Natural Experiments Co. believes in hiring mavericks to solve complex landscape level problems that exceeds the capabilities of ordinary minds. If you think small, do not bother to read beyond this point.
Advertisement notice: Do you fancy yourself a Sherlock? Have you lived an unfulfilling life with no challenges? Join us in our venture called “Natural experiments” where you can enjoy the frustration of not controlling multiple variables of a chaotic wilderness.
- Requires a candidate who can visualize complex problems.
- Someone who avoids thinking linearly (all seasoned laboratory scientists are therefore discouraged from applying)
- Does not forget to carry extra food in the backpack during field trips
Our first investigation will be at a farm spread along the tributaries leading to a bay.
It has been brought to our attention that the local sea food industry has started to suffer due to reducing populations of blue-point oysters. You are hired to get to the bottom of this and find a solution.
Your first task will be to fish for oysters. We strongly recommend that you stop by the general store at the duck farm that was recently established along the tributaries. Buy yourself a fishing hat. In order to prevent suicidal thoughts that frequently make pit stops in a scientist’s mind, we encourage you to have a few side stories that have no connection with the actual investigation (such as buying a hat for sampling purposes) to make the experience worthwhile.
After painstakingly collecting dead oysters you observe keenly for anything out of the ordinary. You dissect them and see undigested green flagellates in their intestines, which makes you wonder what incapacitated these oysters from digesting the phytoplankton.
You decide to retreat into your lab to find out if the oyster has developed a disease that perhaps prevents proper functioning of an enzyme involved in digestion of its natural meal. The search for this elusive enzyme is all in vain. You are playing the part of a dog chasing its own tail.
As you contemplate life and death, you stumble upon a few college students who are studying river ecosystems. They are discussing how the primary producer species have changed from diatoms and dinoflagellates to small green flagellates.
You just found your lead so you postpone plans of suicide and shift focus to what enabled these small green flagellates, a minority group, to conquer the mighty Riverdom. They seem like British explorers who had earlier exercised no control over the dominating local populations. However due to some unknown event they started to thrive and colonize the region dwindling the power of the locals.
You reason out that there must be some factor/s largely contributing to the shift in population dynamics of phytoplankton.
A work station is set up at the duck farm to carry out several tests on river water. Meanwhile you are oblivious to the fact that you are sitting on the linchpin; the duck farm.
After a few more years of frustration you finally submit your investigation report to Natural Experiments Co. It reads as follows:
Problem: Dinoflagellates and diatoms, the natural diet of oysters, use inorganic form of nitrogen (nitrates). They toil day in and day out to convert this inaccessible form of nitrogen to an organic form that can be utilised as a source of energy. However after the establishment of the duck farm seven years ago, extensive fertilization of river water by duck manure led to increase in organic form of nitrogen. The low circulating rate in the bay exacerbated the situation. The small and lazier green flagellates exploited the rich organic resources flooding their home to outcompete the sincere workforce of dinoflagellates. Riverdom was never the same thereafter.
Solution: Give me another ten years to search for one.