This section treats some of the conceptual subcategories in ecology and natural history: Landscape Ecology, Productivity,  Resilience & fragility, Lifespan, Succession, and Trophics  Explore those sub-categories or find general musings on Ecology below.

You can also view the entire JuneauNature hierarchy at this site map.

The great questions in ecology

As for so much of the hierarchical ‘scaffolding’ of juneaunature, this section is maybe more ambition than accomplishment. As we set up the site in 2013, I envisioned a subsection where we could hang essays, interviews, movies, etc that didn’t fit neatly into the categories of Juneau’s favorite places, the critter family tree, geology, or habitat descriptions. Think of the sub-categories below as the philosophical underpinnings (or in terms of a naturalist’s life trajectory, more typically the culminations, or maturations) of natural history.

Key landscape features, resulting from interaction of bedrock and surficial landforms with plant communities, and with ‘culturally imposed’ features such as coastal and riparian no-cut buffers.

In some ways, I feel like an impostor, rolling out these multi-syllabic subcategories from the world of academia. Although people often call me a scientist, I’m actually a college dropout, and barely passed what Oberlin college dubbed ‘poet’s biology‘ in the 1960s. When I tried to write about productivity after year-1 of the Ground-truthing Project in 2005, Mary Willson, the clan-mother of Juneau ecologists, made me aware how woefully ungrounded I was in conceptual ecology.

So please explore the material in this section called ‘Ecology 101‘ under advisement—that its author has come in the back door after 40-or-so years of bushwacking, and doesn’t know a beta-diversity from a beta-blocker. I’ve never even taken Ecology 101; let alone taught it.

And if you happen to actually BE an ecologist, by all means, come see us. In our early years, Discovery Southeast never claimed to be the voice of science. But as we began to work in all of Juneau’s elementary schools, teachers increasingly relied on us to fulfill their science requirements. That’s not too challenging for a decent naturalist in those early grade levels, but by high school and college, a purveyor of science education should probably have a degree or two.

In those grades, and in this website, the best solution is a collaboration—between folks like Steve Merli and me, who’ve been around the landscape block a few thousand times, and folks who’ve paid their academic dues (and could tell me the difference between a beta-diversity and a beta-blocker).

In this section

“Ecosystem:” a rant

A plea for semantic reassessment Sifting through journals and course manuals recently, I came upon this one-page 2018 attack on…

2020 | Richard Carstensen | 1 page

The Nature of Southeast Alaska

It’s a little unorthodox for authors to review their own books, so I’ll defer on this first one. But it…

2013 | Carstensen, Armstrong & O'Clair | 310 pages