Friday, December 30, 2016

Ten of the 1000 of the new bird species

This year the number of bird species increased by 10%. I think that's a good start. I suspect there are more than 20,000. 

Birdlife International covers 10 of them... I find them very sexy. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

What is the world's largest urban area?

The Pearl River Delta in China

Sunday, November 20, 2016

On deck for the week ahead

Work on Population and Evolution Lecture (BIO225) lecture and start to make the exam.

Work on Ecology: need to write up two labs (quantifying diversity in our forest samples and cemetery demography), work on lectures

Think more about a study abroad plan (going to create a budget for...?)

Scholarship: need to think about the book and start busting a move 

Grants: dust off previous NSF proposal and polish

I think I'm caught up on letters of recommendation and no peer review  

Friday, November 11, 2016

Worries about Trump

I read a Facebook post that said we should write down our worries about the consequences of Trump's election. Excellent suggestion. The comment that followed was that 98% of these worries would not manifest. We'll see on 11/11/2017.

Health Insurance 
- 22 million Americans will go off insurance
- increased costs 
- increased suicides (because the mentally ill are not covered and not getting treated)

Climate change
- "business as usual" carbon emissions or increased
- reduction in research (which are pathetic now)
- coal coal coal

- more Hg in air and water (from burning coal)
- more overall pollution from decreased regs

Endangered Species
- lost protection

Public lands
- critical habitats sold off
- wilderness areas opened to development 

Basic Science
- reduction in NSF

- loss of funding
- if Ben Carson (supposedly writing Organ of Species - a creationist text on the brain) becomes Sec of Education - then... I don't know.. but something stupid. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Ecology Field Trip Part 2: Webb's Mill Bog

On Sunday the ecology class took a trip to Webb's Mill Bog in Manchester Township, NJ. This was part of a weekend long trip to explore the coastal plan of NJ, including the shore. There is something very cool about bogs that remind me a primordial swamp. 

Sarracenia purpurea

White cedar swamp bog

Closer look at the bog - note the sandy bottom

Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides)

Inkberry (Ilex glabra)

Pitch pine with scorched bark

Highbush Blueberry

Ecology Field Trip Part 1: Rutgers Marine Field Station, dune, and saltmarsh

Last weekend we took a field trip with the ecology class to the Rutgers Marine Station in Tuckerton, NJ. This was a kind of homecoming for me. I was there September 20, 1990 as an undergraduate at Rutgers. The class was Marine Animal Ecology and after a night of helping a graduate student (now a section chief at NOAA), I was offered a beer and the student suggested I consider graduate school. So I turn nearly 30 years later with my own class hoping to inspire the next ecologist. 

We found lots of interesting plants, birds, invertebrates, and fish. 

Late afternoon in a Spartina marsh

Spartina and Salicornia virginica 

Late afternoon at the station

Ensis directus

Geukensia demissa

Atlantic surf clam, Spisula solidissima

Immature Black-crowned Night Heron

Great Blue Heron (above and below as well)

Greater Yellowlegs 

Great Egret

Peregrine Falcon

Seining with a 100' seine in the Mullica River-Great Bay Estuary

The station

Tidal creek bounded by Spartina alterniflora

Solidago sempervirens (Seaside Goldenrod), phragmites,
and Ammophila breviligulata (beach grass)

Close up of dune

Spartina patens 
Sandy beach

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Quick trip to south Louisiana

We had our Fall break at Wilkes and had a four day weekend so I decided to go visit my son. Flew into New Orleans, rented a car, and was off. 

Weather was warm - in the upper 80's but not uncomfortable (easy to say driving in an air conditioned car). Went up to Southeastern Louisiana University and met up with one of my old professors and had a nice tour of the new biology building. Picked up some live oak acorns and they've already yielded some weevil larvae, which we'll barcode to species and will probably share the DNA for population studies. 

Did some birdwatching and picked up a few good birds but nothing specific to the area except some white ibis at 70 mph on the road. Still it was great to get out in the swamps and look around. 

Green anole

Bayou as seen from HWY 51 - the road that sits under 55. Slower road with much better views of the marshes and swamps

Tons of dragonflies - I suspect lots of migrating dragonflies

Gulf frittilary (?)

Little blue heron at the Joyce WMA

Magnolia warbler

Monarch butterfly - lots of them were around

Pileated woodpecker - not an Ivory-billed 
Stayed in Donaldsonville the first night in a place between two refineries. It sucked. So I stayed the next night in Gonzales, LA - same town as my son.  This place was one of a dozen or so hotels and outlet stores. Oh well. Next time, I'll go some research and try and find and maybe find a little B&B.

The thing that had the biggest impact on me was seeing the result of the Flood of 2016. Remember that? I didn't until I drove through the area around Gonzales and Denham Springs. One commercial referenced 60,000 homes lost. It was incredible and awful. People's lives pushed to the curb.