Getting to the root of a story by Lisa Tossey

Nematodes are usually bad news for gardens. But not always - as I just learned doing this piece on how they are tiny superheroes in one aspect of agriculture. These wriggly microscopic worms can actually be used as a tool in fighting larger corn rootworms, which are currently a major scourge of the Corn Belt here in the U.S.

The challenge for this video is that I shot it - both the interview and the b-roll - before seeing the written story it would accompany, so I did my best to try to imagine all the visuals I might need to illustrate the science. This was backwards from the usual approach, so I was pretty pleased in the way it ended up coming together.

I also worked with senior art director Jeff Chase again to illustrate what happens in this epic battle beneath the soil’s surface. The result is this short explainer video that we added as a card to the main story.

Read more about this research in this UDaily article >>

From the storyboard to the screen by Lisa Tossey

Planning is key for videos - especially when it comes to animated sequences. I enjoyed helping to write this script and storyboard it, then watch it come to life under the graphic magic of my colleague, Jeff Chase.

A few shots of my planning sketches on the script, followed by the final video.


Learn more about this $23 million grant here >

A link between farting termites and cleaner energy? by Lisa Tossey

I have to say, that got my attention…

In reality, it is microbes doing the “farting” - specifically methane-producing microbes who live within the gut of termites. And since these microbes also help termites digest wood, researchers are looking at how they might be put to work “mining” vast reserves of coal that are otherwise difficult to access, since coal is basically compressed wood. By having these deep diving microbes convert coal directly to methane, or natural gas, its energy can be captured and utilized in a cleaner burning form to serve growing energy needs as greener alternative energies come on line.

I worked with Jeff Chase, senior art director at University of Delaware’s Office of Communications and Marketing, to produce this series of videos on the topic to accompany an article by Tracey Bryant. These pieces were designed to work in concert with each other if viewers wanted to dive deeper into the topic and are linked by cards. The wood to coal explainer was also designed to stand alone as educational piece.

A huge shout-out to Jeff for his beautiful graphic work on this!

UPDATE Jan. 16: Cool to see this was picked up by Newsweek!

Termites may hold the key to transforming coal - a big polluting chunk of the global energy supply - into cleaner energy for the world, according to Universi...

#SUKAYAKSDelmarva by Lisa Tossey

Twenty-one days kayaking and camping around the Delmarva peninsula - not a bad way to start the summer! I was fortunate to spend June assisting with a summer semester course doing just that with the writer Tom Horton and students from Salisbury University. I am currently compiling and editing footage from the journey, but here are a few of the social media posts I made during the trip.