Faces of Biology

I just won second place in the Faces of Biology contest, sponsored by the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS). They focus on showcasing the broader impacts of science in society, and this contest was a way for them to present the different aspects of science to policymakers. I’m very proud to have contributed an image. It, and the other winners, will be featured in an upcoming issue of BioScience.


The photo shows my collaborator Percy Orlando Chambi Porroa measuring the branching architecture of a plant sample in Manú National Park, Peru. We’re sitting in a small wooden house, deep inside the cloud forest. Better measurements of branch architecture may be useful for making better models of carbon storage and growth in plants. The overall project is led by Yadvinder Malhi out of the University of Oxford and is focused on understanding the carbon dynamics of tropical forests. One of the best things about the project, in my mind, is that it brings together researchers from a range of countries and enables students (like Percy, and like me) to have much richer experiences than they ever would get otherwise.

Below is a scene from the forest, as branch samples are collected and tagged to be measured.


Percy was kind enough to pose for several pictures. Here’s one of the other candidates – a nice memory of some beautiful weeks in the field.


6 Comments Add yours

  1. keep up the good work, congrats! Enjoy the sweet moment! 🙂

  2. Hey awesome shot, Ben! Congrats on the award. =D

    1. bblonder says:

      Thanks, Randall! Are you still in Pittsburgh? It’s been far too long since we’ve talked.

      1. It HAS been super long since we’ve chatted! Yep, I’m still in Pittsburgh – such is the way of MD-PhD programs, I suppose: the thought that I’m making my way through my fourth year here – with no end in sight at the moment – is incredibly depressing.

        I’ve been lurking around here for a little while, though, and it seems like you’ve been all over the place! It all looks incredibly exciting and interesting from the perspective of a person whose science consists of getting into work and staring at Western Blots all day. =)

        I had a thought of starting a quasi-urban photoblog about a year ago when I got a Vespa to motor around the city. Unfortunately, another driver put an end to all of that! I hope this finds you well!

      2. bblonder says:

        Hi Randall,

        I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog. It’s been a very interesting few years, traveling around so much, having my world expanded as I step into the shoes of an ecologist. It’s not too late to escape the lab – lots of good medical work needs to be done out of doors and in remote areas… 🙂

        If you get your blog going I’d love to see more of what you’re up to. And if you ever would like to escape Pittsburgh and see the southwestern deserts, let me know.


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