Super size my ecology!

Well, I’ve finally made it into a news release for the University of Wisconsin:

The University of Wisconsin-Madison, home of pioneering ecologists who studied lakes, forests, wetlands and prairies, is playing a key role in the next wave of ecological research: large teams of scientists confronting the dilemma of a changing climate on a shrinking planet.

The article summarizes work of two NSF Macrosystems funded projects, GLEON and PalEON (obviously, borrowing on the gold standard of Neon Inc.) and features a quote from me that sounds like something I might have said slightly tongue in cheek: “We’re pollen whisperers,” erm, yeah. . .

Figure 1.  That time that Science Hall was in a very famous movie.
Figure 1. That time that Science Hall was in a very famous movie.

Regardless, I like the news releases’ thread between the history of the University of Wisconsin and our modern work.  As put by Jack Williams:

“Reid Bryson was one of the first to look seriously at climate change, and John Kutzbach produced a groundbreaking set of studies identifying the key causes of past climate change. Thompson Webb, my advisor at Brown, got his Ph.D. here in Madison in 1971 and has been studying paleoclimate ever since.”

Working in Science Hall I’ve always felt well connected to the history of the University, even if I’m only here temporarily. Reid Bryson, John Curtis (Bray-Curtis anyone?), Tom Webb III, and many other people central to the intersection of climate and ecology, shared these halls at some point in the last century. The walls have stayed the same but the ideas have flowed on like pine pollen on a spring breeze.

Much of our work, and the work I’m quoted on (pollen quote aside), has been deeply influenced by David Mladenoff and his lab group who have been working with Public Land Survey data for Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest for some time now.  He’s been an invaluable collaborator, even if he’s not in Science Hall.

Anyway, back to prepping for our June Pollen/R course at UMaine. I’ll update soon with some R tricks that experienced users wish they had learned early on.

Published by

downwithtime

Assistant scientist in the Department of Geography at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Studying paleoecology and the challenges of large data synthesis.

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