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2007 Ecology Web Page

The 2007 web page for Ecology will be available through Blackboard.

Research Opportunities at IES, Millbrook NY

Remember our discussion of Acorns, Mice, Gypsy Moths, and Lyme Disease - that research took place at IES! I received the following email on the Ecological Society of America listserv:

Do you know students who would benefit from having a chance to do independent research in ecology this coming summer? Located in the Hudson River Valley 80 miles north of New York City, the Institute of Ecosystem Studies (IES) may be the perfect place for them.

The "Ecology in Context" undergraduate research program at IES is running for its 20th year in 2007. Ten students will join the unique IES research community to:

Jared Diamond Coming to Williams!

If you'll be here in January, mark your calendars!

Heres the announcement from the Oakley Center:

January 10 , 2007, 8:00 PM, Chapin Hall: Jared Diamond, UCLA - Richmond Lecture: "Collapse." Professor Diamond holds academic appointments in both geography and physiology, and has done pathbreaking work in evolutionary biology, but is known to a broad reading public as the Pulitzer Prize winning author of such books as Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997) and The Third Chimpanzee (1992). Most recenly, he is the author of Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (2005).

Christmas Bird Count

I'll be participating in the Audubon's Society Christmas Bird Count for North Berkshire county this Saturday morning. If anyone is interested in joining me (bird ID experience not required), let me know ...

Summer Research Opportunities

I wanted to highlight the opportunities for summer research with Williams College faculty. From the department webpage:

Each summer dozens of students are hired to assist Williams faculty in their research programs. Students work up to ten weeks and receive a stipend of $350/week (if they live in the dormitories their room is paid for, but they must pay for at least a few meals/week in the dining halls). If you are interested in this job opportunity you must first talk to faculty members to discuss your interest in doing research and the type of research being done in their labs. To facilitate this process, there will be an evening informational meeting about summer research one evening in early February, as well as a "lab open house" when current research students and faculty members will be available to answer questions. [Not all faculty will be hiring students this summer--a list of faculty who are hiring students will be available here in early February, but you are welcome at any time to look over the faculty webpages on this website.] After researching the array of research opportunities available, you should carefully read and complete the summer research application and submit it to the Biology Department by 11 PM on February 24, 2007.

Exam Details

I have posted a first set of study questions for the final exam (Click on link under Due Dates: Final Exam). There will be one "integrative question" from the list of candidates presented there. The rest of the exam will be as in our previous hour exams. I'll announce the location and time of the review sessions soon.

Warmer Climate Means Less Plankton, Big Problems for Ocean Populations

SCIENCE IN THE NEWS, from Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society

from the San Francisco Chronicle

When the climate warms, there is a drop in the abundance of the ocean's
phytoplankton, the tiny plants that feed krill, fish and whales, according
to scientists who say the just-released research offers new clues to future
life under global warming.

Ocean temperatures bounce up and down, but over the past century they have
been warming along with the atmosphere. Nine years of NASA satellite data
released today in the journal Nature show that the growth of phytoplankton
drops in warm ocean years and increases in cooler ocean years.

When Questions of Science Come to a Courtroom, Truth Has Many Faces

From the New York Times (use "biol203" for the username and password)

Idealistic lawyers and idealistic scientists often describe themselves as
engaging in a search for truth. The scientists follow the scientific
method. They state their hypotheses, describe the ways they test them,
present their findings — and wait for another researcher to prove them
wrong. Lawyers’ practice is built on the idea that the best way to shake
the truth out of a complex dispute is for advocates on each side to argue
it, as vigorously as they can, in front of an impartial judge or jury.

Problem Set: Species-Area Curves and Incidence Functions

  • Original habitat contains 52 species. This habitat can be deforested in two ways:
    1. One fragment containing 50% of the original area.
    2. Two fragments, each containing 25% of the original area.
  • Using the species-area curve, calculate the number of total spp. remaining for each scenario.
  • Which approach do you advocate? Do incidence functions matter for your conclusions?

Work begins on Arctic seed vault

This isn't new news, but it came up in conversation with a few of you ...

Norway is starting construction on a "doomsday vault" in the Arctic which is designed to house all known varieties of the world's crops.

Read more

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