Rob, my husband, and I decided to head to the Florida Keys for Easter break. Realizing that as we drove south we would pass right by Florida International University, I had to connect with the two research scientists I would be working with this summer. I was surprised that they were actually working in the lab this week because it is spring break for FIU --- they must be really hard workers.
**Dr. Steve Oberbauer and Paulo Olivas **took us up to one of Steve’s labs in the HLS building. They showed us around, introduced us to grad students and explained some of the other projects they had going on. They do lots of work not only in Barrow, Alaska but also in the Florida Everglades and in Costa Rica. I also got to see some of the equipment we would be using over the summer.
Then they got out the map of Barrow and the surrounding arctic tundra. This was very exciting because the map was so large that it was easy for them to show us where we would be working, where we ride our bikes to and from, the town of Barrow, and Point Barrow. This really put some things into perspective for me and helped me gain more insight to what my life would be like this summer.
We visited some of the green houses were Paulo had Arctic TundraA treeless area between the icecap and the tree line of arctic regions, having a permanently frozen subsoil and supporting low-growing vegetation such as lichens, mosses, and stunted shrubs. Sedges growing. He had some growing in controlled environmental chambers. Most of them were doing well, some of them were getting some local weeds in them. It was important for him to remove the weeds before they spread.
I thought is was great that some of these sedges were able to grow outdoors in Florida. They looked a little scrappy, but Steve and Paulo said they really looked just as scrappy in Barrow. It is wild to think that something that lives in such extreme conditions in the arctic could actually live just as well in the tropics. This gives me some ideas to discuss with my students about a project our class could design. I am also excited to bring back some pieces of the arctic tundra after my expedition.
It was great spending an hour or so with them. They are both super nice and it will be a pleasure working together this summer. And if **Steve is "the TALL one and Paulo is the MEDIUM one, then I am for sure the SHORT one!”
**Don't you think???
***Paulo is holding a sedge that he brought back from Barrow. It has since been growing outside in Miami. ***