Showing posts from October, 2020

Biofouling in the deep

A few weeks ago, I received an invitation to make a virtual presentation at the Marine Research and Education conference (MARESEDU) in Moscow. Usually, the conference is in person, but this year, the organizers adopted a hybrid model as a result of the pandemic. I was asked to participate in an international virtual session about biofouling in the deep sea. If you have a chance, I encourage you to check out the recording when it appears on the MARESEDU website , because the session was extremely educational. I presented results from the long-term recruitment study I did with German collaborators in the Arctic deep sea and showed preliminary results from CATAIN . My presentation generated good questions, which I was proud of, but for me, the best part of the session was listening to the other speakers. Two of them addressed fouling by microorganisms and bacteria on deep-sea substrata; another spoke about the role that biofouling on oil rigs plays in spreading invasive species across th


The fawn in my yard  "Mother, make me a big tall tree So I can shed my leaves and let it blow through me" - "Mother" by Florence + The Machine Friends, I don't need to tell you this, but 2020 has been hard. We're nearing the end of it now, so I'm trying to take inspiration from the deciduous trees outside and let things go. Actually, yesterday, a baby deer - a fawn - showed up in my backyard. My husband and I gazed out the large window in our dining room as the fawn nonchalantly nibbled on ivy. It was a beautiful moment of calm.  Yes, this year has been hard. It feels like every day, there is something new to figure out or fix. Almost as if the pandemic is a long, complex piece of code that I have to debug with no manual and very little else to go on. That's right, friends, as you can probably tell from that metaphor, I have been coding again. I stepped away from the model I was working on during this spring's lockdown  to focus on lab work , fi

Going platinum

It was a rainy Monday. I held my specimens tightly in hand and walked down Water Street. They were too delicate to trust to my backpack or even my pocket. After working all summer with my intern, Mimi , and then transforming her report into a publishable paper (with a mistake or two along the way), this was the final step - and those specimens needed protection. I arrived at the Central Microscopy Facility of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. MBL and WHOI are located right next door to one another and share a lot of resources, most notably our library. WHOI scientists are also allowed to use MBL's electron microscopes, which has benefited me greatly. You see, the last thing I needed for our study on the development of an Arctic deep-sea crinoid was scanning electron microscopy.  My crinoid specimens on their studs, ready for SEM. Some of them are small  enough, you can't see them on the studs. This is why we need electrons!  What is electron micro