Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Year

Drought in the Daintree

Global climate change constantly haunts the minds of scientists, especially here in Australia. The Great Barrier Reef (GBR), which cradles the coast of tropical North Queensland, exhibits one of the most famous examples of the impacts of climate change. Increasing temperatures and ocean acidification have caused the edges of the reef to die off in large… Continue reading Drought in the Daintree

Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Year

Prerequisites to Inisight

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

Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Year

Daintree Night Hiking

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

Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Year

Diversity within a single fig

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

Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Year

Electric Ants!

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!