Author: Julie Walker
There are two types of people out there, people who are good at focusing on one task at a time, and people who try to do 100 things at once till they aren't able to do anything at all... from this picture I think you can tell which one I am. As I am in writing mode, I find myself constantly with 5 different windows open with way to many tabs trying to unsuccessfully load, and to scared to close any of them cause I am still trying to find that one paper, that has that one passage, that would be really good to site, at some point.
Kudos to those of you that have the focus to keep a clean desktop... or just life in general... but for those of you that do not, you are not alone. I wish I could share sage wisdom, or ten tips, or a Marie Kondo method of decluttering your brain, but alas I can not. However, I can say that telling your adviser that you deleted you last draft of your manuscript because it no longer "sparks joy", is probably not the way to go.
Author: Julie Walker
Seeing how science can be turned into sound environmental policy has always been a passion of mine. So this semester I had the pleasure of participating in the Emerging Leaders in Science Policy Advocacy Memo writing competition where worked as a team to write a memo to an elected official proposing changes to science policy. Our group decided to focus on strategies to help combat red tide and we won! This means that we get to take our memo on the to present to Florida legislators in Tallahassee, as well as receive funds to participate in a science policy or communication conference. I look forward to continuing to learn more about the important role of policy and communication in the world of research.
Author: Julie Walker
Do you ever lie awake at night wondering... why does Julie have so few pictures of herself on that super awesome blog? Does she have an unseemly growth on her face? Is she in the witness protection program? Did she become Amish and has sworn off the use of all technology? Well I hate to disappoint, but the answer is usually as simple as I spend most of my time waist deep in mud, and I have a bad habitat of breaking technology, so cameras in the field are not my cup of tea... However! on this particular field day I had the pleasure of having the assistance of my Fellow- "Fellow" Heather, who is not only a top notch scientist, but also a stellar photographer. Luckily she was willing to trade in her scenic tropical mangrove vistas for a good ole fashion mud bath in the saltmarsh, so that we could not only get some good data, but also photographic proof that my face growth has cleared up! As you can tell we work hard, and play hard, often at the same time :) Well hopefully they will invent a Julie-proof camera in the near future so you all can see more of our muddy adventures... or I'll just work on cultivating my internet celebrity, so that I can get a paparazzi following.
Author: Julie Walker
If there is anything I can rely on, its my pup Maple to remind me that its important to walk away from the screens for a while, and focus on what is really important... such as feeding her, walking her, and petting her.
Time management is delicate balance, especially when you are juggling many different responsibilities, like most graduate students do. We are often told to take time for self-care, but when you really need it, there always seems to be more pressing priorities or you can't get the support you need from superiors. I would love to say you should just stick to the establishment, and put your mental health needs first, but unfortunately the world still isn't that "woke" (- are the kids still using this word? I can never keep up..) and it might come back to hurt you.
Without becoming too much of a bummer by dragging on at length about academic culture and mental health stigmas- my only advice is to build up your support system. Talk to more senior graduate students or post-docs who have been through the process, take advantage of counseling services if your school provides them, or just vent to your pets, you might sound crazy, but hey they don't judge and they are unlikely to tell anyone.
Try to surround yourself with positive people (or pawsitive pets), so the next time your imposter syndrome rears its ugly head, or you start comparing your success against your peers, or if you just feel like if you have to reformat that graph one more time your head is going to explode- you can have someone to talk it out with, or just someone to bring you coffee... or wine.
Even though it is easy to become defeated in the face of a culture that values productivity over all else, it is still important to keep reminding yourself that mental health awareness is more than just that one week the university puts massage chairs in the union.
**sidenote- I half wrote this post because I am secretly a hypocrite and hate talking to people about emotions, but deep down I know its really important... and the other half because my dog is so freaking adorable and I am trying to build her internet presence. If anyone wants to hire me or Maple as a brand ambassador or social media influencer, I will quit school tomorrow**
Author: Julie Walker
*please re-read the heading to the tune of "teach me how to dougie" by Cali Swag*
Yes, I grew up on the water, and yes I sort of study fish now... but one of my short falling (no jokes about my height please) is not knowing how to cast net. Thankfully, friend of Osborne Lab Nicole Bishop, was kind enough to teach me the ways of the waterman, and agreed to make this video with me to educate the masses.
So please enjoy our educational programming, and maybe pass it on and teach someone else how cast net.. or dougie... to each his own
Today we have a special guest blog from our summer intern Holly Keepers, reflecting on her summer here at Whitney Laboratories
Author: Holly Keepers
I feel like just yesterday I was writing a hello message to you all. And yet it's already my last day here! I’ve been studying hermit crab behavior and how they are affected by noise pollution. Doing this experiment meant I needed hermit crabs… A LOT of hermit crabs. In total, I collected about 120 crabs from the shoreline in two days. I kept all of these crabs in two holding tanks in the lab. Sadly, a lot of them ended up dying. I feel like a failed parent. I think I’ll have to hold off on having ACTUAL kids for a looong time considering how many of my “fake babies” died this summer….
