with family. My parents and brother made their way out to Cape Cod, and I was eager to show them my new place in the world. They got to see Main Street and downtown Falmouth. I showed them my office in Woods Hole and the dock communities I've fallen in love with. The Cape is my domain, my new arena, and I relished the chance to show it off. It was a lovely weekend.  Dad, Wes, and I on a floating dock in Woods Hole's Little Harbor. Photo by Angela Meyer. Slipper limpet shells on a beach in Falmouth Falmouth Harbor Showing my brother a bryozoan on a dock in Eel Pond, right outside my building. Photo by Angela Meyer Falm

Windy city

"I just blew in from the windy city The windy city is mighty pretty But they ain't got what we got" - the musical Calamity Jane Blustery and beautiful. Seen from Woods Hole village Man, is it windy in Woods Hole today! My bike ride to work took fully twice as long as usual this morning, because I was battling a strong headwind the whole way. This air is bitingly cold and furiously fast. I decided to grit my teeth and visit my settlement plates , no matter how strong the wind was. They've only been out for a week, so I didn't expect much to be living on them yet, and I was right. They were covered in a thin film, but there weren't any animals yet. Barnacles around here usually settle in February-March, so I may have a long time to wait. In the meantime, I'm working indoors to set up new projects. My succession study will have a field component and hopefully also a lab component, so I'm working with my advisor, Lauren, to design a productive

The manifesto

Friends, it has been a long day. When I came into my office this morning, I thought I would have a slow start. As it turns out, several important things happened while I was away from my e-mail, and all of them showed up in my inbox this morning.  For one, my inbox held three different requests from other scientists for a copy of a paper I had written. It's not unusual for scientists to ask each other for papers, even if they've never met before (as was the case with all three of my requesters), but the paper they were requesting was (I thought) not even published yet! It had been accepted months ago but was still in production - or so I thought. Well, turns out the paper had just appeared online. Find it here: I'm very proud of this particular paper, because it served as the introduction to my dissertation, and in a way, it has become my manifesto. When people ask what I specialize in, I f

Feel invincible

"You make me feel invincible, Earthquake, powerful Just like a tidal wave You make me brave" - "Feel Invincible" by Skillet There is something so satisfying about working with my hands. Starting with raw materials and shaping them into a product. I love having something I can point to at the end of the day and say "I built that." In preparation for my succession study, I wanted to outplant racks of settlement plates on some docks around WHOI. The plates are really just for me to play around with - nothing quantitative or high-pressure. I'll monitor them over the winter and early spring just to see what is where and get familiar with identifying small recruits of the local species. I should also double-check if my assumption that barnacles recruit first to a substratum is actually true. My creations Well, settlement plates don't just fall out of the sky; I had to build them. Fortunately, my advisor had enough supplies from previous stu

The octopus in the corner

My office at WHOI is in the corner. It's in the corner of the lab, which is in the corner of the building. When I first moved into my office, I noticed there was a whiteboard on the door with a drawing in the corner. I guess this means I'm the octopus? I've spent a lot of time in my corner recently, just reading papers at my desk. The first part of any project is getting acquainted with the pertinent background information, which means diving into the literature. It's a lot of reading, which takes a lot of time. At least I have a comfortable reading space.  The second thing I've been doing to prepare for my project is getting familiar with the local fauna. My experimental organisms are all drawn from local docks, so I've met with various other researchers who know the local species. It's a learning process, but thankfully, the forms are all pretty distinct. I'm learning the most common species around Woods Hole are all non-native, meaning they

Jump around

My office at WHOI is right on Water Street, so I have a front-row view of all the activity in the village. There's a ferry from Woods Hole to Martha's Vineyard that docks right across the street from my building. Every time the ferry takes off from the dock, it sounds its horn. One long blast, then three short blasts. It sounds like the beginning of a rap song from the 90s, and my brain fills in the rest of the song . Oh boy. On a more serious note, I legitimately love it at WHOI. I have several projects starting up that I'm very excited about. My main project, the one I proposed when I applied for my current position, concerns succession on subtidal substrata. Ok, let's break that down. Succession is the process by which organisms replace each other over time. "Subtidal" refers to any habitat permanently covered by water - that includes everything from the underside of a boat to the deep sea. For this project, I'm focusing on shallow subtidal habitats