For the first two months of my Watson year, I surveyed a cocoa farm for its insect diversity! Here i share insights about the unique growth of cocoa for chocolate and the insects which may save it.
One fourth of my Watson year is over and out of all the lessons I have learned so far, the most resounding truth is “negative experiences are often prerequisites to insight.” This phrase can be found on the ‘Getting it right’ card that the Watson committee supplied me with and that I’ve held onto while… Continue reading Prerequisites to Inisight
Over the weekend I had the pleasure of being guided through the Daintree World Heritage Reserve Rainforest by herpetologist, Stephen Zozaya. Equipped with headlights and camera gear, we snuck through the forest looking for the eye-shine of spiders, geckos, and frogs. Along the way I learned spiders’ eyes glitter in greens, reds, and blues as you… Continue reading Daintree Night Hiking
Fig wasps of family Agaonidae are famously studied with their complex life cycle documented in elegant illustrations like Encylopedia Britainica’s seen below. A striking sexual dimorphism exists between these two wasps as the males are essentially a phallus and pair of jaws, while the females are fully winged and typically exhibit elegantly elongated heads. This… Continue reading Diversity within a single fig
When I first considered where I would travel for a Watson year, I immediately thought of Australia. This continent “down under” has held such an allure for several scientists based on its unique wildlife including the top ten most deadly animals in the world. Despite these impressive venoms and hostilities, wildlife here is quite fragile. Millions of years of… Continue reading Electric Ants!
About a year ago, I and several of my friends went to an informational meeting about the Watson Fellowship. All of us had already attended other meetings learning about this fellowship and the chance to design a project for world travel. Nervous about starting our senior year and encountering the reality that would follow graduation,… Continue reading Sudden Seredipity
Insect encounters may be the quickest explanation for my project with the more scientific description of ethnoentomology, the study of insects in culture, tagged in. I am two weeks into my Watson year of independent study, and have come up with as many different descriptions of my project as people I have met. In short,… Continue reading From Extermination to Appreciation: My Watson year begins