Showing posts from July, 2022

Maritime Heritage Ecology

Friends, I am proud to introduce you to a new term: Maritime Heritage Ecology .  This phrase refers to the fusion of biology and archaeology that is necessary for understanding the processes that shape underwater cultural heritage. As many of you know, I've studied shipwrecks since my PhD. They're island-like systems that aren't supposed to exist, so they present a number of extremely interesting biological questions. But shipwrecks aren't just habitats - they're also historical and cultural resources. They undergo their own transformations, as wood degrades, fishing gear gets entangled, artifacts get scattered, and metal corrodes. Shipwrecks are incredibly dynamic.  Moreover, shipwrecks are not the only type of cultural heritage that lands in the ocean. There are cars, planes, and tanks. There are structures like lighthouses, wharfs, ancient villages, and middens. There are artifacts like amphoras, statues, and weapons. All of them tell the story of human interacti


 "Let me swim against the tide... Maximize me  Let's go beyond reality If you can see what I see Hypnotize Maximize me" - "Maximize" by Amaranthe Every time I have a few spare minutes, I pull out an old project and try to take it one step forward. It's the only way I ever manage to finish things. The project I'm trying to finish now is my "dock study," which some of you might remember from 2017 . I spent the whole summer collecting data on fouling communities with my intern, Nicole , and we found some pretty cool stuff - bryozoan, hydroids, sponges. The project even had a surprise twist at the end when most of our animals died and were replaced by recruiting  barnacles . I started the summer with all sorts of fancy hypotheses about how the species were going to interact in intricate, mechanistic ways, but by the end of the summer, I had come to the conclusion that succession in marine fouling communities happens in one of two ways. Sometimes,

Problem solvers: part 2

I know I've said this on the blog before: science involves learning all sorts of random skills that a normal person doesn't need. As problems come up , we do whatever it takes to fix them. Here's my latest example.  A Niskin bottle in my lab with both ends open. There are these things called Niskin bottles that are incredibly common in oceanography. Everyone uses them. The bottle itself is made out of thick plastic (PVC), and it has water-tight caps on both ends that close when triggered. You open the bottle on the surface, let ocean water flow through it all the way down, trigger the closing mechanism at your desired depth, and then bring up a sealed, temperature-controlled sample of water from a precise location. Niskin bottles work great.  I bought 10 Niskin bottles for our eDNA project and shipped them to Saipan for Calvin and Evan to use in the field. At the end of the trip, they packed the bottles back in the original boxes, added the padding, and sent them to me. Ea


 "Why do you write like you're running out of time?" - "Non-stop" from the musical Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda Oh, this career is non-stop. Since getting back from the Gulf of Mexico, I have been writing constantly. A scientific study is never finished until it's been published, so sometimes I think I'm actually a professional writer. Here are some of the things I've been working on writing lately:  The Palau paper: The coral samples that Hanny and I collected in Palau in 2018 showed some really cool genetic patterns. In fact, that study is what launched our entire Palau project that's taking place now. It usually takes a while for datasets to get written up, edited, submitted to a journal, reviewed, revised, and finally published. This particular manuscript is in the revision stage, and we're almost done! The reviewers had some substantial comments that we needed to address, but now that we've worked our way through them, the manu