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EPSSI Seminar: Paul Hanson with musicians Chris Wagoner, Mary Gaines, and Doug Brown: "The art of science – Music edition"

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Monday, November 7, 2016, 4:05 pm– 5 pm

This is a past event.

The art of science – Music edition
Tail of two distributions: The probability of algal blooms in model simulations

Paul C. Hanson, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Center for Limnology and musicians: Chris Wagoner, Mary Gaines, and Doug Brown


Cultural eutrophication of lakes is a global problem that will likely worsen as demands for food are met by increasing water and nutrient fluxes through agricultural systems. Among the risks associated with eutrophication are harmful algal blooms, which can render freshwater toxic and unsuitable for consumption. While a rich literature exists on the relationships between water quality and nutrients, especially phosphorus (P), those relationships mostly describe ecosystem state or the seasonal to annual dynamics of phytoplankton communities. However, toxic water conditions are often the result of cyanobacterial blooms, which are ecosystem ‘surprises’ that are highly non-linear and the timing of which are difficult (perhaps impossible) to predict. 

In this talk, we investigate phytoplankton biomass changes in Lake Mendota, Wisconsin and use simulation modeling to understand the probability of surprises. Moreover, we investigate the scientific process itself, including model development, through live music and the creativity of musicians and scientists together. We demonstrate how language and ideas common to both science and music help us understand and communicate the art of science.

Part of the 2016 Earth Planetary and Space Sciences Institute (EPSSI) Seminar Series

Annual seminar series on topics related to Earth Planetary and Space Sciences and course UN 4000 REMOTE SENSING.

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