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On a given day in the waters off of the Western Antarctic Peninsula, snowcapped glaciers frame a vast expanse of water dotted with wedges of icebergs. Occasionally, charismatic marine birds and mammals surface in the otherwise seemingly barren landscape. Below the surface, a different story unfolds, one teeming with life and change. That same story has unfolded in the pages of my literature review that has documented the extensive research that has occurred on the marine pelagic ecosystem of the Western Antarctic Peninsula.
Past research has identified the Western Antarctic Peninsula as one of the most seasonally productive ecosystems on Earth, with high concentrations of life ranging from microscopic bacteria to mammoth whales. The ecosystem however, is changing. It has experienced some of the most prolific warming of anywhere on Earth in recent years. The opportunity to participate in field work in this region has allowed me to visualize the story of this dynamic ecosystem as it is being written and hopefully contribute to the larger narrative. For my thesis I am exploring how populations of salps (Salpa thompsoni), a gelatinous plankton that is thought to thrive in warming waters, may be altered in changing conditions. While thought to contribute extensively to larger carbon cycling in the Southern Ocean, salps are not a preferred prey source of many animals in the region. Alterations to salp populations can have larger implications throughout the ecosystem.
For the visualization of my bibliography, I choose to highlight the clarity I have gained from melding the knowledge that comes from learning from past research with time exploring one’s own data set and system of interest more in the field. While my literature review made me aware of the presence of salps and their growing populations, particularly in years with certain conditions, I did not know that I would encounter high salp numbers until I had a chance to sample the waters that year. My visualization features a split-shot view of a rendition of the Western Antarctic Peninsula that also represents my own progression in my thesis.
Above the waterline, the aforementioned idyllic image of the ecosystem exists. In the distance, citations of the cornerstone studies that have laid the groundwork for all research in the region can faintly be seen in the glaciers. As one moves below the waterline the image becomes clearer and viewers become aware that the waters are swarming with salps and sources! The gradient of clarity depicted, represents my own increased understanding as I applied the knowledge gained from past research to my own thesis work. My sources are no longer ambiguous, glacial pillars of our understanding of an ecosystem, but lively elements of the past mixing with my present species of interest-salps.
This submission is a mixed media work. The swarm of sources pictured in my visualization was created by allowing “icebergs” frozen with pieces of my sources into them to melt in the “ocean”. The singular and chains of salps mingling with the sources are from pen and ink illustrations I created for outreach material on my research. The incorporation of outreach materials further emphasizes my own journey of understanding throughout my thesis. The distant glaciers consist of additional sources from the early days of research in the field, arranged into a photo I had taken of the Western Antarctic Peninsula while sampling at sea.
— Ashley Hann
Marine Resource Management
Understanding gender as a social construct is the beginning of this work. How do we resist gender as an oppressive structure in society whilst also appreciating its embodiment in gender belonging, and gender achievement? Through a photovoice project, my thesis aims to bring together trans college students to collectively explore gender euphoria, defining it, diving into its causes, and pursuing a notion of it as a form of resilience.
The visual bibliography I share with all of you is from my thesis proposal and literature reviews in preparation for my thesis. I chose to explore the texts in this work through a personal journey of my clothing. I think of this work as a love letter to my identity past, present, and future. There is who we were, and the truth that lies beneath to create space for who we can become. As a nonbinary person who deeply loves fashion, particularly vintage, I have yet to get rid of some of my favorite pieces despite them not aligning with my gender expression any longer. As a photovoice project, my thesis will feature images like the ones in this visual bibliography --- what are the clothes that excite us? How do we feel when we see polka dots?
We are obviously more than just clothes. Trans embodiment, queer theory, gender theory, critical race theory, and student development theory inform our daily lives, and in a sense the metaphoric fabric of our lives. I chose to use a vintage opaque projector to superimpose pages and book covers of many of the key references in my research. There are images where the pages are legible and bold and others where you have to work to find the text, and the clothing becomes an armor to shield our inherent liminality in gender exploration.
Much of what is focused on in trans college student lives are the obstacles – the lack of services and facilities for trans students, and experiencing microaggressions. My work is interested in finding the beauty in being trans, finding gender joy, seeing gender flexibility and gender journeys as a celebration of personal expression and exploration. I hope that it is evident in this dream-like sartorial wandering of the merging of theory and gender through eye-opening texts.
— Gabs James
Queer Studies, Adult & Higher Education, College Student Services Administration
I research the evolution of cooperation in a chemostat. Evolutionarily speaking, cooperation can be challenging to explain. This is because of the Darwinian idea that evolution is driven by “survival of the fittest,” that is, organisms with a particular advantage are more likely to survive and pass on their genes. Cooperating requires an individual to give up some of that advantage. For example, sharing food requires the sharer to then have less food, and therefore be less likely to survive. Thus, we would expect cooperative behaviors to be diminished through evolution, but the opposite is true. Cooperation is ubiquitous in nature from humans to ants to vampire bats and even to the bacteria I use in my project, Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
I use a chemostat, a laboratory device for continuous bacterial culturing, to grow and study the bacteria. In fact, the dynamics of the bacteria within the chemostat are arguably similar to larger ecosystems. Drawing a comparison to a population of vampire bats in a cave, the cave which houses the population would be akin to the bioreactor which holds the population of bacteria. The bats bring blood meals into the cave, and the chemostat has an inflow of bacterial growth media being pumped into it. Similarly, the chemostat has an outflow of the mixed solution which is demonstrative of the natural death and emigration from the cave that would occur. Lastly, the organisms are able to cooperate with each other. When cooperation occurs, the overall population is better off and more likely to survive. When not enough organisms choose to not cooperate, the cheating organisms are better off individually but the entire population is worse off and less likely to survive. The resulting population collapse is known as the Tragedy of the Commons. The bats cooperate by sharing their blood meal, the sharer now has less food to survive on but the bats that were unable to find a meal are now able to live another day.
So, how exactly do these bacteria cooperate? They produce an extracellular enzyme required for growth. Without the production of the enzyme the population does not grow as well. However, if you mix a strain of cooperating bacteria with the socially cheating bacteria which do not produce this enzyme, then the cheaters will grow at a faster rate since they are not spending energy making enzymes. After enough time has passed, the cheaters will proliferate faster than the cooperators saturating the population until there is not enough enzyme present to sustain survival and it collapses.
I am attempting to marry the theory and empirical understanding of the evolution of cooperation and the mechanisms that sustain cooperation (to avoid a Tragedy of the Commons) using a combination of rigorous theoretical mathematical modeling and traditional lab experiments.
On the front of the cake is a bookshelf with books by the authors of the people I have cited. I made a point to include some of the more seminal works, including Garrett Hardin who authored the first influential essay on the Tragedy of the Commons. Additionally, I made sure to include Gerald Wilkinson who authored a paper on cooperation among vampire bats, to which I draw the analogy of how the chemostat is representative of natural ecological systems. I also included both of my advisor’s names, as I have cited some of their papers, and, clearly, they are a massive influence and inspiration to the work I do. I chose to decorate the back of the cake with images of the bacteria I study, in a chemostat bioreactor. When the bacterial population consists of only cooperating bacteria, the media will turn a bright blue color due to the extracellular products they produce. Additionally, the cake itself is a midnight chocolate cake, which is a nod to the occasionally strange and/or late hours spent in the lab.
— Bryan Lynn
121 The Valley Library
Corvallis OR 97331–4501