Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Week of November 25

With most exams and essay assignments completed for my courses, the next few weeks will mostly consist of writing my research papers and studying for finals. I've decided to narrow my focus on my forest ecology paper by studying the impact on air quality in urban areas from urban trees and vegetation. The paper will still focus on New York City examples given the great amount of research that is available. Did you know that planting evergreens is most advantageous to improving air quality in urban environments? This is because evergreens can absorb and intercept pollutants year round compared to deciduous trees.

How about that Stickleback experiment? Well unfortunately, our statistical data failed to support our hypothesis that an introduced predator would result in the adaptation of more robust armor in stickleback. One of our invasive pike introduced lakes did show armor robustness in pelvic spines, but the other did not, and there was evidently no change in dorsal spine lengths between generations. Hey, it happens. Our scope of study was very small and there were numerous environmental factors that could have influenced our data (such as calcium content in the lakes, the presence of trout, and other lake variables). The study did teach me a lot about the impact that an invasive species can have on an environment and the harmful repercussions of introducing non-native species such as pike to aquatic environments. There is one last exam in my evolution course coming up so I'll be very busy studying for that later this week!

Both my international security and U.S.- Latin America relations courses are winding down with research papers due at the end of the term as well. Including today, there are 19 days left until the semester ends and my academic career at Clark comes to an end. This semester has gone by quite fast for me. The past two years at Clark seem very recent to me, but my freshman and sophomore years feel very distant. Time to figure out what to do next right? C'est la vie.


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