Welcome to Cathy Yao's Mission 2006, Team 3-Flora Website:0)
(click here for more information on our mission)

    I'm Cathy Yao, a member of MIT's Mission 2006. We're working together this year to try to formulate a plan to both monitor and preserve what remains of the diverse Amazon Rainforest. With a team of young minds with fresh thoughts, we hope to propose a viable strategy that we can help implement to save this wonderful resource by the end of the semester.

    The semester has speedily come to a closebut I'm very proud and excited about how far we've come and the presentation and website we produced. Our final website can be found at http://web.mit.edu/12.000/www/m2006/final/. The final presentation is available here.


(click here for our solutions to the mission!)

(click here for the minutes from our team meetings)

(click here for my research)

(weekly updates on our progress)
    So, our presentation is done. Ahh? :0) It went well:0) I really enjoyed the semester despite the moments of chaos near the end. I'm very proud of what we've accomplished, though it may not have been what I expected to in the beginning. We were thrown a huge problem and I think we did a great job addressing it and putting together the best of old projects concerning the Amazon as well as coming up with our own original ideas and unique solutions.
As we discussed in class yesterday, the class wasn't really so much about the Amazon rainforest but about learning how to approach and deal with complex problems. We learned a lot about teamwork and how to organize a large group and get things done. It's good to be put into a situation where you're able to wrestle with problems that weren't written for a textbook, that are from the real world. All in all, I had a great time-research, team meetings, mad rush and all.

Investigative essay for Subject 21W.735: Reading and Writing the Essay

    This past week has been pretty full making final preparations for our website and presentation. Tonight I spent many long hours with a bunch of other students in the Terrascope room editing pages and filling spaces. Though we're coming right down to the deadline and it feels like there's still a lot to do, I'm feeling pretty good about our project. It's been good to work with a number of people in Mission 2006 that I haven't seen too much during the semester. Staying up late into the night with this group is a lot of fun.

    On Sunday, the Infrastructure group (Juliana, Sarah, George, and I), got together to write up our solution. It's been pretty tough since there wasn't much information on the subject earlier but with what we have on the affects of roads and such on the rainforest and our previous work with fragmentation, we've put together a viable solution. Since in our new research on infrastructure we couldn't find too much documentation infrastructure's effects, we instead have suggested a study to get more concrete evidence and from there implement our plan for dealing with how to improve the infrastructure so that it has a lesser negative impact.

    Right now we are in a bit of a transition period. Last week we chose to switch into new groups in order to prepare our information for the final website and presentation. I am now in the Infrastructure group and have also submitted the information from my earlier research to the Logging group. We plan on meeting this weekend in order to put together our solution for Infrastructure.

    We've been sifting through our research and trying to identify the papers that are most relevant to the solution we'd like to create. For monitoring, we're gathering all the different methods and figures associated with them to sort of synthesize and take the best of each study and design our own. We've decided to use biomass, litter fall traps, and epiphytes as our main flora monitoring methods.

    Now that we have the bulk of our research finished, we are planning on concentrating more on the actual strategies to conserve the rainforest. As we develop these, we will have to research more in order to fill in the gaps in our current store of information. See the updates to my research page.

    This week I have tried find more information on better methods of logging and ways of conserving the nutrients in the soil. Hopefully, we can create a more concrete method of logging which will minimize the disruption of the natural rainforest ecosystem. See the updates to my research page.

    From now on, we have decided to move onto the next stage of the process: monitoring and protecting. We have split our team into two groups, each working on finding feasible strategies to monitor and protect the rainforest, respectively. I am on the protecting team and am doing research on what sorts of programs have been tried in the past, their strengths and weaknesses, what kind of message we want to send and how we can use the productive aspects of the plant life towards saving them. We must analyze a baseline for the plants, what the threats are doing to them, and how we can help them work with that.
    I read a few papers concerning logging, effects associated with it on the environment, and ways of improving conventional logging practices. Information from those can be found on my research page.

    This week I have done research on "What is the rainforest?" specifically the biological portion.
See my work for this week on my RESEARCH (click here for my research) page.

    For this week, we have set ourselves a deadline for which to have the answers to the two questions we have been focusing on. We hope to have compiled these into a more comprehensive team website by the end of the week. We're each working on a different subtopic in "What is rainforest" or "What are threats to the rainforest." These include deforestation, natural disasters, human impact, chemical processes, historical, and biotic factors.

    This week in Flora we have divided the group up into half characterizing and half analyzing the threats to the plants of the rainforest. I have a focus on ecology. We've had a chance to at least look through the course reserve books and are all getting a better understanding of the way the rainforest works. I have checked out a number of books and am in the process of reading up on more general and specifically ecological topics. Through the interactions of the plants in the different levels of the canopy, hopefully we can shed some light on how that contributes to the rainforest as a whole and how that can help us come up with some solutions.

    As part of a team focused on monitoring and preserving the flora of the rainforest, we have been gathering information from all kinds of resources: books, journals, magazines, online, etc. From this information we hope to first get an idea of just what sort of flora there is in the rainforest, or at least general groupings as well as fungi and algae. From there, we'd like to look more indepth at each kind of plant's chemical processes and how it interacts with both the environment around it and other species.

    We've already decided to split into groups according to levels of the rainforest, i.e. canopy, understory, ground layer. And this week we are all searching through different types of resources to gain a better understand of what plant life in the rainforest is like.

(click here for my references)

    Contents of Cathy Yao's Page:

    Flora's Pages:
        Main Flora Page:
              Team 3-FLora
        Individual Flora Team Member Pages:
               Jean Marie Downing
               George Eng
               Tanzeer Khan
               Sarah Newman
               Juliana Perez
               Shan Riku
               Cathy Yao (You're here!)

    Mission 2006's Pages:
     Mission 2006 Main Website

Cathy Yao
Team 3-FLora