On Evolution, Genetics, and Queer Ecology

In February of 1911, the Terra Nova Expedition landed at frozen Cape Adare, Antarctica. From a ship of 65 of Britain’s finest sailors and scientists, six men came ashore, intent on becoming the first ever to reach the South Pole.

Instead of making exploration history, though, the men spent the entire winter in a hut by the shoreline, unable to find a route inland. While Captain Robert Falcon Scott refigured his plans, the scientists resigned themselves to research.

Among the six scientists was Dr. George Murray Levick, serving as a zoologist and Surgeon Lieutenant. …


It’s Time to Stop Waiting for Recycling to Work

You’ve gathered a trove of plastic this week. Triumphantly, you parade over to your blue bin and plop it inside with a satisfying thwack. You dust your hands and pat yourself on the back — you’re a good person; you care enough to recycle.

But, after you and your good intentions drop that plastic off, where does it go?

Spoiler Alert: Not where you think it should.

Paved With Good Intentions

Since the 1960s, we U.S. citizens have significantly improved at recycling. Over the past 60 years, we’ve increased our recycling rate by 25%! It’s a part of our culture to care about our…


Photo by Sebastien on Unsplash

Beep. Beep. Beep.

The alarm blared in my quiet room. I bounced out of bed at 5:30 am, wide awake. It was my first day recording the sounds of the swamplands.

I tip-toed out of the dorm, packed with sleeping scientists, and bounded towards the jungle. Yesterday, the Pantanal revealed a corner of paradise nestled in dense foliage. Today, the Miranda River was ready for her recital.

The Brazilian sun rose over the horizon. Light sleepily crept across the Pantanal; the tropics awoke in a collective yawn. Gradually, all of the jungle’s creatures joined in chorus, and I stood in…


Our Oceans Need Our Help — Here’s Why:

It was 2007. A teacher silenced my boisterous class in our shabby classroom. Exhausted, she pleaded with us to pay attention. The lesson was on The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a recent discovery by Charles J. Moore. After ten years, it had finally gained public traction.

In a last-ditch effort to teach us, she provided a single sobering fact: the garbage patch is the size of Texas and growing. The room stilled as we tried to comprehend the sheer size of it.

The fact stuck with me, as I’m sure it did with many others across the globe. Around the…


Are we the smartest species on earth?

Since humans have been self-aware, we’ve drawn up a million reasons why this must be so.

With grand machines, complex languages, and beautiful art, surely we must be more mentally capable than every other critter, right?

Actually, maybe not…

As more evidence has been unearthed, we’ve discovered that we’re not that much better in the brain-department than any other species. We’re just different.

Meet the corvids, the family of birds that includes crows, ravens, and jays. In recent years, they have risen to become one of the best examples of genius outside humanity…


It’s been a long day. You slump onto your couch, exhausted. You open up your phone in search of relief, a meme, and a few wholesome updates from your friends on social media. Upon starting the app, a depressing video reveals itself at the top of the screen. A slow symphony fades in, piano and violin lamenting together. A scarred turtle appears, wincing as a good Samaritan dislodges a straw from its nostril.

Empathy and inspiration overtake the moment. You switch over to a search engine and type Easy Ways to be Eco Friendly. The most promising link is pressed…


Meet the mathematician that programmed the foundations of our modern era, The Unstoppable Annie Easley.

Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson. After the release of Hidden Figures in 2016, these women became household names across our nation. They received well-deserved recognition as our country finally acknowledged the women of color that advanced space travel.

But still, there are too many others that have yet to be given their rightful place in the spotlight. Working beside these engineers were hundreds of other brilliant mathematicians, scientists, and programmers. And it wasn’t just the women of West Area Computing that were making leaps and bounds towards the space age!

Just two years after Katherine Johnson began her incredible…


The Appeal of Misinformation: According to Science

In our age of information, knowledge is more accessible than it has ever been in human history. But not all sources keep to the same veracity. To the skeptic, it may seem easy to discern between truth and fiction, but anyone can be mislead. Too often we find loved ones, friends, and perhaps even ourselves believing false information, stubbornly holding fast to claims that seem beyond reason.

But why are we so profoundly susceptible to believing falsehoods? To understand the answer, I dove into the world of science. Here’s what I discovered:

Glitching Wetware


Part 2: Happy Little Accidents

If you read part 1, you already know that I tend to bungle it. But, though my college experience was certainly a wild ride chock-full of challenges, it fortuitously always fell short of disaster. As luck would have it, I didn’t quite always make the wrong choices.

Throughout my time bumbling through the college experience, I accidentally fell face-first in the right direction a good number of times, and those happy accidents truly made my college experience worthwhile. You don’t need to stumble though! Instead, heed my advice, practice the jump, and stick the landing.

1. Pen Pal with Your Childhood Friends


College is a frontier of possibilities, filled with an unending list of new challenges. It can be overwhelming at times but, with just a bit of prep, you can make it way easier on yourself. Take it from an alumni who both triumphed and goofed it up a million times.

Part 1: Miscalculations

In a handful of ways, I royally bungled up my own college experience. Those years can be tough for anyone and everyone, but my greatest takeaway is that I made it so much more difficult than it ever needed to be. I made the mistakes and learned from them…

Olivia Louise Dobbs

Aspiring ecologist with a love for educational & technical writing. Curriculum developer and author.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store