Anywho, after I was finished with my experiments, I let them all go back into the sea. I secretly wonder how the other hermit crab’s reactions will be when they are brought back into the wild. They will probably be telling their hermit crab friends I GOT TAKEN BY ALIENS …. And no one will believe them :( Poor guys…. Also how quickly will they change their shells since I painted on them?? Someone who works here has told me she will email and message me whenever she happens to find a labeled hermit on the beach in the future. Maybe I’ll have updates for you later, even after I stop reporting to Julie? Future-vision…. (The line of labeled hermit crabs being released back into the wild! Good luck little guys!)
Anyway, it's been an amazing summer. This is my first time working as a real intern and a scientist! I loved everything I did and I learned a lot. Namely, things don’t always go as planned, and although that may be frustrating, sometimes it all works out for the better. SCIENCE MOSTLY MEANS PERSEVERING. Things go wrong ALL THE TIME. I mean, I wasn’t supposed to have this internship in the first place; I was supposed to be placed in Raleigh, NC. Things fell through and VIOLA! I’m suddenly in the car on the way to FLORIDA?? It's absolutely crazy.
I’m really happy I had this summer to experience what it actually means to be a “scientist”. PLUS most of the people I worked with were women?? That’s super awesome.
I feel like I’m repeating myself a lot, but I can’t help it. Trying to condense my feelings about the summer into a short blog post is really really hard. All I can say is if you have an opportunity to work at the Whitney Lab for Marine Sciences…. DO IT. You won’t regret it.
Author: Julie Walker (with guest appearances from the Osborne Lab interns)
Its field season here at the Whitney Lab, which means it is also Intern season! This year the Osborne lab has been bless with 7 bundles of joy! We are hosting 2 elementary school teachers from the Multidisciplinary Research Experiences for Teachers (MRET) and 5 interns from the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program. They have been hard at work helping to conduct research, learning, and hopefully having a lot of fun!
Meet the MRET interns...
Hi there! My name is Dekoya and I am a 3rd grade teacher from Orlando, FL currently living in Gainesville, FL. I teach at Joseph Williams Elementary and this summer I had the opportunity to work in UF’s MRET program which is for K-5 teachers to bolster student interest and enthusiasm for STEM fields, and what better way than getting hands-on field experience! This awesome yet intense experience of getting to work with a graduate student at the University of Florida’s Whitney Lab to help with their research was nothing short of amazing. Utmost respect to those who go out in the field, through muddy, swamp and just get in there! While there were long hot days, for research purposes it was well worth it. I am excited to see how all our hard work helps with Julie’s project and her end result.
I am a native of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and recently received a Master's degree in Elementary Education from the University of Florida, during the school year I teach third grade in Gainesville. In my free time I enjoy cycling, travel, immersing itself in cold spring water, and artistic pursuits. I am participating in the MRET program to gain an understanding of lab practices and field work experience and am going on to use this knowledge to more effectively engage students in authentic STEM tasks.
Want more info about the Multidisciplinary Research Experiences for Teachers (MRET)? Check out their website https://www.cpet.ufl.edu/teachers/mret/
And now the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars...
My name is Kristina Rodriguez and I am currently a junior at the University of Florida double majoring in Environmental Science and political science. Born and raised on Miami Beach, protecting marine and coastal ecosystems has become my passion. Interning for Julie Walker on her research, to study the effects of mangrove migration into salt marshes habitats on faunal assemblages, I can’t wait for the summer that’s ahead! Striving to make an impact every chance possible, by becoming President of the Surfrider Foundations chapter at UF, a grassroots organization that strives for marine and coastal protection, to conducting dune restoration and sea turtle rehabilitation in Miami, I love protecting our oceans. I plan to pursue graduate school to specialize in environmental policy. I am also highly interested in sea turtle rehabilitation and would love to help out and volunteer here when I have free time/ on the weekend!
My name is Holly, I am currently a junior majoring in Conservation Biology with an Applied Ecology minor at NC State. I am originally from Atlanta, Georgia and chose to attend NC State due to the Zoology program, but then later changed her major to Conservation Biology. I enjoy studying the wildlife aspect of conservation biology the most, and I hope to one day work for the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service! In my spare time I like to read comics, make pottery, and of course watch Netflix. I am also hoping to learn how to surf while she is working in Florida.
