Fifteen-year-old Sara knew that vegetable oils could be used as biofuels. But when she learned that algae might offer an alternative fuel source, she decided to learn more about these organisms’ potential to supply energy without using precious crop land.
Surveying gaps in current research, Sara decided to explore how growing conditions of algae might affect their oil yields. Sara received a 2011 Young Naturalist Award for her experiment, which she describes in her essay Enhancing Algae Biofuels: The Effects of Nitrogen Limitation and Carbon Dioxide Infusion on Nannochloropsis oculata.
Museum scientists John Sparks and David Gruber have traveled the world in search of bioluminescent and biofluorescent organisms. On Wednesday, November 2, at 7 pm, the pair will host November’s SciCafe, Alive and Glowing: Adventures in Bioluminescence and Biofluorescence, and shed light on the way these phenomena have appeared throughout the tree of life. Dr. Sparks will also curate the Museum’s upcoming special exhibition Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence, which opens March 31. Below, Sparks and Gruber answer a few questions about their enlightening research.
Over 10,000 Native Americans of the Mohawk tribe live on the Akwesasne reservation in upstate New York—and every family in the community has included an ironworker. For decades, these men have weekly made the six-hour drive to New York City to build its tallest skyscrapers. Katja Esson’s film Skydancer, which will be shown at the Margaret Mead Film Festival on Sunday, November 13, at 2 pm, follows a group of Mohawk “sky walkers” as they continue the craft of their forefathers, spending weeks apart from their families and risking their lives for a job that pays well but also perpetuates superhuman stereotypes of Mohawk men.
Following the screening of Skydancer, Bear Fox andKatsitsionni Fox, who appear in the documentary, along withRobby Baier, the composer of the film’s score, will perform traditional Mohawk songs. Esson, who will attend the Mead Festival screening of the documentary and participate in a Q&A immediately afterward, recently answered a few questions about the film.