When I think of a scientist, I must admit that I still immediately think of someone wearing a white lab coat. I imagine someone working in a white-washed, sterile room filled with test tubes and microscopes (remember Dexter's Laboratory)? If you google image search the word "scientist," you will find that the top stock photos are of images of just that- laboratory environments and multicolored concoctions. These representations of scientists are not all encompassing. In fact, most of the scientists I know don't resemble the stock photos. Ecology, or the study of organisms and their environment, requires a different type of laboratory... the natural environment. Although there are as many subfields of ecology as there are ice cream flavors (perhaps this is an overstatement), many ecologists consider nature their laboratory. We often conduct experiments and observations in remote areas, sometimes requiring us to hike and camp. The dress code for a field ecologist often includes boots, jeans, and a sunhat. Next time you are asked to think about what a scientist looks like, just remember that not all scientists look like Dexter.
To give a better sense of what I do on a daily basis, watch this short video here. This summer, I have been working at Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Gothic, CO. We created this video for those folks following the Phipps Botany in Action program.
About this blog:
I created this blog as part of the Phipps Botany in Action Program, 2015 - 2017