My Science Videos

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Public domain image (U.S. Geological Survey)

On this page, you will find links to some of my science videos. I’ve created and published several peer-reviewed videos through the science agency, the U.S. Geological Survey. These videos mainly focused on my research and were designed for a broad audience. In a few cases, I spotlighted the work of colleagues. In general, I tried to show how scientific research contributes to better conservation and management of our natural resources and how such information relates to the interests of the general public.  Also included on this page are videos showing other types of activities that scientists and students are involved in (for example, mentoring and conference attendance).

My other objective in making these videos was to show what it’s like to do scientific research and what real scientists look and sound like. I feel strongly that the average scientist needs to become more visible and familiar to the public. The average person is acquainted with doctors, lawyers, police officers, and other professionals, but most people have never met a scientist. Science videos are a great way to promote the value of scientific research while at the same time familiarize the public with the people behind the science.

Out of necessity, I did all of the story development, camerawork, narration, and editing and many of the animations for these videos. It was (and still is) a learning process. camcorder_klmckeeAfter an initial reluctance to spend time acquiring these skills, I found that I quickly and easily learned the techniques, which did not require expensive equipment/software or specialized training. What surprised me most, however, was how the process of making a short video about a topic forced me to reexamine what I knew about it (or thought I knew). New insights often occurred to me, for example, during interviews, researching background information, or putting the story together. Most of all, it was fun, and I rediscovered the passion for science and discovery that had become buried during years of competing for funds, for space in journals, and for recognition of technical accomplishments.

Note that all of these videos are free for anyone to use; all you have to do is grab the embed code (click on “share”, then “embed”, and copy the code) and insert the video into your website. All of the USGS videos went through an extensive peer and administrative review before they were approved for public release.

For best viewing, select the HD version and full-screen options (see menu bar at bottom of player window).

Sea-Level Rise, Subsidence, and Wetland Loss:

Chasing the Mud: The 2011 Mississippi River Flood:

The Floating Marshes of Louisiana: A Unique Environment:

What Lies Beneath: Using Mangrove Peat to Study Ancient Environments and Sea-Level Rise:

Brown Marsh Apocalypse:

Nutrient Impacts on Wetlands: Field Studies in New Zealand

Coastal Louisiana: Impacts of Hurricanes on Salt Marsh and Mangrove Wetlands:

Potential Effects of Elevated CO2 and Climate Change on Coastal Wetlands:

Effects of Sea-Level Rise on Coastal Wetlands in the Mississippi River Delta:

Oil Impacts on Coastal Wetlands in the Mississippi River Delta:

The Camargue Wetlands (France):

Coeur de Voh Mangroves (created with iPhone):

How to Collect a Mangrove Peat Core:

What’s Behind the Dunes at Kauri Mountain Beach?:

SWS Mentoring Program:

Recent Posts

Use Video to Debunk Bad Science

You’ve probably seen viral videos claiming some medical breakthrough and cleverly titled “Use this weird trick to cure [insert ailment]”. People seem to find this teaser title irresistible. Jonathan Jarry and colleagues at McGill University’s Office for Science and Society use a similar title for a video that has a surprising twist in store for gullible viewers: “This natural trick can cure your cancer”.

The video initially claims to present a cure for cancer based on a species of moss (Funariidae karkinolytae), that has been known since the 1800s. The reason you’ve not heard about it, the video claims, is because the knowledge has been suppressed by pharmaceutical companies. The video then shows an old, black and white photograph of a Dr. Johan R. Tarjany, who looks very professorial in his three-piece suit and bow tie, and describes him as the discoverer of the moss’s cancer-killing trait. The video then goes on to tell the story of the moss and how it kills cancer cells by altering their DNA. And, of course, Dr. Tarjany added the moss to his diet and guess what? He never developed cancer.

At this point, the viewer is probably impressed with Dr. Tarjany and his discovery. Except there is no Dr. Tarjany and everything so far presented is untrue. In the remaining minute, the video deconstructs the claims it made earlier about Dr. Tarjany and the cancer-killing moss. In the process, the video’s creators provide a blueprint for viewers to follow when confronted by such a claim–how to evaluate the “evidence” and look for inconsistencies in the “facts” presented.

In just a couple of minutes, this video shows how viewers can be fooled into believing a pseudoscientific idea and how to avoid it–and did it in a way that was entertaining. Using the pseudoscience playbook to make the video was particularly clever and effective. Check it out below (the comments are also interesting–see the link to YouTube):

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