Many years ago, when Mike Kinnison and I were office mates in Seattle, we started a list of “words we should use more often.” These were usually esoteric English words that we had encountered in some publication and decided were just too cool to be used so infrequently. I can’t remember all of the words but consanguineous was certainly one of them. I did use consanguineous in at least one paper but, sadly, it did not precipitate a particularly far-reaching or long-lasting meme. But what if I had tried harder? What if I had insisted that my fellow graduate students use the word in their papers – or bribed them to do so? What if I had used it in all of my own papers? What if I had extorted (or bribed) each visiting seminar speaker to use it in their talks? This is precisely the experiment currently being conducted by the Jen Schweitzer and Joe Bailey labs at the University of Tennessee.
|Deer exclosure - or Hendry enclosure?|
At one site, Mark Genung and Joe showed me a dead hemlock tree and then found a hemlock sapling that was covered with an invasive scale insect. This insect has apparently decimated hemlock populations on a massive scale. This brought to mind many seemingly parallel instances: Dutch elm disease, myxomytosis in Australian rabbits, phyloxera in European grape varietals, sudden oak death, white nose syndrome in bats, tuberculosis in native Americans, the Black Death in Europe, mountain pine beetles, chestnut blight, and chytrid fungus in amphibians. In each case, an emerging disease – often (maybe always) an invasive, or at least spreading, species – decimates native populations that are not resistant.
|A Tennessee Turkey strutting its stuff.|
|In the Newark Airport, is it the Earl himself? Or maybe a descendent, perhaps basking in the glory of his ancestor - or protesting the lack of royalties.|