Not all the work in my PhD is as photogenic as it might have looked from my posts here. A significant part of it even looks a lot more like a normal desk job, with a lot of computer work.
But this computer work is not at all less exciting than all the photogenic parts, and many of the results may be even more valuable for my research than those from the time I spend outside.
At the moment, a big part of my time goes to the development of a theoretical model of plant invasion in vegetation gaps.
With the help of some long-lost high-school analytical equations, a whole bunch of fantastic modeling tricks and skills learned from strangers on the internet and the endless trial-and-error inherent to modeling, an impression of the real world is slowly brought to life on my computer screen. Without all the noise.
And that is the major advantage of this approach. You can predict highly complicated patterns and processes that would otherwise stay out of sight in nature, because of the inconvenience created by the noise that results from the interaction of thousands of real-time changing factors. Looking for proof in nature becomes a lot easier if the models first tell you what exactly to look for.
It’s a kind of magic, only a quiet time-consuming one, but the results will be not less spectacular.