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Basic Botany for Wetland Assessment | 2018


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Blended Online and Field Wetland Delineation Workshop | 2018


Blended Online and Field Wetland Delineation Workshop | 2018


Blended Online and Field Wetland Delineation Workshop | 2018


Blended Online and Field Wetland Delineation Workshop | 2018


Blended Online and Field Wetland Delineation Workshop | 2018


Blended Online and Field Wetland Delineation Workshop | 2018


Blended Online and Field Wetland Delineation Workshop | 2018

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Blended Online and Field Wetland Delineation Workshop | 2018


Blended Online and Field Wetland Delineation Workshop | 2018


Developing Wetland Water Budgets 2018


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The Cost of Horseshoe Crab Blood

Swamp Stomp

Volume 18 Issue 21

Horseshoe crabs are fascinating animals. They may look like prehistoric crabs but are actually more closely related to scorpions and spiders. They also happen to be one of the most important animals when it comes to keeping humans alive. Much more than the strange looking arthropods your children can pet in an interactive tank at the local aquarium, these animals are vital to human medicine.

The pale blue blood that circulates within the bodies of horseshoe crabs is extremely sensitive to bacterial pathogens. This has allowed biomedical scientists to use the blood of horseshoe crabs to test whether or not potentially life-saving medicines and medical devices are safe for humans. While this is extremely helpful for humans, it may not be so for horseshoe crabs. Scientists extract blood from the horseshoe crabs and then return them to the ocean. This is relatively safe; however, around 50,000 horseshoe crabs die during this process every year. Additionally, Asian horseshoe crabs have experienced dramatic population losses from habitat loss, as well as overfishing. In order to keep the horseshoe crab populations constant, some change needs to occur. If not, the biomedical industry could be seriously threatened.

Jeak Ling Ding is one scientist who has decided to expedite the change needed to preserve horseshoe crabs. Thirty years previously, Frederick Bang had discovered the amebocytes (or blood cells) in horseshoe crabs were especially resistant to bacteria. Over the course of thirty years, Bang standardized a way to remove these amebocytes in order to test if the certain medical equipment was sterile. Ding worked in a hospital attempting to discover the reason for the death of in-vitro fertilization embryos and she needed one of the kits developed by Bang. However, they were too expensive for her. So, she decided to make her own.

Factor C is a specific molecule in horseshoe crab amebocytes that detects the bacterial toxins. So, if she could find the gene that made factor C and could manipulate the DNA, she could make the factor C without the need to harm more horseshoe crabs. After many trials and errors, Ding discovered she could splice the DNA from the horseshoe crabs into insects that would then manufacture the factor C. This meant it was no longer necessary to bleed horseshoe crabs.

Although Ding has arrived at a solution, biomedical companies have been slow to adopt her method. They could potentially lose money if they adopt the factor C method and drop the traditional way of bleeding horseshoe crabs. But the population numbers of horseshoe crabs are dwindling, and they will continue to dwindle if nothing is done to help them. Additionally, many other species of animals rely on horseshoe crabs to survive, such as the red knot, a threatened species of bird. If we want to save the horseshoe crab, other threatened species, and our own biomedical industry, the factor C method should be adopted. By continuing to use the old method of blood extraction, horseshoe crabs may become fascinating animals of the past.


Zhang, Sarah. “The Last Days of the Blue-Blood Harvest.” Atlantic. Atlantic. May 9, 2018. Web. May 15, 2018.


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Glowing Puffin Beaks Surprise Scientists

Swamp Stomp

Volume 18 Issue 20

We know that light in the visible spectrum is necessary for humans to be able to see. Since our eyes are able to observe only a relatively limited number of wavelengths on the entire light spectrum, we must rely on artificial lighting to guide us when the sun is down or we are in enclosed areas with no additional lighting. However, many other animals in our world use light in different ways. Some we know about and some have yet to be discovered. The Atlantic Puffin is just one example of an organism that utilizes light in a very interesting way.

