Updates: Despite the global pandemic, the Davidson lab moves forward with what research can be done from the safe confines of our homes and computers. Sarah Albright continues to develop and test a device to measure the tensile force of different algae in her garage. By examining the tensile force, she can test the biomechanical properties of different algae species and sizes. Ultimately, we hope we can infer how algae species and size may influence fragmentation, a method that some invasive algae use to disperse and propagate. Ethan Roberts (now recently graduated!) has moved onto a job with the state where he helps to monitor and control invasive weeds. We're sad to see him go, but happy to hear of his successes. He continues to analyze and write up his research on the environmental effects of isopod burrows. Davidson has been hard at work analyzing and writing up research from his mangrove research on introduced Hawaii mangroves and project examining the biogeography of invasive shipworm borers. We're all looking forward to returning to the field next season (hopefully) when the infection risk gets low enough. Until then, we'll isolate, keep working on our computer-based projects, and keep wearing our masks.
Good news: I am happy to announce a new paper published in Science Activities called "Leaf detective: using evidence of damage on mangrove leaves to measure the effects of different herbivores." In this lesson, elementary students examine real mangrove leaves (digitized) to infer which organism(s) caused the damage they observe. They practice making a scientific question, collect data, graph, and then make a conclusion based on scientific evidence. This lesson represents several years of work and testing in both Sacramento and Hawaii elementary classrooms. My Hawaii collaborators and I are happy that we can share this lesson idea with K-6 teachers. Please email me for a copy, if you do not have access through the link above. And teachers are welcome to contact me if you wish to discuss ideas on how to adapt it to an online learning environment.
I hope everyone stays safe and vigilant. Wearing a mask saves lives!