Biologist, Tennessee Water Science Center, Nashville, Tennessee
U.S. Geological Survey
 
How Jennifer Marie Cartwright got involved with U.S. Geological Survey
My first experience with DOI was a summer internship in 2008 with FWS at Brazoria NWR in Texas doing GIS ground-truthing. I love GIS, and I love field work. I’ve been able to do a lot of both working for the USGS Tennessee Water Science Center since 2009. I’m currently working on a project in the cedar glades ecosystem at Stones River National Battlefield near Murfreesboro, TN, studying the interactions between hydrology and soil microbial community structures in this unique system. This field / lab research is also the basis for my dissertation, as I am pursuing a PhD in Biology at Tennessee State University.
 
Experience
In so many ways, doing this work has changed the way I see my surroundings: in a very literal sense, I notice details now to which I was previously blind. One example is learning how to spot high-water marks and debris lines. I was first taught how to do this by USGS field staff in the days immediately following the major flood in Middle TN in 2010. I now apply this ability to my work in cedar glades, which adds a qualitative component to the otherwise quantitative hydrology work I’m conducting. Now that I’m able to see these intriguing markers of the past movements of water, I notice them all the time. I’m grateful for the many ways that my learning from USGS has attuned me to my environment.
 
Jennifer Marie Cartwright's accomplishments
My biggest accomplishment so far has been getting my field and lab research up and running, which has meant being highly self-directed in terms of experimental design, methods development, and solving the logistical problems of solo field work. In April 2012 I was honored to receive the first place award in the graduate poster competition from the TN chapter of the American Water Resources Association for my ongoing work in cedar glades.
 
Jennifer Marie Cartwright's next steps
I plan to continue my field and lab research in cedar glades through early 2013, and to defend my dissertation and graduate with a PhD in Biology in mid 2013. My next project is to collaborate with a team from NC State University on a regional synthesis of climate vulnerable ecosystems in the Southeast US, to provide an overview of the “state of the science” concerning the climate-related threats, exposures, and adaptive capacities of systems such as pocosins, vernal pools, cedar glades, karst depressions, high-elevation systems (cloud forests, elfin forests, etc.), xeric prairies, pine flatwoods, and rock outcrop communities.
 
Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee
School: Tennessee State University
Major: Biology