Si quaeris peninsulam amœnam, circumspice

Switching gears to lighter fare . . . the title of this post is the delightfully unique and corny state motto of Michigan. In English, it reads “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.” I’ve been in East Lansing for about a month now, and so far things have been relatively pleasant. On my first week working as a postdoc in the forestry department, I helped my labmate do some sampling at a pond near the Kellogg Biological Station in southwestern Michigan. The land used to belong to the famed cereal magnate, who established a health resort nearby, coining the word “sanitarium” in the process. Despite a disturbingly high emphasis on enemas, the rich and famous of the day flocked there until the stock market crash put an end to the business.

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The Kellogg Manor

It’s ironic that the Kellogg name is now associated with products like Frosted Flakes that you should probably steer clear of if you care about your health, digestive or otherwise. But Kellogg certainly knew how to build a nice pad for himself, as you can see in the photo I took of his manor. Now, the manor and surrounding land belong to Michigan State and are the site of the Kellogg Biological Station.

We spent a fun afternoon sampling the aquatic vegetation in a pond at a site a few miles down the road from the biological station. The research project involves interactions between damselflies and their prey (the blue insect in the photo below). We floated a PVC quadrat at different locations along a transect at the pond’s edge, estimated the relative abundance of different functional groups of aquatic plants, and collected them for biomass. It was a fun day of participating in fieldwork, though my current position will involve precious little getting out in the field. Mostly, I’m happy about that but spending a beautiful early June day outside in southern Michigan certainly makes you appreciate the “pleasant” side of fieldwork!

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