Selected Posts

Teaching related

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Tweeting for conservation and biodiversity.

My experience using Twitter as tool to promote idea sharing and discussion in an introductory environmental science course.

The "tangled bank" behind Williams Hall.  Trees are higher than the building today.

Trembley’s “tangled bank” on the Lehigh campus.

Story of the rediscovery of the “tangled bank,” a small area on the campus of Lehigh University that was left to secondary succession in 1967. The small forest fragment was used in a general ecology course in fall of 2013, and this follow-up activity is detailed here.

Some common peatland plants. Drawings by students in Wetland Science (EES-386). Initials of students shown in parentheses.

“The Top 75″ Wetland Plants.

Learning common wetland plants by drawing them in a wetland ecology course.

Students experiencing olfactory "thrills" while measuring dissolved oxygen and redox potential of soil microcosms after flooding. The rotten-egg odor was intense in several of these samples.

Smelling your way down the redox ladder: wetland ecology in a bottle.

Summary of a fun laboratory experiment in a wetland ecology course.

Wetland Ecology & Management.

A series of posts summarizing the day-to-day activities of an intensive three-week course in wetland ecology at the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology:

Research related

Deep in the northern Wisconsin peat.

Summary of fieldwork in Summer 2012 for a project aimed at better understanding how ecosystems may respond to ongoing and future climate change.  Includes a fun, homemade video.

The answer is blowin’ in the wind. 

Summary of a recent paper that assesses the impact of deforestation and dust mobilization on bog ecosystems.

 

Spring break in Wisconsin!

Summary of fieldwork in northern Wisconsin in March of 2012. We were collecting sediment cores from three lakes in the region. Includes a homemade video that documents our activities.

Save the amoeba?

Musings on biogeography and the potential value of microbial diversity, and how the “rediscovery” of a rare species of amoeba highlights the fact that some microbial species have highly restricted geographic distributions.

Teaching & research related

From prized arboretum to forgotten forest: a century of change.

A post that details the establishment and history of the Lehigh University Arboretum and Experimental Forest Plantation.  Started in the early 1900s, the Lehigh University arboretum was one of the finest university arboretums in the United States, yet it disappeared from campus culture by the early 1950s.  The Experimental Plantation was established as a planting experiment, and forgotten about at about the same time. Lehigh students are now investigating the ecological history of these locations, and assessing the outcome of the unique planting experiment.

Herbarium specimen collected by Francis Trembley in 1935 from the Lehigh University Arboretum.

The herbarium…and virtual herbarium…at Lehigh University.

A post describing the Francis Trembley Herbarium at Lehigh University, and how to search the contents of the herbarium online.

Science, art, and inspiration

According to Traverse (2007), this is Gunnar Erdtman's "self-portrait as a wood gnome."  From the back of Erdtman's 1954 book, "An introduction to pollen analysis."

Palynologist as artist. Artist as palynologist.

Exploring art-science relationships by highlighting a little of the work of Gunnar Erdtman, a Swedish botantist that brought the study of pollen to the world. Art informs science by focusing the scientist’s observation skills.  Science informs art by providing endless source material for the artist.

Leaping the hedges with a butterfly amoeba.

Some rather non-linear thoughts on scientific inspiration and career paths, drawn primarily from thinking about the career of 17th century scientist Joseph Leidy.

Just for fun

Wine from the forest?

A home experiment adapting some old-time leaf wine recipes.

Photographs of an old white oak tree (>300 years) on the campus of Lehigh University. Note the gnarled base in the righthand image.

Looking for old trees on Lehigh’s campus.

A few old trees on the campus of Lehigh University.

Learning from fish and a four-year old.

A fun project with my daughter. Password is my daughter’s first name (first letter capitalized).

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