Compare and Contrast: Looking at figures in a new light

Is it possible to put yourself in another person’s shoes and see the world from their point-of-view? When you are trying to communicate the results of your research, it is necessary to consider how others see things, both figuratively and literally. Since many of us are visual learners and gravitate towards images in articles or presentations or websites, it is important to make the pictures that … Continue reading Compare and Contrast: Looking at figures in a new light

Is it really the end of the summer?!

This year (#5 of my PhD) is one devoted to the analysis of data and writing of my dissertation, and for most of the year I will be in Istanbul, Turkey. As summer ends and the school year begins I am thinking about the autumn New England weather and traditions I’m missing… apple picking, leaf peeping, and going for runs around my neighborhood in the evening … Continue reading Is it really the end of the summer?!

Express yourself, hey, hey, hey, hey

Individual mammalian cells are almost always too small to be seen by the naked eye – most require at least a light microscope [this interactive shows relative sizes]. But now, as unbelievable as it sounds, it is possible to characterize and compare the gene expression going on inside of individual cells using next generation sequencing and a technique called Smart-Seq. The technique is sensitive enough … Continue reading Express yourself, hey, hey, hey, hey

If you can’t join them, stream it

As the olympics of coral reef science, the International Coral Reef Symposium only happens every 4 years. This means that it will occur once or twice during an average PhD student’s tenure. I just missed the previous ICRS, which took place in Florida in 2008 – and this year I wasn’t able to make it to the meeting for a number of reasons: distance (it … Continue reading If you can’t join them, stream it

Blue Crabs a la Turka

This past month I moved back to Turkey, where I was living before starting my PhD at Northeastern. My husband lives here, and as he also works in ecology and evolution research, the summer often presents some opportunities to get into the field. This time we are looking for blue crabs, which are an invasive species in the Mediterranean. Researchers from the University of Texas … Continue reading Blue Crabs a la Turka

Capturing the Beauty of Nahant

Today we have a special guest blog post from my fellow grad student in the Vollmer lab, Chris Marks, who is also a talented photographer. I asked Chris to share some of his shots from around Nahant, because… well, as you can see, they are amazing. I highly recommend that you check out more of Chris’ Portraits of Nahant at Recording the world around us in … Continue reading Capturing the Beauty of Nahant

Linking genes and evolution

As a human, which I assume you are if you are reading this blog :), you have probably wondered how did different species evolve? How did four-limbed vertebrates move from water to land (and back to water again)? How did we become human? And, why are we the only species that cares about any of these questions? ‘The Modern Synthesis’ is a term used since … Continue reading Linking genes and evolution

Some foundational coral reef reading

Even in the library, I am easily distracted… I just happened to run across Darwin’s book Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs and had to investigate. Charles Darwin was one of the first coral biologists, and this book was the first monograph he produced out of his voyage on the Beagle. The book is more about the geological consequences of the coral than in the … Continue reading Some foundational coral reef reading