Category: Educational

Beyond the Reaches of Sunlight

It was 1843 when British naturalist Edward Forbes declared life in the ocean cannot exist below 300 fathoms (1800 feet).  Ten years later American naturalist Louis F. de Pourtales of the U.S. Coast Survey found indications of life in depths over 1000 fathoms (6000…

Wetlands…Nature’s QuikTrip

What is a wetland?  Wetlands have many names such as swamps, marshes, bogs, sedge meadows, wet prairies, fens, and seeps.   No matter their name, they share these three characteristics: wetland hydrology, hydrophytic vegetation, and hydric soils. But have you ever heard of wetlands called…

Is there life on Earth without the biogeochemical cycles?

The living components on Earth can survive because all the chemical elements which make up living cells is recycled continuously.  This recycling is done through our biogeochemical cycles.  We have the gaseous cycles which include nitrogen, oxygen, carbon, and water; and sedimentary cycles which…

Why should we care about biodiversity?

Biodiversity exists on three scales: ecosystems, species, and genetic.  Biodiversity is a key indicator of the health and stability of an ecosystem.  An ecosystem consisting of a variety of populations which are genetically diverse will cope better when threatened by pollution, climate change, or…

Negative population growth…good for the environment, bad for the economy?

Some people think the planet has surpassed its carrying capacity for humans while others believe the planet can handle more people thanks to our innovative ways to grow and provide food for everyone.  As a country progresses through the demographic transition model (DTM) the…

Who speaks for the trees?

What do you see when you look at a tree?  In some cultures, trees represent courage and strength.  In science we see a tree as a producer of oxygen, habitat for birds, a storage container for carbon, a windbreaker, a climate controller, a soil…

Algal Blooms

This summer some of you might have heard about the algal bloom in Lake Okeechobee or the red tide along the shores of Southwest Florida near Tampa.  Algal blooms (algae blooms) are a natural phenomenon, but have increased in abundance due to anthropogenic activities. …