Codi Kozacek took a “crash course in urban watersheds” last week in Baltimore, Md., as a fellow in the MBL Logan Science Journalism Program. Kozacek is a reporter for Circle of Blue, a publication with an intense focus on water and its relationships to food, energy, and health. She describes her experience here.

 

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By Chris Neill

Logan Science Journalism fellows Codi Kozacek (left), Susan Phillips and Nick Clark help Baltimore Ecosystems Study research assistant Heather Goodman collect water from trash in an abandoned lot in inner Baltimore. Tiny amounts of water in trash serve as breeding habitat for mosquitoes. The BES studies the relationship between income levels, urban habitat and the composition and abundance of urban mosquito communities. Credit: Chris Neill

MBL Logan Science Journalism Environmental fellows Codi Kozacek (left), Susan Phillips and Nick Clark help Baltimore Ecosystems Study research assistant Heather Goodman collect water from trash in an abandoned lot in inner Baltimore. Tiny amounts of water in trash serve as breeding habitat for mosquitoes. The BES studies the relationship between income levels, urban habitat and the composition and abundance of urban mosquito communities. Credit: Chris Neill

In urban West Baltimore, the mosquito Aedes albopictus is an increasing nuisance. Another species, Culex pipiens, is an important vector for West Nile virus. Both species are more common in low-income neighborhoods because they breed in ephemeral standing water created by trash, such as plastic cups and old tires.

Six MBL Logan Science Journalism Program (SJP) Environmental Fellows, led by Baltimore Ecosystems Study (BES) scientist Shannon LaDeau and BES researcher Heather Goodman, sampled larval mosquitoes and surveyed mosquito habitats in two inner-city blocks in West Baltimore last week. Back in the laboratory, they identified mosquito species under dissecting microscopes.

The SJP Environmental Fellows ventured to inner-city Baltimore to participate in one of the world’s largest coordinated studies of urban ecosystems. The BES is one of the National Science Foundation’s 26 Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) projects.

The Baltimore Ecosystems Study examines how the human-built ecosystem of a large U.S. city influences ecological process such as nutrient flows in watersheds and plant species composition along gradients from the inner city to outlying “exurbs,” and how peoples’ attitudes to green space and other ecological features shape the structure of city neighborhoods.

The Environmental Fellows spent two days with BES scientists. They also collected water samples from streams running from the inner city to an outlying area with Peter Groffman, and from storm-water detention ponds managed in different ways by neighborhood associations with Chris Swan.

The Logan Science Journalism Program’s Environmental Hands-On Research Course is led by MBL Ecosystems Center Director Chris Neill and Ecosystems Center Senior Research Assistant Richard McHorney. The Environmental Fellows are joining the SJP Biomedical Fellows at the MBL this week to complete their fellowship in Woods Hole.

Carlo Bocconcelli, a senior at Falmouth Academy and student researcher working in the lab of MBL scientist Joel Smith under the guidance of postdoctoral associate Sarah Tulin, won second place in the Intel International Science Fair Competition, held last week in Los Angeles. Carlo’s project involved developing a method for detecting regulatory regions in the sea urchin genome which produced promising results the lab intends to submit for publication this summer. Carlo will be joining Harvard’s freshman class this coming fall. Congratulations, Carlo!

CARLO

Jerry Melillo, distinguished scientist at the MBL's Ecosystems Center, leads a panel discussion of the National Climate Assessment yesterday at the White House. Melillo is chairman of the advisory committee that prepared the assessment for interagency U.S. Global Change Research Program. Screen shot by Gina Hebert.

Jerry Melillo, Distinguished Scientist at the MBL’s Ecosystems Center, leads a panel discussion of the National Climate Assessment yesterday at the White House. Melillo is chairman of the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee. Screen shot by Gina Hebert.

The major messages of the Third National Climate Assessment released yesterday — climate change is already here, its impacts are being felt in every U.S. region, it is caused by human activity, and it is not too late to take action — were discussed far and wide, in thousands of news articles and broadcasts across the nation. For scientists like the MBL’s Jerry Melillo who have spent decades documenting global climate change, this is a great leap forward. This White House infographic summarizes some of the major findings of the Assessment, and outlines national plans to prepare for climate change impacts, reduce carbon pollution, and lead international efforts to address global climate change. Melillo is chairman of the federal advisory committee that prepared the assessment for the interagency U.S. Global Change Research Program.

 

We congratulate the following members of the MBL community who were recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences class of 2014.  One of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies, the Academy is also a leading center for independent policy research.

Members contribute to Academy publications and studies of science and technology policy, energy and global security, social policy and American institutions, and the humanities, arts, and education.

  • Kenneth A. Dill, Stony Brook University, alumnus, Physiology
  • Leslie Anne Leinwand, University of Colorado, Boulder, MBL Society Member; former faculty, Physiology
  • Claudio Daniel Stern, University College London, former faculty, Embryology; former lecturer, Embryology
  • Dora E. Angelaki, Baylor College of Medicine, former lecturer, Neural Systems & Behavior
  • Bruce Palmer Bean, Harvard Medical School , former lecturer, Neurobiology, Methods in Computational Neuroscience
  • John Henry Richard Maunsell, University of Chicago, former faculty, Methods in Computational Neuroscience
  • David A. McCormick, Yale University School of Medicine, former faculty/lecturer, Methods in Computational Neuroscience
  • Larry James Young, Emory University, former lecturer, Neural Systems & Behavior
  • Graham A.C. Bell, McGill University, former faculty, X-Microbiology

The Academy also elected 26 members with UChicago ties, including eight faculty members and three trustees.

Read more about the Academy’s new class here.

 

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