Blog Post

Oceans, Ecology, Media, Environments

Hi everyone,

This is my first year as a HASTAC scholar and I'm interested in connecting with others interested in networks and environmental issues broadly.  I'm a 5th year in the Program in Literature at Duke, and my own research is on oceans and media theory--actual media in or representing the ocean, as well as how oceans might change how we think about things like communication, database, etc.

I see there haven't been any "environment" or "ecology" or "climate change" tags on blog posts yet, but it would be fantastic to start a conversation about some of these topics in relation to social networks and digital humanities projects.  For example, one of the more interesting media events was the Maldives' underwater cabinet meeting in 2009.  How might social networks get people thinking about oceans or climate change issues? 

Looking forward to meeting more of you!

Melody Jue



Hi Melody, 

This is fascinating. I'm actually at the Society for Ecological Restoration World Conference ( this week, and have heard some excellent presentations on near-shore and deep-sea restoration work -- using modeling / rendering to present these projects. One practitioner working on coral reef  restoration brought up a good point that because there is no human population in the ocean, it is challenging to conceptualize a restoration plan that functions at a large scale, so there is a bit more room (and need) for creative collaboration between science and technology to model how it might exist. I thought that this was interesting because even in my own work in ecological design, I am always envisioning the experience of humans within the space.  

Going back to your question of how networks might prompt the public to think about these ecological issues -- I do believe that from the diversity of the symposiums at this conference, this is one of the common questions that's being asked and examined. So you are in good company! 





Hi Melody,

I am excited to read your post!  I am definitely interested in environmental issues and networks broadly speaking.  Your project sounds fascinating and important. 

I am currently doing fieldwork in Poland on environmental activism, and I will be in Warsaw during the COP19 talks in November, watching how climate change issues get represented by the host of the talks, the Polish government, and by environmental NGOs... I'm already observing how these representations are happening even before the meeting--and how enviro groups, on social media sites, are commenting on these representations (eg from today:  This is a key part of my data collection, and I'm still trying to figure out how to organize my data collection and eventual analysis of these discourses and media events...

Let's keep this conversation going!




Hi Theresa and Tiffany,

Thanks for your replies!  Excited to hear you're both at ecology minded conferences. Theresa, I liked your example that because there is no human population in the ocean it's hard to formulate deep-sea restoration plans... which reminds me of not only the "shifting baselines" problem, but also an interesting case where human beings are not the sole measure, but have to imagine an approach anyway.  There have been talks about this at the Duke Marine Lab concerning the mining issues.  The director, Dr. Cindy Van Dover, is actually a submersible pilot and has been steering an interesting course between conservation and mining.  On another note, what kind of work have you done with ecological design?

It was also interesting to hear of Poland's engagement with the topic of sea level rise; but more with an eye for economic opportunities than worry about coastal communities (at least in the Guardian article)?  Tiffany, I'd be curious to hear more about what you observe of climate change/activism while you're in Poland!  For example, who is Poland networking or partnering with?  Any island nations?  I'm particularly interested in tracking the science fictional dimensions of anticipating climate change, like Japan's assistance plan for Kiribati.... 

In doing background research for part of a working group on the Anthropocene, we kept noticing how many responses were visual (photographs, visualizations, artwork, mixed theory with artwork)... let's keep the conversation going on representation and activism :)




Hi Melody,

Your dissertation research sounds fascinating. I am also interested in issues related to ecological preservation and activism, although I'm personally more focused on human-animal interactions and animal rights activism. I'm just beginning my PhD in Anthropology, so my own research interests are still in flux.

I just wanted to bring up the following projects that I feel are relevant to this conversation. Maya Lin's "What is Missing" is a fascinating, global, multimedia project that seeks to draw attention to dwindling biodiversity. Her work is subtle, yet filled with immense intelligence and nuanced perception. Bernie Krause has also done incredible work on soundscaping, showing how seemingly small human interferences in ecosystems can wreck havoc on the natural world.

