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September 12, 2017

Exploring an Ecosystem in Transition: On the Road to Flamingo II

We saw possible signs of the Everglades’ response to accelerated sea level rise at our next stop, the Pay-hay-okee overlook. Beyond Taylor Slough the road continues west through rocky pineland upland habitat before heading south through freshwater marl prairie. The overlook is built on the edge of Shark River Slough, the park’s other, larger flow […]

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September 8, 2017

Exploring an Ecosystem in Transition: The Road to Flamingo

The Florida Everglades is an ecosystem in transition, but is it transitioning toward a condition that people find desirable? This is a question that the Everglades report card may be able to answer. Currently, the Integration and Application Network is working with water managers and ecologists to incorporate an environmental report card into the Everglades […]

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May 15, 2017

What are these data trying to tell us?

“Let the data speak for themselves,” is a quote frequently attributed to Sir R. A. Fisher. Fisher was biologist who was drawn to the task of sifting through 70 years of data on crop yields and genetics accumulated at Rothamsted Experimental Station. The challenge of making sense of all this data led Fisher to develop […]

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December 15, 2016

Science, communication, and story-telling for social change

Last weekend I attended a workshop that gave me a different perspective on communicating through story telling and on the stories that scientists tell among ourselves. The workshop was Building Skills for Change put on by the Institute for Change Leaders. Olivia Chow, who led the workshop, is well-known in Canada for her work in municipal […]

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August 11, 2016

Rachel Carson versus the Zombie Horde

Does Rachel Carson still have something to teach us about communicating science to the public? Silent Spring, Carson’s 1962 best-seller on the environmental perils of herbicides and pesticides, launched the movement that created the Environmental Protection Agency. But, the communications field has changed a lot in the last 50 years. The era of television came […]

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February 22, 2016

4 ways sea level rise and climate change are reshaping the coast

The experience of the last several generations has been that, while we cannot master the processes that shape the coast, we have been able to anticipate and mitigate their impact. The position of the coastline reflects the interplay of dynamic processes. Until recently, these processes have maintained a rough equilibrium. Most places in the US, […]

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February 12, 2016

Indian River Lagoon: Environmental Literacy

The concept of environmental literacy derives from a series of programs that have established various literacy principles, for example, Ocean Literacy and Chesapeake Bay literacy. Literacy principles form the framework, but it is the richness of examples, stories and visual supporting materials that enliven the understanding of our environment. The seven principles that an informed […]

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September 18, 2015

Building coastal resilience through stories

Coastal scientists have an important role helping communities become more resilient by telling people what changes can be expected from climate change and sea level rise. But, how can you tell people about change that is coming, in a way that makes it tangible for people and motivates them to act, when the extent of […]

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July 9, 2015

Learning to operate the Mississippi River

Re-engineering the Mississippi River presents political as well as technical challenges. Advances in technology since the beginning of the industrial revolution have transformed both transportation along the Mississippi River and the river itself. The invention of the paddlewheel steamboat in the early 1800s offered a radical advance over previous, more primitive modes of river transportation. […]

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February 4, 2015

Does rising sea level signal the end for LUMCON, or a beginning?

On December 10, I traveled to Cocodrie, Louisiana, to visit Dr. Nancy Rabalais. Nancy is the Director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON), and she has done more than anyone else to draw attention to hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. Nutrients in runoff from the Mississippi watershed trigger low-oxygen conditions in the shallow […]

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