It’s Red Sox opening day and we’re finally getting some sun and warm temperatures. Baseball fans aren’t the only ones defrosting down in the Fenway; I just got word that an Italian Wall Lizard, our “Green Monster,” poked its head out of one of the compost piles it most likely over-wintered in.
Go Red Sox and Hurrah for the Green Monster!... Read the full article.
As scientists, we live for those lightbulb moments. I imagine we’re more likely to have these moments if we know more natural history, which lets us piece together fundamental facts about our natural world in a new way.
The gents who figured out natural selection first developed a tangible understanding of variation among individuals in the same species from spending lots of time observing and collecting. In a similar way, we couldn’t sort out antibiotics until we understood how different kinds of microbes are in conflict with one another. The development of vaccines followed an understanding of how people develop immunity after exposure to a pathogen. And the development of PCR involved understanding how and where some creatures have adapted to extremely high temperature environments.
In other words, knowing stuff about things matters.
Who would have imagined that knowing about fungi would develop a fix for life-threatening bacterial infections? Or...Read the full article.
If you look at my publications list, you’ll see that it doesn’t look up to date. The most recent paper on it came out in 2015. And it’s true that it’s not up to date–but only because I’m a co-author on a couple of papers that got accepted in the past week.
Which means that in terms of publishing papers, I went 0-for-2016. I went almost two years between acceptance letters.
That’s for a few reasons. In the fall of 2015, I spent a few months focusing on other things besides writing papers. I’ve always worked best that way; I like having various irons in the fire so that I can switch between them as the mood strikes me. But in retrospect, I probably should’ve forced myself to sit down and write papers in fall of 2015.
Then, when I did go back to writing papers, they all got rejected, in a couple of cases more than once. In some cases, that...Read the full article.
Ensuring openness and reproducibility in ecology is an ongoing challenge, although open tools (e.g., R Studio, Github) are free to use, and user support is everywhere. To illustrate how ecology collaborations can fit within an open science framework, we had the idea of running an ‘Open Derby’. Similar to a research derby, where grad students and post-docs from different academic departments and universities collaborate together to solve a conservation problem, our idea extends the derby concept to working fully openly: learning version control in GitHub, writing and analysing data in RMarkdown, and publishing all project development in an open notebook. Our end goal is to examine a conservation issue using open...Read the full article.
The Redonda posts have trailed off because I’m neck-deep in prepping for the next two trips this field season. I’ve still got a few more Redonda stories in mind to write up though so I’ll try to get them posted before I leave next week. I have to tell you about the next trips though!
Next Saturday I’m headed to the Bahamas for a...Read the full article.
The Voice of the Future (VOF) event on 15 March was my first foray into engaging with policy and my first non-conference British Ecological Society activity. I had seen the event advertised on society websites and had read these several times, with ever increasing interest. However, it wasn’t until discussing the event with a friend that I decided to apply. One decisive factor in this was that I was growing more anxious and frustrated at what appeared to be the dwindling influence of science, evidence and common sense in government policy, especially since June 2016. I came to the conclusion that I could not pass on the opportunity to question Government Ministers, Shadow Ministers, the Chief Scientific Advisor and the Science and Technology Select Committee on these issues, and I opted to represent the BES as I believe the environment has the most at risk as the...Read the full article.
This is my last day in Aarhus. It is raining, but this is different from the stinging cold winter rain on the dark mornings in January. This is spring rain. At home in Tihany, the hillsides are probably covered in Corydalis and the reed warblers are probably nesting and the kayak is ready to take out for a spin again.... Read the full article.