Tools for Undergraduate Research in Environmental Science and Field Biology:
(Note: As of Fall, 2013, only Units II and III are active. Other Units will be added over the coming months.)

I. Scientific Inquiry: How to identify a research topic, question and hypothesis

II. Fundamentals of Field Sampling: How to design a field study

III. Graphing and Statistics: How to interpret your data using MS Excel

IV. Communicating Your Results: Tips for writing effective papers and making clear presentations

  maps of region where we're living

August 18, 2013, from Chaukori: Supersized

In many ways, India is a supersized version of other developing countries we've visited the size of the landscape, the human population, the scope of history all on steroids. During our first few days here, we've been struck by this enormity. In Delhi, whether walking along garbage ridden streets while dodging the constant beeping whir of motorbikes, buses and three-wheeled taxis, riding the incredibly clean and hi-tech and sometimes human swarming metro, or navigating the circled and spoked streets of Connaught Place in search of an item of clothing or a SIM card for local cell service (failed so far on that one), enormity looms.

In the pre-dawn light after our overnight train ride from Delhi to Kathgodam, we connected with our driver for our ride to the mountains. Kathgodam is situated right at the edge of the plains that make up northern central India, and the rise of the Himalayas. Within minutes of leaving the station, we were awed by the views of the steeply rising hills as we looked back to the broad river floodplain just one narrow view of the transition from flat to steep.

View looking back to the floodplain:

Transition from plains to mountains:

Then the eight hour drive to go fifty miles as the crow flies (our driver was fast I'm not kidding!) to our destination where we'll see the uppermost ridge of the Himalayas the immense ridge that separates India and Nepal from Tibet.

Yesterday evening some high clouds did part for a few moments to reveal a few glaciered high peaks. Yet so far, the clouds have been teasing us.

View from above the guest house where we're staying (photo taken at elevation ~6,000 feet similar to the top of Mt. Washington) . . . what's behind those clouds? . . .

Still, I know those peaks are there, ever rising (is it 1 cm a year? . . . my geologist friends would know) and marking the crash of continental plate into plate. These mountains will be supersized for quite some time to come. And my mind keeps coming back to the enormity of it all the enormity of geological time, humanity's history, the expanse of space and the rise of land around us, and the size of the human population in this country of over 1.2 billion people. What I don't yet have my mind around, and maybe never will, is the supersized nature of all of the problems here . . . some of those will have to wait for future posts.

This site created and maintained by
Dr. Rhine Singleton
Associate Professor of Biology & Environmental Science
Franklin Pierce University, Rindge, NH 03461
You can contact me at: singler at franklinpierce dot edu