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Biology Chair Russell Burke: Researchers Must Be Flexible


The academic journal Nature interviewed Dr. Russell Burke, chair of the Biology Department, for an article titled “Change Is In the Air,” about how sudden changes in ecology can impact years of research. In Dr. Burke’s case, when Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast, almost all of Dr. Burke’s 14 years of fieldwork studying population dynamics of two particular species of turtles at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Center was wiped out. Dr. Burke then turned his attention to the diamondback terrapins which began doing better in the area. The article points out that researchers like Dr. Burke have to be flexible in their research and modify their tactics when disasters like Sandy happen.


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