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EcoBloggers


EcoBloggers is a feed of ecology blogs aggregated from around the web. If you write an Ecology blog (made up primarily of original posts by you or contributors), and you'd like to have it included here, email the feed link to the site webmaster. Each contributed post is trimmed to stay on the right side of copyright law and to encourage readers to click through to contributors' sites. You can get the RSS feed here. Each post is also automatically tweeted by @EcoBloggers.
  • via Meghan Duffy from Dynamic Ecology
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    2 months 1 week ago

    I really don’t want the blog to turn into a platform for announcing personal papers, but this is another case that seems worthy of an exception. I am a coauthor on a paper that just appeared in Royal Society Open Science that focuses on science community blogging as an important type of blog. In the paper, we make the distinction between two types of blogging: science communication blogging and science community blogging. Science communication blogging is traditional scicomm: communicating science broadly, with non-scientists as a typical audience. Science community blogging, on the other hand, focuses on the process and culture of academia, with other scientists being the primary audience. Dynamic Ecology is pretty much entirely science community blogging. Some other blogs mix the two, and some are solidly on the science communication side of things. One of our arguments is that science community blogging is...

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  • via Jeremy Fox from Dynamic Ecology
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    2 months 1 week ago

    A while back we invited you to ask us anything. Here are our answers to our next question. One is from Marine Molecular Ecologist: what are the important considerations when choosing your first postdoc? Vero Zepeda asked the same question, and also wants to know what’s the purpose of a postdoc?

    Brian: I’m glad both questions were asked as they are clearly related. If you take a historical perspective, a postdoc is just a recent innovation to help kill time while waiting for a faculty job. Thirty years or so ago, most PhDs went straight to a faculty job. The postdoc evolved only because we overtrained the number of PhDs.

    But that’s depressing .The...

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  • via Jeremy Fox from Dynamic Ecology
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    2 months 1 week ago

    A while back we invited you to ask us anything. Here are our answers to our next question, from Andrew Krause: what is your advice for those from other disciplines who have an interest in ecology? Particularly those interested in pursuing interdisciplinary work.

    Jeremy’s answer: As you said yourself in your linked comment, finding good collaborators is key. So is learning to write well for an audience of non-theoreticians. Steve Ellner has some advice on this, and his papers are great examples to follow. And it helps to be good at spotting analogies between disparate systems. For instance, spotting when a physics model can be reinterpreted as a biological model (...

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  • via Jeremy Fox from Dynamic Ecology
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    2 months 2 weeks ago

    Note from Jeremy: this is a guest post from Mark Vellend.

    ************

    The textbook I use for my undergraduate class in plant ecology now costs about $150 (it used to cost <$100).  I was alerted to this by the instructor who will be teaching the class for the next couple of years (while I have a fellowship to focus on research), and it immediately got me thinking again about ecology textbooks (see old DE posts here and here).  I have never much liked 500+ page books whose weight (>2kg) immediately doubles the shoulder strain of my backpack.  And $150 is an awful lot to more-or-less force students to...

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  • via Jeremy Fox from Dynamic Ecology
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    2 months 2 weeks ago

    Note from Jeremy: this is a guest post from Aaron Hall. Thank you very much to Aaron for taking the time to share his experience.

    This post is part of our ongoing series on non-academic careers for ecologists. See here for links to previous posts in the series.

    *********

    Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you, what sort of ecology did you do in grad school, and what do you do now?

    I am Aaron Hall, and I work for the non-profit Defenders of Wildlife. My job title is “Rockies and Plains Representative,” but functionally I am an aquatic ecologist. Defenders works to protect native species in native habitats, and focuses mostly on rare, threatened, and endangered species. 

    I have a bit of a varied past:...

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  • via Jeremy Fox from Dynamic Ecology
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    2 months 2 weeks ago

    In order for a coherent scholarly discipline to exist, there has to be a critical mass of people who agree sufficiently on what questions members of the discipline should ask, how they should go about answering those questions, and about how to evaluate those questions and answers so as to distinguish better ones from worse ones. Obviously, not everybody is always going to agree on everything all the time, and if they ever did it would arguably be a sign of groupthink. Obviously, there’s scope for subdisciplines within a discipline–clusters of people who share a specialized interest that isn’t shared by the rest of the discipline. And obviously, there’s no clear bright line between sufficient agreement on the basics to have a scholarly discipline, and insufficient agreement–it’s a continuum. But we can point to examples to illustrate the extremes. Physics is a coherent scholarly discipline, with subdisciplines like particle physics, nuclear...

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  • via Meghan Duffy from Dynamic Ecology
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    2 months 2 weeks ago

    Last week, I did a quick poll asking people how much math they think is involved in ecology, evolutionary biology, and genetics, and also how much math they use in their own research. What counts as a “moderate” or “substantial” amount of math is up for debate, of course. But I am most interested in the comparison between the three fields and, especially, in comparing the responses of DE readers with those of my intro bio students.

    To give more explanation: it seems clear to me that undergrads are generally surprised by the amount of math that is in ecology. And, from talking with colleagues (here and elsewhere), it’s clear I’m not the only person who has the impression that college students do not expect ecology to involve math.

    I’ve been thinking about how to try to address this with students. I want to try to...

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  • via Jeremy Fox from Dynamic Ecology
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    2 months 2 weeks ago

    Not all that much. You do need to do a bit of customization for each broad class of institutions to which you’re applying, but you don’t need to heavily customize your application for each individual institution. For details, read on.

    Here’s how much customization I did, back when I was applying for faculty jobs regularly. I’ve been around a while and I’ve sat on search committees and spoken to colleagues, so I’m confident that what I did was, and remains, common in ecology. But please do chime in with your own comments.

    I was applying to two types of institutions: research universities (mostly R1s and R2s), and selective liberal arts colleges. I used the same cv for both, but I had slightly different versions of the research and teaching statements and cover letter for each type of institution. I did little customization for individual institutions.

    • My teaching statement for liberal arts colleges didn...
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  • via Jeremy Fox from Dynamic Ecology
    Citation for this post: BibTeX | RIS
    2 months 2 weeks ago

    If you’ve ever looked at the ecoevojobs.net faculty jobs board, you’ve probably seen speculation that position X has an internal candidate, the implication being that others maybe shouldn’t bother applying because the internal candidate will have an edge or even be a shoo-in. Sometimes, the speculation is not merely that a strong internal candidate exists, but that the position is intended for the internal candidate, so that the entire search is a formality with a pre-determined outcome.

    But internal candidates have factors working against them as well as for them. As illustrated by the fact that they don’t always get the job–even when they’re confident they will! For instance, see here,...

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  • via Meghan Duffy from Dynamic Ecology
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    2 months 3 weeks ago

    My paper on last and corresponding authorship appeared in the journal Ecology & Evolution today. Normally I don’t plug my papers on the blog, but this one is different: this paper arose out of a poll and a series of blog posts on the site, so it seems appropriate to wrap things up with a quick post today.

    I suppose it’s actually not quite accurate to say the paper arose out of a poll. Before that, I had a tweet storm as I thought through issues, and that, in turn, was motivated by needing to decide on author order for a manuscript. When I was at Georgia Tech, I was told that I should be last author on all papers coming out of my lab as a sign of having driven the work. But I have a paper from work I did as a grad student where I am the last author (with my advisor as a middle author) because I did the least work on the...

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