Lea Shell

About Lea Shell

Lea Shell is an entomologist and educator who devotes her time convincing others just how wonderfully important insects and microbes are to our lives. She enjoys playing with slime mold, ants, GPS units, climate loggers and interviewing scientists about their middle school experiences.

Getting Sourdough on the Map

A quick update on the Sourdough Project! We are currently up to 300 samples (and counting) and we’ve got a fantastic team of undergraduates working on processing and characterizing our samples: Kinsey Drake, Nick Kamkari, and Shravya Sakunala. Check out the map of our where the starters we have processed in the lab.

By | 2017-06-26T14:23:20+00:00 February 20th, 2017|

What’s your flour type?

The Wolfe lab has been working to pinpoint just what makes sourdough starters so magical. It turns out that each flour has its own microbial “signature.” Tufts undergraduate Nick Kamkari has been plating out and characterizing different brands of-off-the shelf flours to learn more about what we should expect to find in each starter fed by that flour, to better be able to pinpoint what are the extra (delicious) microbes that make the starters successful.

By | 2017-06-26T14:24:29+00:00 February 20th, 2017|

The Wild Lives of Gutters

As a rule of thumb, we like to assume that if a surface exists, there’s something (or many things) living on it. These “things” are microscopic organisms – bacteria, fungi, protists, and even archaea – and they’re all very hard at work turning dead things anew into life, or even turning the nutrients in air into bits and pieces of their cells. We smell the presence of these workings, but forget to consider the thriving life forms it bespeaks.

By | 2017-02-09T13:35:19+00:00 February 9th, 2017|

Sourdough Stories: Patty Ellis

We will begin a series of sourdough stories wherein we highlight the oral history that accompanies many different sourdough starters. For many, this starter becomes [...]

By | 2016-11-22T13:46:43+00:00 October 3rd, 2016|

Tracking Kleptomaniac Cats

Aya the cat has an interesting secret life, to say the least. When we started tracking outdoor cats with Cat Tracker in Raleigh/Durham to see where [...]

By | 2016-11-22T13:46:44+00:00 April 16th, 2015|

Students share eMammal!

On Thursday, March 5, eight middle school students from the classrooms of two 2014-2015 Students Discover Kenan Fellows, Dave Glenn and Dayson Pasion, presented their research [...]

By | 2016-11-22T13:46:45+00:00 March 23rd, 2015|

Dr. Eleanor Dishes about Ants!

Looking for a new podcast to listen to while waiting for the next season of Serial? Check out Under The Microscope -- available for free on iTunes -- [...]

By | 2016-11-22T13:46:45+00:00 March 18th, 2015|

Help locate the coughing frog!

You may have heard of a newly described species of leopard frog, the Atlantic Coast leopard frog (Rana kauffeldi) -- also known as the coughing frog [...]

By | 2016-11-22T13:46:45+00:00 March 12th, 2015|

Before They Were Scientists: Monica Peters

When I first met New Zealand native and science/artist Monica Peters, she was attending the Citizen Science Association meeting in San Jose, California. After her [...]

By | 2016-11-22T13:46:45+00:00 March 6th, 2015|

Before They Were Scientists: Mette Olufsen

Dr. Mette Olufsen found mathematics very easy in middle school and had an interest in biology. Yet, she never predicted that she would grow up [...]

By | 2016-11-22T13:46:46+00:00 February 20th, 2015|

Our Bodies Are a Habitat

Thanks to PBS Digital Studios and YouTuber Coma Niddy we can now add face mites to the list of subjects featured in a science parody [...]

By | 2016-11-22T13:46:46+00:00 February 16th, 2015|

Tracking Turtles with Juliana Thomas

“We were tracking turtles today!” Juliana Thomas immediately and enthusiastically tells me after I asked her how her day was going; “We’ve never tracked them [...]

By | 2016-11-22T13:46:46+00:00 February 9th, 2015|