Terrestrial Research on Ecosystems & World-wide Education & Broadcast || An Innovative Graduate Training Program

Julia Amerongen Maddison

 Name: Julia Amerongen Maddison      Degree:  M.Sc Candidate

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How do we understand complex systems that seem to overwhelm our objective reasoning? How do we put our intuition and our incredibly intelligent, but often biased, subjectivity to use in understanding these systems? We as humans understand each other socially with a mixture of rules of thumb, rational thought, and deep emotional and empathetic tools. Each one of us is a complex system that is at times predictable, at times entirely capricious and surprising. And yet we manage to develop a kind of understanding of each other (which, granted, can have its own flaws). How can we interpret complex systems like ecosystems in a way that is useful and communicable? I find these and other questions fascinating, and I’m currently targeted towards exploring them through the lens of mycorrhizal networks. Mycorrhizal networks are fungal networks that connect plants below ground, transferring nutrients and other chemicals from plant to plant via fungal tissues. As a new Masters student in the Forest Science Program at UBC, I’m uncertain about the specific aspect of mycorrhizal fungi that I will study, but one way or another I’d like to related it back to ideas about complex systems. I did my BSc at UBC as well, in Integrated Sciences (integrating evolutionary biology and geomorphology). I particularly like climbing trees, eating good food, making music with friends, listening to trees, and having awesome conversations. 6 Minutes of Passion for Science (4)  from UBC UILO on Vimeo. The Game is available here.

Thesis Topic: Interpreting complex systems like ecosystems in a way that is useful and communicable through the lens of mycorrhizal networks

Supervisor: Dr. Suzanne Simard


Conference Presentations & Poster

  • Amerongen Maddison, J.; Simard S. 2015. Investigating defenserelated information transfer between Douglasfir trees via ectomycorrhizal networks. Poster presented at the International Conference on Mycorrhiza in Flagstaff, Arizona.


  • Amerongen Maddison,J. 2015.Ecosystem Mobile Prototype. Group exhibition. Curiosity Collider event at ViVO gallery, Vancouver, BC.
  • Amerongen Maddison, J. 2014. Graphic novel style scientific research poster for TerreWEB Open House, The University of British Columbia. Nov. 2014.
  • Amerongen Maddison, J. 2014. Mobile Education Game Shroomroot. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.areadenialgames.shroomroot& hl=en and http://shroomroot.com/game.html (must be played using Safari or Firefox).



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