The dwindling of natural energy resources, combined with growing concerns over the effects of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions on climate, are contributing to an increasing worldwide interest in the development of renewable energy resources derived from biological sources. Microalgae, that familiar green slime that appears on lakes and ponds during the summer, have been suggested as a potential source of oil for use in renewable fuels due, in part, to their rapid growth, low land use requirements and their ability to sequester carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere . Under the correct growth conditions, microalgae can sequester carbon from atmospheric CO2 and store it in the form of fat droplets essentially becoming obese in the process. These fat droplets, once isolated and processed can be used to make biodiesel, a renewable fuel that can be integrated into the existing transportation infrastructure with no modifications. With microalgae, it is conceivable meet our current transportation demands for fuel while simultaneously reducing the atmospheric green house gas carbon dioxide.
For microalgae to be used a viable oil source for renewable fuels, exactly how CO2 is converted to fat within each algal cell must be completely understood and optimized under mass culture conditions. The overall goal of our work is to elucidate the chemistry and biology governing these conversions. We feel that this work is of interest not only to the renewable fuels industry but also to more general audiences ranging from those studying the genetics and biochemistry of metabolic pathways involved in fat accumulation to those interested in ecological principles.
This interdisciplinary study in Spanish sociolinguistics will analyze the language used in social/work interactions between Spanish-speakers residing in the United States (a linguistic minority) and their English-speaking peers (the linguistic majority). Specifically, this research project seeks to investigate the interactions between Spanish-speaking staff of St. Olaf College and the larger campus community and find out how the two groups perceive each other and how each group believes they are perceived by the other group. The proposed project aims to discover how a person’s native language influences his or her social standing at St. Olaf and whether linguistic stereotypes inform the way in which he or she is judged by members of other linguistic groups. The project will investigate linguistic attitudes at St. Olaf and find out how language diversity and language differences on our campus impact social interactions between the target groups. In light of the sizeable (and growing) population of Spanish-speakers in the community of Northfield as well as the large number of Spanish-speaking staff members on campus, this topic is of great relevance for St. Olaf as a campus community.
- What are parents’ beliefs about children’s emotions and their attitudes towards expressions of negative vs. positive emotions?
- Is there a relationship between emotion beliefs and the emotional expressions and behaviors of parents and children during interactions with one another?
- To what extent do parent gender gender and child gender influence emotion beliefs and expressions of emotion during parent-child interactions?
Streams are unique and ubiquitous. They are the architects of our natural landscapes, carving rocks and building deltas by moving materials as brute transporters of sediments. They also more subtly paint landscapes by providing the raw materials for biological activity, supplying water and nutrients to streambank vegetation and, further downstream, microscopic phytoplankton floating in coastal waters. Streams are also dynamic and biological, and do not just deliver sediments and nutrients downstream. They also keep some of this material to themselves, retaining elements through physical and biological processes, complex interactions between hydrology, chemistry, physics and communities of organisms that have adapted to a world of movement.
Our objective in this project is to study nutrient transport and retention in three streams in different physical, biological and chemical environments. In particular, we plan to investigate the effects of short-term alteration of the relative availability of Carbon, Nitrogen, and Phosphorus on nutrient transport and retention. We propose here to conduct a comparative study of streams in Minnesota, California, and the Siberian Artic using common methods to meet the above objective. We will travel to the Artic as part of The Polaris Project in July, and have a commitment from our on-campus research program for Erin and Brian to conduct research in Minnesota, but require extra funding to ensure the success of the Minnesota and California experiments.
“. . . I found myself more and more intrigued with the finer details of medieval battles themselves; how they were planned, who planned the conflicts, who fought in them, and how long the battles lasted. While studying the general mechanics of warfare, I realized that I was unintentionally ignoring the important interactions between war and society. While the technical questions relating to warfare still pique my interest, the social impact of war poses equally fascinating issues: the mixing of social classes on the battlefield, various technologies that were invented and perfected for the purposes of war, and the influence of religious institutions on medieval conflicts.”
Saterstrom and Lorenzen’s project, “Environment As Impulse: Dance Improvisation in the Rainforest,” continues their work in collaborative dance and extends this collaboration to La Suerte Biological Station in the rainforest in Costa Rica. In bestowing the award, the selection committee acknowledged Saterstrom and Lorenzen’s commitment to building a relationship with La Suerte, their commitment to exploring the environment through art, and their innovative use of improvisation as a way of learning.
“One of the ongoing challenges of working artistically in improvisation is stimulating a freshness of approach. The best improvisation often is sparked by the unfamiliar, the unexpected. By locating ourselves in an environment which is completely foreign to both of us, by moving outside our familiar boundaries, we hope to discover patterns and assumptions that have become a part of our improvisational process which may be worth questioning and challenging. We also imagine that the realities of this particular place with its unfamiliar landscape, language, culture, and rhythm can open us to new possibilities within dance/ movement improvisation which we have not discovered.”