I’m about halfway through my summer now and the number one thing I’ve learned is persistence. Science is such a different thing than schooling. In school, the right answer is known. In science, it’s not.

The data I’m working with represent the first time that colonial waterbirds in Biscayne Bay have been studied with any kind of consistency. I have to keep reminding myself that I won’t be able to answer all the questions that come up. I have to keep reminding myself that no one (but me) is expecting all the answers to come out on the first try. Future studies with more thorough answers will be inspired by, and will depend upon, these first observations and syntheses and that’s valuable.

And in the meantime I have definitely improved my coding abilities in R, conducted a literature review on a species I hadn’t done much work with before, practiced mapping in ArcGIS, and thought much more about statistics than I have in a while. Though there are definitely tough parts of the process, furthering our knowledge of the natural world is what I’m driven to do. And what better place than the federal government, the entity with perhaps the biggest role in protecting these beautiful lands and creatures?


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