photos by Nicole Merola
In her sabbatical presentation in the Tap Room on Wednesday, Literary Arts + Studies Department Head Nicole Merola showed epic wildlife photographs from her summertime cruise to the Arctic island of Spitsbergen. She made the trip in order to see for herself the Arctic’s unique ecology during a time of global warming and expects to weave her experiences and emotional responses into her classes on climate change and biodiversity.
Although she was expecting to see plenty of ice and mountains, Merola was bowled over by the sheer size of the rock faces, the ever-changing light and the unexpected colors of the lichen and other summertime Arctic flora. And the “charismatic megafauna” (i.e., walruses, whales and polar bears) were nothing to sneeze at either. She spent hours watching a walrus pile at rest and observed first-hand the disappearing pack ice where polar bears hunt seals.