Showing posts from February, 2024

Ocean Sciences

"You should go to Ocean Sciences" Giving my presentation. Photo by Johanna Weston. - my mentoring committee, every time we've met over the last 4 years I'm a small town girl. I don't do crowds. So when my mentoring committee pushed me to present at a conference with 5,000 participants, I pushed back. Not my speed, I told them.  Here's the thing: Ocean Sciences is a hub. It's not just other scientists who show up here; program officers from all the major funding agencies show up. Reporters. Publishers. People who I would be lucky to connect with.  So I came. I navigated the crowd. I gave my presentation - and guess what, I even got invited to participate in a press event. I attended town hall meetings with some of the major funding agencies. I connected with potential new colleagues, and I ran into multiple people who I hadn't seen in years. Yes, mentoring committee, you were right. I'm glad I came.  WHOI students and faculty at the Audubon Aquarium


My work station for the day (WHOI is closed for inclement weather). Right now, I am sitting cross-legged on a semi-circular orange armchair. Dark wood panels sandwich me on two walls, while the other two hold large glass windows to the outside world. It's getting white out there. Fat, wet flakes of snow started falling a few hours ago, and it shows no sign of stopping.  To my right, a four-log fire provides cozy, comforting heat to the dark-paneled den. My husband clacks on a keyboard behind me, and to my left, our overgrown floof of a dog naps on the floor. It is winter in New England.  If you asked me about coral reefs right now, I might not even know what you're talking about. As far as I'm concerned, the world is white and cold, like the ice planet Hoth. All I want in the world is my family and this fire. What are the tropics? From my orange armchair, the hot, humid latitudes feel a galaxy away.  Nevertheless, I was roused from my cozy winter stupor by an email today. A

Alvin, Please Deploy My Trap There

Guest blog post by postdoc Johanna Weston Today, I am coming to you from the Central East Pacific near 9°50’ North. I am  on board R/V Atlantis  along the East Pacific Rise as part of an NSF-funded cruise to study the biodiversity of inactive sulfide vents. Or, as we are saying – Life After Vents. The East Pacific Rise (EPR) is a mid-ocean rise at a divergent tectonic plate boundary and a fast-spreading mid-ocean ridge . Along this axis, there is a lot of hydrothermal venting activity. However, this venting is ultimately transient, leaving only the sulfide mineral-rich deposits after the fluid flow stops. These inactive sulfides are beautiful and distinct features on the seafloor. They aren't teeming with the iconic life present on active vents, but they are not devoid of life either. I spent January and February on a team, led by Dr. Lauren Mullineaux from WHOI and Dr. Jason Sylvan from Texas A&M, exploring some inactive sulfides. We are using the human-occupied submers

Writing workshop

"Well, you know, I'm a physicist, so I thought about stuff...I wrote some of it down." - the TV show The Big Bang Theory Every scientist has a backlog of papers they want to write. Every. Single. One. In fact, for as much as I adore The Big Bang Theory , the #1 thing that show gets wrong is how much free time the characters have. If the show were realistic, they would never have gaps between projects. Ever. Sheldon and Leonard would spend every episode in meetings, writing proposals, managing budgets, mentoring students, and desperately, hopelessly scraping together a few minutes to write papers here and there.  Sometimes, you just have to be selfish. Sometimes, you just have to shut your office door and work. Or better yet, don't work at the office so nobody can find you.  I'm not pointing any fingers here, but there may be a certain scientist working at an undisclosed off-campus location today. She might have decided to work remotely for personal reasons, but th