As I was writing a new blog post on the signals of stress in animals (stay tuned for that next week!), I started to notice my own physiological response to the events of the last weeks:
Pacing in my new home office? check.
Increased heart-rate? check.
Lack of sleep? Well that’s fairly normal, but still check.
We are facing an unprecedented time. For a scientist whose career has been based on understanding behavior and using mathematical models to describe patterns in the environment, I guess it is understandable why I’m unnerved by staring off into the void of the unknown as things change rapidly week to week.
So, I tried to think about this the same way I would a vexing problem in the field. What can I do, with the resources I have in front of me?
I ate a few peanut butter M&Ms, and took a deep breath. I’m not a disease ecologist, so I can’t design a vaccine. I took “Intro to Microeconomics” in college, but I can’t fix the economy. I can try to bring joy to people online but let’s be honest, learning about negative binomial mixed effects models isn’t necessarily fun quarantine material.
What I do have is data I can analyze, papers I can publish to advance the collective knowledge for humanity, and proposals I can submit that use creative, and novel approaches to answer the marine conservation issues that will still be waiting for us as we–a state, a nation, a planet– face a new normal.
“That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse”Walt Whitman
I can’t do a lot of things, but I can contribute my verse. I can further the mission of the Alaska SeaLife Center by generating and sharing scientific information to promote understanding and stewardship of marine ecosystems, here in Alaska and around the globe.
So can you. We all have small things we can do to make a difference to our neighbors, our communities or our planet. I hope in the coming weeks, these blogs bring you a smile, you learn something new, and you are reminded that we are all in this together on a small blue planet.
Wishing you all health, patience, and peace in the coming weeks.
Dr. Amy Bishop