My name is Desiree Smith and I attend the University of Florida. I am majoring in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. I am apart of the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars program. This summer I will be interning with Julie Walker assisting her as she completes her research on mangrove habitats in Florida. I want to see how predator and prey interactions vary in the three different habitats (Red mangrove, Black mangrove and smooth cord grass). As the climate changes Mangroves are shifting their habitat ranges so this research can help show how the animals are adapting to these environments. For example, do smaller prey animals prefer one habitat over another or how predators behavior and techniques can vary in the various environments.
I am a rising Junior studying Environmental Technology and Management with a minor in Environmental Toxicology at North Carolina State University. Some of my interests pertaining to my major are studying how water quality, air quality and soil quality; as well as, plant presence are affected by each other. In addition, I am interested in how pollution affects these fields and ways to minimize and manage problem areas. Outside of school work, she enjoys hanging with friends, volunteer work and watching Netflix.
Hi! My name is Tasha, I am studying Animal Science with minors in Wildlife Science and Zoology at North Carolina State University. Originally, I went to North Carolina State in hopes to pursue a veterinarian career in zoological medicine. I am now planing to combine her two passions through a career in conservation medicine. This summer I am working with Julie Walker through the Doris Duke Conservation Scholar program, with the goal to get more research experience with wildlife and their interactions with the environment. I hope to eventually start my own non-profit to help expand restoration efforts worldwide.
If you would like more information about the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program check out their website https://programs.ifas.ufl.edu/doris-duke-conservation-scholars/
Author: Julie Walker
So this semester, I have been taking a "Creative Scientific Communications" course. Each week we have guest lecturers from different forms of media and communications, journalist, photographers, people who make podcast (is there a noun for people who make podcast? #21stcenturylanguageproblems). It was a good break from more intensive science courses and I would argue equally as important. What good is your science if you can't share it with people? For my final project I made this short video / commercial showing off what our partnership does. Hope you enjoy watching it as much as I did making it, which shouldn't be hard since it is only 47 second long and took me multiple days and a few choice words with apple imovie to make (its harder than it looks and I'm a PC person).
If you want to see more cool videos like this from the partnership follow us on our brand new youtube channel!
Author: Julie Walker
Hey there, to our many avid readers which I am sure there are hundreds of, if not thousands of by now (I am going to go ahead and assume the lack of comments just means that our eloquent writing and novel ideas just leave you speechless?) Anyways, to all of you readers I apologizes for the lack of communication lately.. you see I have been spending the majority of my time this summer trying to catch a fish. Well preferably many fish, but every journey starts with a step right?
Why have I been trying to catch many fish you ask dear reader? Well that is a very good question which I will now answer so beautifully that your words will once again escape you. You see it all starts with Climate Change, like many good horror stories do. Climate change is decreasing the amount of freeze events occurring across northern Florida. These freeze events are what have traditionally kept mangrove trees from migrating northward, so without them mangroves have been cozying up to saltmarshes in their most northern latitudes, and eventually becoming the dominant vegetation. This can cause some difference in carbon storage and storm protection and lots of other things that people really care about. But one thing that people also care about that is surprisingly understudied is fish. Fish feed in the tidal inundated coastlines and hide from predators in the vegetation, surely they will notice when, they go to their favorite intertidal hangout and all of the grass have been replaced by a big woody trees with pneumatophore. So I set out to catch some of these fish in the vegetation at the high tide to see if there was any difference between the types and amounts of fish that would use the marsh and mangrove habitats.
However, fish are a lot smarter than I had originally given them credit for, and have proven time after time, that no matter what methods I use they will not be caught by the likes of me. So for now, you can call me Ishmael.
Me and my illusive white whale
Author: Julie Walker
Now that I have that I am assured that this song will be stuck in your head all day, lets talk about finals. Or as I like to call them caffeine fueled information regurgitation sessions (sorry that sounds a lot grosser than intended). Anyways, like most of you finals are not a foreign concept to me seeing as the we have been subjected to standardized testing from what feels like infancy, yet there seems to be an added level of stress and anxiety that goes a long with finals in grad school. For example, back in the good old days finals use to live up to there name, they where a final stopping point, after you where finally finished with your finals you could forgo future endeavors in that field (now say that five times fast). However in grad school your learn that even when your finals end that doesn't mean you necessarily given the luxury of taking a breath. For example, this semester I have 2 written finals and a final project, not bad right? But add on fieldwork that needs to get done before the holidays, gather field helpers before they all jump ship for the holidays, find new field helpers when they inventively do jump ship, guilt filled phone calls from your mother describing the Christmas cookies she wishes you were home to help her make, and cramming for those caffeine fueled information regurgitation sessions becomes even less appealing. However with that light at the end of the tunnel, a full cup of coffee in my hand and my new found finals theme song (go ahead and press play again, I know you want to) I will take these next couple weeks in stride, crushing those last few test and presentations, doing the fieldwork of 5 full grown men, and earning the heck out of those Christmas cookies. Happy Finals season to you and yours.