Seth Goodnight

I think that the best way to describe myself as a scientist is to give you a glimpse at my journey towards becoming one. I was always the kid on my science class who asked questions that the teacher couldn't answer; there was always just one more thing that I just needed to know. I had always had a passing interest in marine biology; I used to check out the same book on fish (the only one) from my elementary school library. At the time it was only one of many topics that I found interesting. I had the same level of interest in insects, dinosaurs, germs, cells, evolution, and just about every other aspect of biology. Since you can't study all of biology (though I still try) I had to narrow my focus. As an undergrad I majored in biology and chemistry and planned to go into biomedical research.

All of that changed in the summer of 2005 when I spent three weeks in the British Virgin Islands on a scuba diving trip. From my very first dive I knew I had found my place. There were so many incredible things to see, and I wanted to find them all. I finished my degree, and (after a brief stint in the real world) I applied to grad school.

As of now I'm working on my PhD in marine biology. My research focuses on the life history and population dynamics of the sea slug Pladica dendritica. I still want to learn about all of biology, but I've had to chose just one small aspect to study. After four years (and counting) of graduate school I've finally narrowed my interest down to marine invertebrates: just 70% of the earth and 97% of the animals. That’s pretty focused right?

Recent posts by Seth:

Recent Posts in Sex is Weird:

Home
OMG GMO! Part 2: Are GMOs bad?

The second post in our series wades into the good and bad of GMOs. There are a lot of articles out there that make the claim that there’s no such thing as a good GMO and that all of them are bad in some way. Others would have you believe that they are all completely harmless. We take a look at some of the different modifications out there to help you decide whether modifying crops is good or bad.

Sex is Weird: Mating Types

 If you've been following the series, then you should know about some pretty weird forms of sexual reproduction. I want to take a step back from the specific mechanisms and talk about one of the key components of sexual reproduction: mating types. 

Charles Darwin, Lewis Carroll, and Daphnia magna

"Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place."

Organisms must continue to adapt, lest they be overcome by predators or left behind by prey, but all of that adapting leaves them with no more advantage than they had before. This idea has come to be called the Red Queen Hypothesis, and it made quite an impact on the field of evolutionary biology.

Changing the World by Accident

“Most important discoveries or creations are accidental…” I’ve come across this phrase or something similar many times. A quick Google search reveals that it is even showing up on standardized tests in writing prompts given to school kids. Not only is the statement just plain wrong, but it gives a terrible impression of what scientists do.

Survival of the chloroplast

Read the story of the mighty chloroplast. In the primordial waters of the early Earth, a tiny microbe harnessed the power of nuclear fusion. Billions of years later it survives in nearly every ecosystem in the world, including inside other organisms that tried to eat it.

Home
Sex and secrets: a story of a missing lady

It's not news that males and females of many species look different.  But how to match them up a male and female look so different, they don't even look like the same species?

Sex is Weird: Mating Types

 If you've been following the series, then you should know about some pretty weird forms of sexual reproduction. I want to take a step back from the specific mechanisms and talk about one of the key components of sexual reproduction: mating types. 

Sex is Weird: Figs and Fig Wasps

In this episode of Sex is Weird: a coevolution double feature. Learn about figs and the wasps that pollinate them; two completely different species linked by sexual reproduction.