This website is currently undergoing live development!
Christopher X J. Jensen
Assistant Professor, Pratt Institute

Is the “hopelessly incomplete” fossil record a little better than we give it credit for?

Posted on 19 Dec 2010 / Leave a Comment

Conventional wisdom has always been that fossils are impressionistic: although they can tell us a lot about the morphology of a great variety of organic structures, it has been assumed that all but the most recent of fossil remains contain none of the original material that made up the fossilized organism. A recent article in […]

Read more Paleonotology, Taphonomic Processes

Saving Puffins, One Clip at a Time

Posted on 15 Dec 2010 / Leave a Comment

There’s an interesting article in a recent issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education entitled “A Path for Puffins“. The article discusses the campaign to help eradicate an invasive plant species from a somewhat-remote Scottish Island that is home to thousands of puffins. The puffin population was showing steady decline on the island, and an […]

Read more Articles, Biodiversity Loss, Climate Change, Conservation Biology, Invasive Species, Marine Ecosystems ,

Man or astrobiology man?

Posted on 12 Dec 2010 / Leave a Comment

This month’s Scientific American had two interesting news stories concerning our scientific obsession with space. The first article, entitled “Defying Politics”, discussed the schizophrenic and wavering manner in which the last two presidential administrations have worked to forge our future explorations of space by reforming NASA. Increasingly, it is clear that our manned space program […]

Read more Astrobiology, Space Travel ,

Extensifying Sustainability

Posted on 03 Dec 2010 / Leave a Comment

The Chronicle of Higher Education featured a provocative article entitled “True Sustainability Means Going Beyond Campus Boundaries” in last week’s issue. Author James Proctor argues that campus sustainability has focused too much on the “act locally” principle, leading to sustainable islands of collegiate privilege that do not do much to change the larger global forces […]

Read more Sustainability

Mirsky on Poop in Space

Posted on 29 Nov 2010 / Leave a Comment

As an ecologist one of my biggest pet peeves is the way that manned space travel is treated in the mainstream media, both fictional and non-fictional. Without going deeply into the details, suffice it to say that our dependence on ecosystem services makes manned space travel of any appreciable duration or distance completely unrealistic. Of […]

Read more Articles, Astronomy, Ecosystem Services, Space Travel , , ,

Using Ecological Footprints to Teach Sustainability

Posted on 27 Nov 2010 / 1 Comment

Technically- and traditionally-speaking, an ecology course should not really deal too much with policy. A strict definition of ecology should limit the topic to the study of the interaction between organisms and their environment, and for decades now that has meant looking at how non-human animals and other organisms constitute ecosystems. Discussions of policy, economics, […]

Read more Anthropogenic Change, Biodiversity Loss, Climate Change, Ecological Footprinting, Ecology Education, Ecosystem Services, Environmental Justice, Ethics, MSCI-270, Ecology, Pollution, Public Policy, Quantitative Analysis, Sustainability, Teaching Tools, Web , ,

Reclaiming a Rigorous Definition of “Sustainability”

Posted on 18 Nov 2010 / Leave a Comment

The latest issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment features a great guest editorial by David N. Laband and David B. South entitled “Walking the talk on sustainability”. In this short piece, Laband and South make a point that is brought to light far too infrequently: that we use the word “sustainable” in a […]

Read more Articles, Environmental Justice, Greenwashing, Quantitative Analysis, Sustainability , , , , ,