2015 Ecosphere paper back in the news

I was lucky enough to be interviewed a few weeks ago for Elizabeth Dunbar’s Minnesota Public Radio on cyanobacteria (aka blue-green algae) and their role in dog deaths.  My audio was cut out of the broadcast version, but the text is available or you can listen to the extended version online. Nothing particularly profound, but it’s cool to know that our work on cyanobacteria as modifiers of lake nutrient cycling is of interest beyond the narrow realm of ecology.

Jess gets her turn in the spotlight!

Grad student Jessica Trout-Haney’s poster at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting in December got picked up by Emily Benson in a story published online at Eos. Links to the piece then spread rapidly via Twitter just before the holiday break.

The piece has an interest-grabbing lede: “Giant Balls of Bacteria Pile Up on Arctic Lake Beds, Ooze Toxin” and used one of Jess’s underwater photos to further whet interest – nice examples of science journalism!

Credit to Jess Trout-Haney; published online at Eos, see link in text.

Credit to Jess Trout-Haney

Those giant balls are a colonial cyanobacterium called Nostoc, and are called “sea tomatoes” by the locals in Greenland, where Jess works during the northern hemisphere summer.  Her dissertation will include chapters about Nostoc physiology and production of toxins, especially microcystins, as well as its landscape limnology across a gradient from the fjord to the ice sheet near Kangerlussuaq.

Stay tuned for more as Jess goes into the home stretch on her thesis…. For now, though, she’s in Antarctica – follow her on Twitter @JVTHaney to see what she’s up to down there!

Two big weeks in the media for lab members Kathy and Sam

It’s been a week of back-to-back high profile papers for members of the lab. Go team go!

On January 8, the Team Gloeo PIs had our concepts & synthesis paper on cyanobacteria as drivers of nutrient cycling in lakes published in the open access journal Ecosphere. Because the work is on cyanobacteria (and perhaps because it was a slow news week?), several members of the media picked up on the story and we were covered on several local NPR affiliates as well as in The Blade and the Minnesota Post. (Thank you to all of my media training gurus for making the process somewhat less stressful, especially Katherine Lanpher, Catherine O’Neill, and the other folks from the OpEd Project!)

On January 12, postdoc Sam Fey had a paper describing recent increases in mass extinction events across a wide variety of organisms published in PNAS.  This, too, has been featured in a number of publications, including a just-aired radio interview.

As Sam told me yesterday, talking about our work can be very time-consuming, but it’s also a fun and an important part of the job!