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International Volunteer from Belgium Assists USGS Southeast Ecological Science Center Staff in Everglades National Park

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Zoë Verlaak
Above: Zoë Verlaak, volunteer from Ghent, Belgium, who assisted USGS Southeast Ecological Science Center staff in Everglades National Park from early February through early May 2012. [larger version]

Ms. Zoë Verlaak arrived at Everglades National Park, Florida, in early February 2012 to assist with research by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists and their collaborators. Zoë came to us from her home in Ghent, Belgium, as a part of the National Park Service’s International Volunteers-in-Parks Program. She holds both B.S. and M.S. degrees in geology from Ghent University. Her research interests are in paleoecology and paleoclimatology. Her M.S. thesis is titled “A Detailed Analysis of Laminations in the Late Pleistocene Sedimentary Record of Laguna Parrillar, Southern Patagonia, Chile.”

During Zoë’s stay, she assisted hydrologic technicians Gordon Anderson and Karen Balentine of the USGS Southeast Ecological Science Center with their work in the mangroves of Everglades National Park. Additionally, she worked with our academic colleagues involved in the Florida Coastal Everglades Long Term Ecological Research project based at Florida International University—specifically, with Laurel Collins and Evelyn Gaiser, associate professors in the Department of Biological Sciences. This project, on which USGS research ecologist Tom Smith is an associate investigator, is a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded, university-based research project in Everglades National Park. Zoë conducted field sampling for the presence of foraminifera (single-celled shelled organisms) and copepods (tiny crustaceans, typically 1–2 millimeters long) in the estuary, shallow groundwater, and sediment at USGS study sites in the southwestern coastal Everglades from February through early May. Both groups of organisms provide information about the salinity of the water in which they occur; variations in species composition indicate variations in salinity.

Thanks, Zoë, for your valuable help!


Related Web Sites
Southeast Ecological Science Center
International Volunteers-in-Parks Program
National Park Service
Florida Coastal Everglades Long Term Ecological Research project
Florida International University

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Gas Hydrates and Climate Warming

Real-Time Mapping of Methane Concentrations

Coastal and Marine Geoscience Data System

Exploring Geophysical Data Using GeoMapApp and Virtual Ocean

Weather Prevents Survey of California Sea Otter Population

Exhibit Will Celebrate Collaboration Between Artists and Scientists

Antarctic Science and Arts

USGS Scientists Selected as Fellows of the American Geophysical Union

Staff Chinese Scientist Visiting USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

Belgian Volunteer Assists Staff in Everglades National Park


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