Ecology is big, ecology is small

Ecology is big. Ecology is extreme. We wanna see the big things, the amazing things that happen out there in nature. The crazier, the better.

Walking trail in Muir Woods

That was my first thought when I went out to see the giant coastal redwoods from California, the tallest trees in the world, an amazing walk between giants.

Large coastal redwood

But it turns out that I find the small things a lot more exciting, as soon as I get to know them. As an ecologist, when I get a closer look at a natural system, I get sucked in to it. I wanna use the smallest scale to explain the bigger patterns.

Clover understory

And I see that with a lot of the talks here at the conference in Sacramento. We need to get to the smallest scale before we can explain the big questions. Micro is the key to get to the macro.

Fern with spores

That was playing through my head when I turned away from the big redwoods (they do not fit nicely on one picture anyway) and started focusing on the small plants in the understory.

Understory vegetation

I turned into the Lost Trail and realized my Trail was not Lost. I see the questions I have to ask, and I know where to go from here, after the conference.

Lost trail in Muir Woods

My talk on friday will show some highlights from this Not-Lost Trail, with some very nice viewpoints along the track. But the best views are yet to come, in the next 4 years of my PhD. Hopefully ending somewhere with a nice overview on the broader picture.

Dusty fern Fern  Forest plant

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3 Responses to Ecology is big, ecology is small

  1. What lovely photos! Great job, human!

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