Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Paleoecologists go virtual!

This is the inaugural post of our new blog, Pollen:Charcoal as Vegetation:Fire. Pollen is to charcoal as vegetation is to fire. Pollen and charcoal are both records of past environments that we use to interpret vegetation and fire history. Our study sites include - but are not limited to - Patagonia, Yellowstone, Tasmania and New Zealand. We obtain these pollen and charcoal records via lake sediment coring.

Paleoecology Group goes coring - with some awkward equipment and outfits. Yellowstone 2011.
Photo credits: Laurie Stahle

My role in the Paleoecology Group is as lab manager and research assistant. It is my responsibility to make sure researchers in our group have a functioning lab facility at their disposal. I order supplies, fix machines, and facilitate logistics for lab and field work. I also make sure that our wonderful undergraduate lab technicians are on track and in sync with one another and the graduate student researcher they are working for.

We are based in Bozeman, Montana, USA, a cool college town of approximately 30,000 with stellar access to some of the best winter outdoor activities in the country - ice climbing, downhill snow sports, cross country skiing, you name it! We are also well-situated for field work trips to "the Park" (i.e. Yellowstone), which is located less than 2hrs away. Field work trips often include excursions to various hot springs - gotta soak those sore coring muscles! – as well as other science-extensional shenanigans.

Slough Creek, Northern Range, Yellowstone National Park, September 2011

Photo credits: Laurie Stahle

The Paleoecology Group loves science and studying the ecology of past environments. It is our hope that through this blog we can communicate our enthusiasm and scientific research to a broader audience that extends beyond our local collaborators and one another. So, readers, we hope you enjoy. Stay tuned for stories about our field work coring lakes, our lab work counting charcoal and pollen, and our research in Paleoecology at large!


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