Winter World Travels

Elaine Montes, Environmental Biology PhD Student and 2017 IGERT fellow, traveled to the Galapagos Islands for research on Darwin’s Finches. She is currently investigating the connection between urbanization and finch food preference, behavioral changes, and longevity. From January 4th to the 29th, Elaine worked with colleagues from Norway, Ecuador, and the UK to band, measure, and collect blood samples for later analysis. Read her blog here.

Emily Moothart, Environmental Scientist and 2016 Associate IGERT Fellow, presented her research on the importance of urban parks ancoastal communities at the Global Congress of the International Land Conservation Network (ILCN), which was held January 24th -26th in Santiago, Chile. Emily’s talk was titled From Communities to Countries: Visionary Conservation in a Changing World. While in Chile, Emily also had a chance to fulfill a lifelong dream of backpacking Patagonia.

Brianna Shaughnessy, Environmental Biology PhD Student and 2017 IGERT Fellow, visited the “SubeLab” at the Esación de Coserta de Investigaciones Marinas (ECIM) in Las Cruces, Chile. While visiting ECIM, Brianna was hosted by fish biologist and ecologist Alejandro Prez-Matus. Alé is a long-time collaborator of Jarrett Byrnes’ Lab at UMass Boston. With the help of Alé and his dive team, Brianna collected standardized data on Central Chilean kelp forests to be added to the growing open-source database for the Kelp Ecosystem Ecology Network (KEEN), a key tool for performing comparative ecological research on vital kelp forests. At ECIM Brianna also presented on the development of KEEN’s network goals, research, and standardized protocols, and attended a symposium on modern interdisciplinary research in Chilean Ecology. She was fortunate to meet with many Chilean ecologists, including Sergio Navarrete and Evie Wieters.

Photo by Alejandro Perez-Matus

Jack Whitacre, Global Governance PhD Student and 2017 IGERT Fellow, visited Tromso, Norway and the Lofoten Islands to study Arctic ecosystems, policy, culture, and history. While traveling by boat above the Arctic Circle, the group visited coastal communities from Norway’s farming and fishing tradition. At the Arctic Frontiers conference in downtown Tromso, Jack presented a poster on Iceland and the maritime cyber security of exports. Jack’s winter travel highlighted the benefits of networking across fields and connecting with leaders from a variety of backgrounds. It opened new doors for future collaboration and appreciation for global environmental issues.

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