Showing posts from March, 2021

The archivist

I'd like to talk about one step in the scientific process that usually goes unnoticed: data archival. Most scientific grants come with an obligation to archive data, especially if those data were collected using public funds. The idea is that science funded with taxpayer dollars through a federal agency should be accessible to the public. Archival also allows other scientists to go back and re-analyze old data in time-series studies or meta-analyses. Databases are becoming more and more important for the scientific community.  There are a number of different public archives, each with its own purpose. For example, genetic and molecular biology data are housed in the database GenBank, which is maintained by the National Institutes of Health. Oceanographic and biological data are archived through the Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office (BCO-DMO), which is actually located at my home institution, WHOI. Seafloor bathymetry data are archived in the National Cente


 One of the advantages to the new virtual world is the ability to join meetings across the globe. This morning, I had the opportunity to deliver a presentation at the annual conference of the German Long-Term Ecological Research network (LTER-D).  The cover slide for my LTER-D talk This year was actually a first for LTER-D, with an international marine-focused session presented in English. Presentations were delivered by Italian, Belgian, and German researchers (plus me, the American) about research in long-term stations around Europe. Habitats ranged from the Mediterranean to the Arctic and shallow lagoons to the deep sea. It was a great opportunity to "compare notes" on some of the long-term changes in ecosystems across the continent. The chair of the session, my collaborator Thomas, had asked me to present results from our long-term recruitment experiment in the Arctic deep sea. The experiment was started in 1999 to study how hard-bottom communities take shape over time.

Indoor cat

 "I would make a great cat! I nap most of the day, I hate taking baths, I look cute in a cardboard box, and most of my enemies are birds."  - the TV show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Throughout the pandemic, my husband and I have referred to ourselves as "indoor cats." It started as a humorous way to process the situation, but let's be honest - after a solid year of isolation, a moving laser point would be pretty darn interesting.  One of the things this indoor cat has been doing lately is going through all the video footage from Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary that we recorded last summer. During our telepresence broadcasts , we were actually able to take a remotely-operated vehicle  inside the shipwreck Portland . I was land-based  for telepresence week, so I didn't get to see all the footage as it was being recorded. It's incredibly exciting to review the footage and see the inside of the wreck for myself.  I've been inside plenty of shipw


Under the rhododendrons  "Afterglow, magic show Shine across the earth tonight Shimmering over the ocean" - "Afterglow" by Ásgeir Carrying an armful of firewood, I pressed my boot into the soggy white snow in my backyard. Fat drops of water dripped from the leaves of the rhododendrons.  The air was still, almost eerily so, as if waiting for something. My breath was laden with moisture. I could hear creaking branches and the footsteps of forest creatures around me, but there was not a soul in sight. At that moment, if an albino elk had emerged from the trees and invited me to follow him on an adventure, I would not have been surprised in the least.  Insert magic elk The past few weeks have seen the afterglow of winter in Massachusetts, as the world slowly melts and warms. The pandemic is actually the first time in a long time that I've felt and observed the change of seasons at home. Usually, my sense of seasonality is disrupted by trips to different climate zone