Meet Gloeo (pronounced “Glee-o” and also known as Gloeotrichia echinulata), a cyanobacterium found in many New England lakes.
Gloeo, which plays a role in lake eutrophication, brought together a team of mathematicians, ecologists, students, and concerned citizens to perform an on-going, collaborative study that involves not only real, get-your-feet-wet data collection, but also such mathematics as compartmental modeling and difference equations.
The researchers tell their story—“Collaborative Understanding of Cyanobacteria in Lake Ecosystems”—in the November issue of The College Mathematics Journal, and hope to inspire others with their example.
"Our experience leads us to urge that all mathematicians interested in the future of planet Earth consider collaborating with people in other disciplines,” they write.
It may mean a lot of background reading, working in Word as well as LATEX, learning how to translate between mathematics and other disciplines, explaining to others how you do what you do, and asking more and different kinds of questions than you ever imagined you would.
About the November College Mathematics Journal
Printed in full color, the November issue of The College Mathematics Journal collects papers that tie into the international Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013 initiative. Topics include factors affecting forest carbon uptake and the use of seismic waves to determine the composition of the earth’s core. The issue also features a guest editorial by Mary Lou Zeeman, co-director of the Mathematics and Climate Research Network, and a commentary by Ben Fusaro of the SIGMAA on Environmental Mathematics. Order your copy today!