On June 20th the Poli lab embarked for Roan Mountain TN at 6m to attend the American Bryological and Lichenological Meeting. Roan Mountain was about a 3 hour drive from Roanoke and was easily done the morning the meeting started. Adventures ranged from informative meeting talks, workshops, field trips, poster sessions, and social hours.
The next morning we all got together to travel to Beech Mountain –and the real adventures began. Our first stop was at the brand new Beech Creek Bog State Natural Area; beautiful ferns reached for the sky and guarded the area, but we pushed through mountain bog full of sphagnum, lycopods, and lichens galore. Here the students were able to watch bryologists in action, looking at all types of plants in the field. They watched experts name species on the spot; Bryan and Laura feverishly took notes and kept their ears peels to soak in the most knowledge possible.
Since one of our recent projects looked at lycopods, the group was very attuned to the different lycopods that occurred. In one spot we noticed four species growing in less than a three foot by three foot location! One was a trailing rhizome variety and the other three were from the Lycopodium genus. The one pictured below was determined to be an actual hybrid of the other two Lycopodium. Lycopodium gametophytes are generally underground, and if the area doesn’t stay wet, they will not germinate successfully. The Sphagnum bog beds kept the area moist enough to allow the tricky life cycle to occur and the beautiful diversity to prevail.
Wednesday morning, the students began to feel the pressure of presenting their data to the society. However, by the time the poster session occurred, both Bryan Piatkowski and Laura Kellam did an excellent job representing the evolution of polar auxin transport! Bryan, like a pro, gave a succinct summary of his uptake and efflux work. Laura filled in for Jessica Branning; Laura was able to calmly and accurately represent the polar auxin transport work in Dicranium gametophytes. Together, the evolution was obvious! Good job Poli lab…EvoKat is proud of you!
And through it all…Laura still found bones! I guess it really was a wonderful trip!
As an educator I am constantly being asked, “other than going into medicine, what can I do with a degree in biology?” At a time when our country’s President is calling for people to become educated in the sciences because it is the only way the US will stay a super power, I felt compelled to respond to this question in a more public domain.
Below is a list of potential jobs you can get with a degree in biology. Some of these jobs may need further training but getting your B. S. in biology is the first step. Many of these jobs may seem obvious, but many others may seem strange. Think about what your life’s passions are and how your degree in biology could be bent to fill that niche. That is what Biology is all about – it is the study of life, it is the use of your life to observe and make the world better through understanding!
Greenhouse manager or technician
Golf course grasses manager
Department of Defense/Homeland Security
Companion animal adoption coordinator
Animal Shelter worker
Chemical safety officer
Public relations for a scientific company or community
Biology Specialization once you have your biology degree:
Food Science and Technology
Natural Resource Management
So in other words, if you love something living enough to be obsessed with it (like turtles or sharks, maybe roses?), then study it in depth. Adventure into that realm to its fullest. Never stop learning and pursue your love. You never know what may come from it!
Until next time…