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Interview with John Hobbie, August 13, 2014

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:01:05 - Education and early career

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Partial Transcript: So we like to start by just having you to reflect a little bit on your early motivations for getting into ecology and maybe present us with an overview of your career.

Segment Synopsis: Hobbie talks about attending Dartmouth College, where he was involved in the Institute of Arctic Studies, which allowed him to spend a summer in Northern Canada as part of the arctic resupply for joint U.S and Canadian weather stations. He recalls being a research assistant on an expedition to study lakes in Greenland. He earned his masters at Berkeley, and then pursued his Ph.D at the University of Indiana with David Frey, and spent a year studying the lakes in Brooks Range, Alaska. He then did a post-doc at Uppsala University in Sweden where he studied bacteria in the lakes there.

Keywords: Arctic Institute of North America; Carbon-14; David Frey; Dick Wright; Ellesmere Island; Harvard; North Carolina State University; air force; algae; geology; glucose; nanoplankton; tritium

00:15:19 - International Biological Program

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Partial Transcript: Now at this time, the IBP came along.

Segment Synopsis: Hobbie discusses his leadership of the arctic limnology part of the International Biological Program (IBP) in Barrow, Alaska. He talks about studying the cycles of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus and coming up with a breakthrough method of counting bacteria.

Keywords: Canadian Arctic; Fred Smith; Larry Bliss; Larry Tieszan, Pat Webber; Walt Ochel; microbes; salt marsh

00:19:32 - Alaskan Pipeline / Ecosystems Center

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Partial Transcript: So, at the ecosystem center we had some wonderful scientists there.

Segment Synopsis: Hobbie talks about the Alaskan Pipeline, saying that the study area eventually became the Tulik Lake Long Term Research Network (LTER) site. Hobbie also discusses becoming the head of the Ecosystem Center of the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) after the former director, George Woodwell, left. He talks about preforming stable isotope studies of whale bones and caribou hooves and finding that the presence of Nitrogen-15 decreased overtime due to the Caribou eating a lot of mushrooms. He also discovered that the bacteria in the soil behaves similar to the way it behaves in the ocean, but he says that this type of work is controversial.

Keywords: Barrow, Alaska; Bowhead whales; Brooks Range; Eskimos; Fairbanks, Alaska; Glacier Bay; Jerry Mellio; Massachusetts; Mike Allen; Prudhoe Bay; Sitka Spruce; University of Alaska; amino acid; aquatic systems; dormancy; foliage; fungal hyphae; keratin; micro-moles; nano-moles; organic matter; salt marsh; terrestrial systems

00:37:00 - Looking back at Dartmouth and IBP

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Partial Transcript: Let's go back a little bit and fill in a few blanks here.

Segment Synopsis: Hobbie talks about how he was on the pre-med track when he started at Dartmouth, but that travelling to the arctic inspired an interest in ecology. He also recalls that oil companies provided funding for the IBP study.

Keywords: Jerry Brown; Jerry Franklin; Mountain Research Program; National Science Foundation; Tom Callahan; army core of engineers

00:42:56 - Shifts in field of ecology / Working with David Frey

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Partial Transcript: Okay, let me ask you about shifts in ecology then as years have gone by.

Segment Synopsis: Hobbie says that ecology has changed as a result of improvements in chemistry and modeling. He also discusses the differences between studying arctic environments versus the tropics, saying he considers studying the arctic easier because of less species diversity. Hobbie also discusses his relationship with David Frey,citing their common interest in music.

Keywords: Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Lake Mendota; University of Indiana; cello; computers; ecosystem model; microbial work; quantitative analysis; stochastic models; zoo plankton

00:50:23 - Involvement in ASLO and ESA

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Partial Transcript: Let's talk a little bit about ASLO and ESA / MBL summer course.

Segment Synopsis: Hobbie talks about his involvement in the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) and the Ecological Society of America (ESA). He recalls a joint meeting that the two organizations held while he was the president of ASLO and Paul Risser was the president of ESA. Hobbie also discusses an MBL (Marine Biological Laboratory) summer course that enables students from small liberal arts colleges to learn more about ecological topics.

Keywords: ATP; Tommy Edmonton; activity; aquatic; bacteria; dormancy; dynamics; freshwater; isotopes; limnology international association; microbial; private research laboratory; stream and river research