Jamie Dunning, a research student at the University of Nottingham, was more than surprised to turn on a black light over a deceased Atlantic puffin and discover that its beak glowed. Now, the Atlantic puffin is considered to be one of 180 animals considered “biofluorescent,” meaning they reflect blue light and reemit another color—the most common being green, red, or orange.
This is different from bioluminescent animals who are able to create their own light which they emit through chemical reactions in their bodies. In other words, biofluorescent animals use light and bioluminescent animals create light.

Most of the animals that are able to be used or create light live in the world’s largest habitat: the ocean. Animals like fish and squid that live so far below the ocean’s surface where light cannot reach, use light in a variety of ways. Most of the time, light is used as a way of defending oneself from a predator. Deep sea squids use light to startle and distract predators before they quickly dart away back into the darkness. Other creatures, such as dinoflagellates, light up to summon a predator of the predator attempting to eat them. Additionally, some species of shrimp and dinoflagellates, who live near the surface of the water, may light up to blend in with the silhouettes created in the water by the sun at dusk. This makes these creatures invisible to predators, as their light matches the light on the water.

But why would a puffin’s beak light up? Tony Diamond, an ornithologist at the University of New Brunswick, had observed the same glowing orange light from a deceased puffin as Dunning, so they have put their data together. Right now, the team is aiming to discover whether living puffins also have glowing beaks, but they had to develop “puffin sunglasses,” first, so as not to harm the puffin’s eyes under the blacklight. The team hopes to be able to observe whether the beaks glow on live birds and hopefully discover why the beaks glow. Is it for the purpose of preventing predation or is it something else? This question has no answer yet, but researchers are hoping to find this out soon.


Arnold, Carrie. “Puffin Beaks Glow in Surprising Discovery.” National Geographic National Geographic. 27 April 2018. Web. 4 May 2018.

Judson, Olivia. “Luminous Life.” National Geographic. National Geographic. March 2015. Web. 4 May 2018.

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Educational Sales Consultant

Position Announcement: Educational Sales Consultant

The Swamp School (SwampSchool.org) is an inspired environmental training institution headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina. We offer state of the art online eLearning and classroom programs for environmental professionals around the world. Many of our courses are based upon US Army Corps of Engineers and US EPA Clean Water Act compliance programs. We currently maintain a student body of more than 700 participants in our programs annually. We are celebrating our 16th year in business this year.

We are looking for an experienced and outgoing sales person who enjoys the outdoors and loves working with people. If you are looking to work with a cutting-edge leader in online environmental education, this is the place for you!

The duties include:

1. Present, promote and sell our programs to help our customers become better stewards of the environment and at the same time, satisfy regulatory program needs.
2. Identify new customers and customer markets
3. Look for ways to help our customers maximize the effect of their training dollars.
4. Establish, develop and maintain positive and fun business and customer relationships
5. Achieve agreed upon sales targets and outcomes within schedule
6. Make exciting presentations to large and small groups
7. Prepare for and attend interactive trade shows
8. Provide product demos online and in-person using state of the art Swamp School systems

The ideal candidate:

1. Has a great personality and is fun and engaging
2. Has prior experience as a sales representative
3. Has knowledge of MS Office systems
4. Is familiar with cloud-based CRM systems
5. Is energized and target driven with the ability to stay focused
6. Has excelling selling, communication, interpersonal and negotiation skills
7. Is very good a prioritizing their time and has strong organizational skills
8. Has the ability to create and deliver engaging presentations tailored to the audience needs
9. Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent experience
10. Is a veteran
11. Driver’s license

This position includes a competitive base salary and commission bonuses based on sales. There are no commission caps and no limit to what you can earn. We will also provide you with a product orientation program and ongoing support to help you make more sales. Our goal is to make you as successful as you can be. The more you grow the more we grow!

To apply for this position, send an email to: jobs@swampschool.org and include the job title “Educational Sales Consultant” in the subject line. No phone calls please.

The Swamp School is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. Women, minorities, people with disabilities and protected veterans are encouraged to apply.