Final Thoughts: Much More Work to be Done

I cannot believe my time at the Natural History Museum is at a close. The 10 weeks I spent there were filled with fun and exciting days and I have made many friends that I will be keeping in contact with in the future. While I am now happy I don’t have to wake up at 5:30 in the morning anymore, I will admit my last day was bittersweet since I will miss everyone there and all of the things I learned through my research. I will miss the wonderful tours that the intern department allowed all of the interns to go on and learning about various fields of science that I previously had limited knowledge of. It was truly an experience that I will never forget.

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Winding Down

I cannot believe that I will soon be done working at the Natural History Museum soon. It seems like it was yesterday that I dragged myself out of bed at 5:30 AM to catch a bus to D.C. for my first day of work. Now, waking up that early hardly annoys me and it’s so much fun going into D.C. every week day. Not only am I conducting research, but I am also learning what it is like for many people who have to commute every day for their jobs. Like I said in an earlier post, I have definitely gained a greater appreciation for people who have to partake in this commute every work day for their entire careers. While I have gotten used to the commute, I don’t know if I could do this for a long-term job. This summer has truly been a learning experience in more ways than just research.

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Preparing to Head North

My model is progressing nicely. I’ve made a few alterations to fix things, and hit a few snags that need to be worked out. But the main thing I’ll be doing this week is preparing for the trip to Vermont and Maine. All the datasheets that we need to fill out need to be organized and include all sorts of data from previous years, such as what tree number is in which plot and how high or how wide each tree was. The trees need to be organized so we can walk the plots in order and not have to rustle through the sheets to find the right paper every time we reach a new plot. We also need to determine exactly what data we need to be collecting. There really is no limit to what we want, we are only limited by what we have time to collect! Departure is in less than a week, so I’ll be very busy.

Kernels

I finally got the model working! The kernel looks good and its graph is pretty (below). I’ve used some iterative code to find the model’s stable population growth rate, stable stage distribution, and reproductive value vector. I have not used a very large matrix due to the computing limitations of my laptop, but I can easily transfer my code to a more powerful computer when it becomes necessary.

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Progress

I’ve created a regression for converting dbh to height and it’s working pretty well. One issue with it is that when I combine the data for young trees (which were measured in height) and bigger trees (which I converted), there is very little variance among the heights of larger trees; the conversion has served as a smoother of the data. This makes a regression for growth fit much more nicely, but unfortunately also creates an uneven distribution of residuals. I have attached a variance to the conversion to add some variance among its outputs, but there is still a skew in the residuals. I am currently looking into implications this may have.

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