Recently in Copepod Modeling Category
Panicked with last-minute shopping? Not sure what to get for that special copepodologist in your life?
Well, you've come to the right place. Here is a link to a website where you can buy sterling copepod pins, complete with eggs (made of freshwater pearl). Yours, for the low price of $75.
Don't want to splurge for sterling? How about bronze, for just $65!
It's nice to know that there are artists out there who appreciate the beauty of copepods.
Enjoy your diapause everyone.
-Nick Record, signing off.
Why didn't the bank let the copepod withdraw money from his account?
They knew he was a Pseudocalanus.
And when I said it's the best copepod joke I could come up with, I really meant the only one...but don't worry, the lab is working on it. :)
Sadly, our copepod / right whale forecasting project has all but wrapped up by now. We did produce a few forecasts over the years (e.g. here, here, here, here...), both online and in print, but we never did the movie-star version.
A couple of days ago, on a ferry ride to work, I threw together a whimsical video of what such an eco-cast might look like. The quality (including the newscaster) is not what you would find on cable TV -- you'll notice the amateur nature of it right away -- but it does start to make tangible the idea of an eco-cast.
-Nick Record, signing off
(Mathematicians) (Oceanographers) sin θ ?
Something about a "sine wave"?
I'm sure there's a punchline there somewhere.
At any rate, I recently returned from a great workshop where a subset of mathematicians and a subset of oceanographers intersected in the same pool. It took place at the Mathematical Biosciences Institute at Ohio State. The mix of people and perspectives was great, and the atmosphere was one of learning and brainstorming. There is certainly a need for more integration of these two fields.
The talks spanned a range of topics, ranging from mathy to oceany. Many of the presentations were live-streamed, and can be downloaded here. My talk, "Toward a Grand Unified Theory of Copepods" is posted here:
Before you click, be warned: it's nearly an hour long. Make certain you have some time--you might not be able to tear yourself away.
-Nick Record, signing off.
Indeed, these are the questions that plague me in the wee hours of night. I think to myself, "if only I could pare down those ecosystems to their fundamental properties, and tinker with them." But alas, the biosphere is far too complex.
Instead, I build simplified ecosystems like the one shown below. If you have Java 5 or higher enabled in your browser settings, you can play with this system of "simpupods". These simpupods bounce around randomly within this artificial ecosystem. Different species are denoted by different colors. Each species has an assigned egg size, and an adult size. When two individuals encounter each other, after an implied struggle for survival, the larger one dispassionately consumes the smaller one, and grows accordingly. Once an individual reaches its adult size, it divides its mass into new individuals. "Adult size" and "egg size" are traits that are passed on to offspring.
You'll notice from the histograms below that some species (i.e. egg size / adult size combo) go extinct quickly, while others persist. You can add species by clicking the "add species" button. You can also adjust the speed of the simulation, making it easier to watch.
Nick Record, signing off.
CLICK HERE FOR MODEL
Population connections, community dynamics and climate
Those were the main themes of the 5th International Zooplankton Production Symposium held in Pucon, Chile this March 2011. The meeting has just ended yesterday (03/18).
Jeff Runge called those meetings occurring every four years the "Olympics of zooplankton studies". This wit expresses both Jeff's subtle sense of humour and that those meetings are not your regular science meetings. They are unique occasions to assess the current status of our discipline in terms of techniques and brain power. The attendees presented the state-of-the-art in zooplankton science, which declines itself nowadays in a multitudes of specialized topics like molecular techniques, multivariate statistics, in situ observation and of course, numerical methods.
This specialized nature of the modern oceanographic science implies that we all are rare birds in our respective fields. Hence the importance of meetings like this to gather the community of modelers in order to give our field a concerted direction for the few years to come. And I had the feeling that all the participants of the modeling workshop I was participating in were genuinely trying to build bridges between our contrasting approaches where they meet their respective limits. The common aim was to commit ourselves to design our respective models as a suite of numerical tools that could interact together in order to speed-up the understanding of marine ecosystems' complex mechanisms.
At the moment of ending this effervescence of ideas and good energy, the usual assessment was made by Roger Harris, the one oceanographer in the assembly who was present at the very first meeting in 1961!
It was definitely worth it! I would like to finish on a personal note, by telling to any
"young career scientist" fellow that those events are key. You should never let any analysis,
thesis redaction or stubborn supervisor stand between you and the keys to your
future. I had constructive chats, welcome
marks of recognition for the work done mostly alone in front of an irksome monitor,
and even serious job offers.
To finish the advice section, I'll let you on a video tutorial on how to instantaneously carve oneself a place in the hall of fame of your field...