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Your mind has just been BLOWN!

Friday, July 19, 2013, by Johanna Recalde Quishpe
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I think we can all agree that the moment when you learn a new fact that has you rethinking your entire life is one of the best feelings. Am I right or am I right? Well, this summer I was fortunate enough to spend 11 weeks with the smartest and most interesting group of kids (not really kids, but not really adults either) in the middle of a beautiful forest. Here's a recount of some of the new things we've learned:

[Hiking Mount Greylock with the roommates.]1. Daddy long legs are not spiders! What? Everything I know about life has been a lie! Daddy longlegs are arachnids, but they're not spiders. Instead they are called harvestmen.
2. Eating deer is the best thing you can do for the environment. People from the East Coast are more aware of this because of the high deer population (duh), but was definitely a shock for me since I'm from LA.
3. (This is for the non-Spanish speakers) La cucaracha translates to "the cockroach." Not that mind blowing, but it's part of the summer learning experience for some people to learn the language of other students and for others to teach them!
4. Killer whales (i.e. orcas) are actually dolphins. What?
[The view from Raup house!]5. Mantis shrimps are basically superheroes. They have 16 cones in their eyes, while humans only have 3. If we could throw a baseball at 1/10th of the strength that a mantis shrimp can punch, we'd throw it into Earth's orbit. And when they punch, they hit so hard that they create a shockwave that bounds outwards through the water, stunning everything around them. (Thanks to Angus and Justine for this!)

Let your mind settle for a bit. Now, I'll leave you with some more information on my own personal research project this summer.

[The minirhizotron camera used for my research project.]

I've been working on researching the effects of soil warming and nitrogen fertilization on root processes. Roots, unfortunately, are many times ignored in studies that look at the carbon sink potential of forest soils, something that is very important in a time of escalating climate change. By understanding the way climate change will affect root processes, we can better understand how carbon sinks can potentially change in the future.

[Research Partner Olympics of 2013. Great memories. To alleviate any concerns you may have, the fire trucks were at the forest for an unrelated false fire alarm. They did make for a cool photo op, though.]

Overall, this summer has been full of wonderful memories. It has not been a summer without roadblocks, though at the end of the day the other students I spent time with made this experience pleasantly memorable.

Johanna Recalde Quishpe

Quirky Q&A with Johanna

If you won the lottery, what would you buy first? I would buy the most decked out, environmentally friendly house for my parents equipped with a garden and pool. It would also have a great guesthouse in case I land on hard times later on in life and have to move in with my parents again. 

If you wanted to earn $50.00 how would you like to earn the money? If I could earn $50 by napping, I think I would be a very happy person. I am the queen of napping, so making money out of it would be nice.

What's your favorite board game? I'm gonna go with Dominion, which I first learned to play here at the Forest. It's awesome. Also, what did you expect would be my answer considering our group is a bunch of nerdy ecologists? Settlers of Catan is a close second, though.

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