2011 Ecosystems Center Annual Report: Read It On-Line

July 24th, 2012 @

Alex Huryn on thermokarstThe 2011 Ecosystems Center Annual Report features stories on nutrient pollution, climate warming and fisheries. Ed Rastetter writes about the models of nutrient cycling that he has developed, which he uses to predict the effects of thermokarst scars in the Arctic, as shown in the photo (on left). Thermokarst occurs when permafrost thaws and the land surface collapses.  Joe Vallino writes about bacteria that control denitrification, the conversion of fixed nitrogen compounds back to nitrogen gas, an important part of the global nitrogen cycle. Linda Deegan tells about the use of new acoustic fish tagging technology to track the coastal migration of "schoolie" striped bass.

The report has updates on our many educational and outreach programs. The Semester in Environmental Science had its largest class ever in 2011, and students in the Brown-MBL Graduate Program in Biological and Environmental Sciences conducted research with their MBL advisors. Ecosystems Center staff also mentored local junior high and high students and judged science fairs, provided guidance to undergraduate interns at the center and in remote field sites, and participated in a mentoring program to encourage diversity in the science community.

Check out the new annual report web site, which also features an update from Ecosystems Center Director Hugh Ducklow, and then sign up for email updates from the Ecosystems Center throughout the year.

Tales of Young Scientists in the Salt Marsh

July 24th, 2012 @
Tidal marsh

(Photo by Sarah Wilkins)

Greenheads, Dragonflies, Snails, and Tales of Young Scientists in the Salt Marsh

If you pay attention to a New England salt marsh in the summer you can see emergence. The greenhead that emerges from the grass. The dragonfly that emerges from the pond. The snail that emerges from the flooding waters. In Plum Island, if you're patient, you can see young scientists emerging from the marsh.

These young, intrepid marsh-minded scientists are part of the the Ecosystem Center's TIDE (Trophic cascades and Interacting control processes in a Detritus-based aquatic Ecosystem) Project, which is nestled within the Plum Island Long Term Ecological Research site. TIDE is a large-scale fertilization project in the salt marshes of the Plum Island Estuary in northern Massachusetts that is currently in its 10th field season.

The project is led by Ecosystems Center senior scientist Linda Deegan, and many center scientists have participated in the project. More importantly, the TIDE Project has provided opportunities for young scientists to get their feet wet (that is, wet, muddy, and mosquito-bitten) in science.

These young researchers write about their experiences in the TIDE blog. From the frontlines of the field, it gives first-hand accounts of the science being conducted.The most recent posting is by David Johnson, a research associate at the center who has been a part of the TIDE Project for 10 years. While greenheads and snails and dragonflies come and go, some who emerge on the marsh stay for a while.