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Seeing Green: Out of the ivory silo

What does an oceanographer do, anyway? Pet sharks all day?”

I’ll always remember the haughty tone of those words, delivered in my first week of graduate school at MIT, by one of my classmates in the biology Ph.D. program. Alone, they might be funny, or at least ironic: My best friend actually does pet sharks, if by “pet” you mean “harpoon with high-tech tags to track the world’s biggest fish as they cruise through the world’s oceans.” But after more comments about how I wasn’t a “real biologist” and that ecology wasn’t a valid science, I quickly realized I was fighting an uphill battle for respect.

Seeing Green: The Climate (Dis)Connection

Few people embody scientific glamour more than my friend Jeff, who dropped in two weeks ago on his way home from a two-month research mission in Antarctica. Aboard Swedish and American ships, Jeff towed an underwater camera recording footage of the Southern Ocean sea floor. So, in addition to de rigueur snapshots of Adelie penguins and towering icebergs, Jeff has a collection of king crab portraits. The problem is that the crabs aren’t supposed to be there.