Monday, June 30, 2014

Knowledge is Power

I mentioned in my last post that I wasn't aware that the lake at this point would look so pretty and lacking in algal bloom. There are some spots that are starting to develop that famous green layer, but overall, the lake looks alright. 

An algal bloom that was only visible for a few days

From talking with the other students and attending presentations for what each group's plans for research are at this point, I have definitely learned a lot about the different aspects that are affecting the algal bloom issue rather than just the science behind it. I can't wait to keep learning about everyone's projects and gain some more knowledge about these other areas. 

Other new things that I've been learning include: how to respond if I happen to see a bear on my run, where I can find the best cheese that exists (a Wisconsin farmer's market), that GIS is a magical mapping system, how to pipette like a boss, that much of the northern geography of the U.S. was shaped by glaciation, it rains way too much here, and also how to figure out how much phosphorus is in water sample. Pretty soon, I'll be operating a boat and collecting samples from the lakes and rivers and the real research can begin.

A very cool 3D neighborhood that was created using GIS
Chippewa River, created from glaciation 

At this point, I don't know what to expect to see as far as how the water quality changes throughout the water shed and if we will get to see any significant changes over the time span that we have left here. I feel as though, with the knowledge that I have, I can make some pretty good assumptions about what I will find in my own research on the toxicity levels in the lake over time and space, but I am unsure what effects, if any, my findings will have on the community's view of the lake. I hold out hope that it might help provoke a sense of urgency in finding a solution for cleaning up what could be a beautiful lake year round. 

Completion of the first two weeks of this REU means that our background research is mostly complete and we've decided on our projects, so now we can start diving into learning new things that will hopefully help us make a difference in cleaning up this environment. Personally, I can't wait to start collecting samples and becoming very attached to my lab coat. 

No comments:

Post a Comment