I recently started a group ("Animals, Art, and Digital Practices") - I haven't yet begun to post content to the group, but if you're interested, please feel free to join and post anything relevant to art, design, environmental issues, or animal-related topics. Thanks!




Hi Cait,

Thanks for sharing the biodiversity piece!  One of my friends (Pinar Yoldas) has also created works on biodiversity, but with sound in The Very Loud Chamber Orchestra of Endangered Species. I just joined your Animals, Art and Digital Practices group--great topic!  Also, the journal Evental Aesthetics has a new issue out on animals and art. So much to share!

Cait, Tiffany and Theresa--would there be interest in an "Climate Change and Media" group?  It might be easier to post content there than on a continuing thread--? 

Thanks all :)



Hi Melody,

I would definitely be interested in a group on Climate Change and Media - would be nice to consolidate the discussion and probably easier to share content that way.

Wow! These are both awesome projects/resources. Thanks so much for sharing. Pinar's work is incredible!

Thanks for joining up the animal group. I hope to blog there, soon. Please feel free to share info there any time.




I'd be interested in such a group, thanks for suggesting it.  Maybe the title should be more broad to encompass the interests in this thread (Biodiversity, Ecology, etc), and to perhaps bring in other folks interested in environment and media?  Or would Climate Change and Media provide more focus? 

Whatever the case, I agree having a group may make it easier to continue this conversation. :)


Thanks for the suggestions!  I'm all for broader, and I think "Environment and Media" would indeed encompass biodiversity and ecology rather than climate change specifically.  I'll post it later today :)  Hopefully there will be some fruitful overlap with the "Animals, Art, and Digital Practices" group as well!






Excited for the new group! I've just come back from the ecological restoration conference feeling more inspired and with a whole list of readings. I like the broader theme of Environment and Media as well -- so much would fall under this and is such a great point of intersection. 


Briefly, just wanted to tie into the current conversation with something relevant I learned about in Madison: soundscape ecology. It's sound design based on field notes/ecological/historical studies and writings. This one is specifically from Aldo Leopold's written observations: "The work fits into an emerging field of science known as soundscape ecology, which seeks to explain the role of sound within a landscape and how it influences the animals -- birds, insects, amphibians, even fish -- that live there." Maybe you guys are familiar or have already worked on a similar project? 

Also, to answer your question, Melody (sorry I'm a bit late here).. I'm currently working on a couple of studio projects on woodland design -- creating a plan to restore a 30 acre portion of a forest outside of Philly. The design would encompass a full inventory of plant species that exist in our site, as well as other "reference sites" (more pristine sites) that share common characteristics and ecosystem. The design is a strategy to repair the current eroded and compacted condition of the soils and slopes of the forest to increase biodiversity. That means that I'm constantly out in the field looking at how good forests look and function together. Was just in Ithaca this weekend for a couple of days, and it's definitely fall up there. Yellows, greens, reds, oranges.. beautiful!

Hi all,

Sorry for the delay--the new group "Environments and Media" is up!  Please feel free to join!

(Theresa--your restoration project sounds amazing, and thanks for sharing Aldo Leopold's work on soundscape ecology.  I don't know as much about the terrestrial dimesions of that, but it's been a hot topic on ocean science for the way that ships and sonar blasts from the oil industry and military affect whales and dolphins).




Hello, this sounds like a fantastic project!  I am interested in participating.  I'm actually an ecologist.  I work on disease ecology now, but for my master's I used to work on making a mathematical model that simulated disturbance dynamics of storm waves that rip off regions of coastal mussel beds along the West Coast.  Keep me posted! I'm also not too far from you (I'm in Atlanta), so let me know if you ever come down Georgia.  

Oh yeah, I was wondering if you have seen this climate change video before that I posted in my blog a few months ago:

It's basically a musician who tried interpreting average global temperature over the years using musical chords in a cello.  It's pretty awesome!