Stuck on a boat in the California
Current for one month is one way to
promote LTER graduate student collaboration
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be on
a boat for a month straight with no land in sight, no cell phone service, slow
internet, and 30 other people you have never met before? Well the graduate
students studying in the California Current Ecosystem (CCE) experience this
almost every summer. As part of the CCE- LTER program, students, faculty,
technicians and post-docs join together every summer to do joint field work
aboard one of the vessels housed at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San
Diego, California. Students are studying everything from physical mixing
properties, to deep sea fish aggregations; all at large oceanic fronts (where
two different water masses come together) just off the coast of Southern
The Everglades is our backyard, and that backyard is HUGE! Fourteen cities of Miami fit in the Everglades. But in exchange for the high-rises, freeways, and spanish-tiled roofs there are tree islands, sloughways, water, pines, mangroves, birds, alligators, fish, spiders, mosquitoes, and plenty of beautiful scenery. The vastness of the Everglades provides prodigious niches of scientific interest to pursue. Some of us study the impacts of the drainage and canal system that line the perimeter or pierce through the Everglades. Other scientists scrutinize the causes of vegetation community structure changes. Some research predator/ prey relationships and others, the animal movement between biomes. Some study the water cycle and the physical and chemical interactions between surface water and groundwater*. But before we can crunch all the numbers, write all the papers, graduate and go off to save the world, we need to take the measurements, collect the samples, and download the data. Truthfully, it might just be the best part!
A successful graduate student collaboration that began at
the 2009 All Scientists Meeting (ASM) Graduate Student Symposium has recently
resulted in a publication! The group,
led by Todd Robinson (formerly of KBS), examined the effects of intra-annual precipitation
on productivity across a broad range of LTER sites, from forests to
tundra. After meeting at ASM, the group
successfully applied for funding from the LNO to meet at KBS to hammer out the details
of the data analysis and compile datasets.
Then a few students took the lead on analyzing the data, while others
wrote up the results. The paper is now featured
on the Oikos blog (http://oikosjournal.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/its-raining-again/)
and the full manuscript can be found at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1600-0706.2012.20655.x/abstract.
Keep in mind that the next deadline for working group
proposals is October 15th. I
highly encourage all of you to apply!