# 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 Terry McGlynn
Citation for this post:
11 months 2 weeks ago

An obituary for climate scientist Gordon Hamilton, who died in a field accident in Antarctica.

Here’s yet another editorial about how metrics of scientific success get in the way of good science. With stories about folks implementing common sense policies to fix things.

Sara Goldrick-Rab’s new book Paying the Price is a call for people to wake up to the rising cost of college. You might be thinking, yeah, duh, of course, college is expensive. But I had not appreciated the depth and extent of the problem and what it means for people going to college...

• ### Is social media ruining everything?

via Amy Parachnowitsch
Citation for this post:
11 months 2 weeks ago

I have been involved with a few conversations in the last month that basically went along the lines of social media is ruining X. It got me thinking is that really true?

The first conversation was about twitter and how it is ruining conferences. The thesis was that people don’t listen to the talks as carefully because they are too busy tweeting about them. Therefore the question periods suffer from this lack of in-depth attention. Hmm.

The second conversation was about PhD student morale. Basically that thesis was that students share too much these days (like on facebook) and this over sharing leads to them feeling down about their research/chances in academia/etc. Hmmm.

Both conversations left me a little dissatisfied, although neither was really in-depth and the second was a bit tongue in cheek. But is social media ruining our academic lives? I could see some valid points raised but those arguing against the practice of social media in these contexts were not...

• ### Lessons from my PhD viva: don’t be defensive about your defense and have a biscuit close by

Citation for this post:
11 months 3 weeks ago

When you’re approaching your viva, all those who have gone before you will give you advice. And the majority of it is gold. Here’s just some of the advice I was given before my viva, and whether it helped at all:

Try to enjoy it. This was great advice, but I didn’t have the capacity to try to do anything except “think before speaking”. But as I say, fab advice. Do take it if you can!

Know that it should be challenging. It’s true. My viva was tough. Interesting, challenging, all those words people use when what they really mean is: it was hard. Hard because the questions are meant to be challenging and/or hard because you’re so stressed that even relatively easy questions seem challenging. But it was helpful to remember that finding it hard doesn’t mean you’re failing. It means you’re getting something out of the experience. It certainly helps if your examiners were lovely like mine were. There were times...

• ### Creating an academic environment hostile to sexual misconduct

via Terry McGlynn
Citation for this post:
11 months 3 weeks ago

I’d like to tell you a story about speaking out.

We are hearing more in the media from targets of sexual misconduct.

I hope we’re working towards a new environment, that when sexual misconduct happens, it’s big news because it’s both rare and widely regarded as unacceptable. We’re not there. It’s a long, long way to go.

I suspect that things are ever so slightly better than a decade ago. Extraordinarily unacceptable behavior still might be commonplace, but an extreme situation in academia now might be considered newsworthy.

A miniscule proportion of egregious cases of sexual misconduct have splashed into the media. Since February, a couple newer cases much closer to my academic fields have cropped up. In one, an entomologist who...

• ### In defence of taxon-specific conferences

via Catherine Scott
Citation for this post:
12 months 23 hours ago

I have been going to entomology meetings (including those of the Entomological Societies of Canada (ESC), British Columbia (ESBC), and Ontario (ESO)) yearly since I started studying spiders in 2010 (we don’t have an arachnological society in Canada, so for these societies spiders are welcomed as honorary insects) and I went to my first International Society of Arachnology (ISA) meeting in Colorado this past summer. I’ve met a lot of ecologists and evolutionary biologists who study insects or spiders who do not attend entomology or arachnology conferences (this may also be true for other taxa but these are the communities I am familiar with). It turns out that I am unusual among my current colleagues in that I happily self-identify as an arachnologist/entomologist as well as...

via Terry McGlynn
Citation for this post:
12 months 3 days ago

A couple truly spectacular reads have already made the rounds in social media in the last week, but in case you haven’t caught them, be sure to do so:

First, the Washington Post published a long-form piece about Derek Black, former media star of white nationalists who grew to repudiate his views. How did this happen? The free exchange of ideas and mutual respect found in higher education. If you’re looking for a defense of a liberal arts education (which can be found in potentially any university), then this might be as great as it gets.

Second, the Arizona Republic editorial staff received many death threats because they endorsed a particular...

• ### Towards better titles for academic papers: a hermeneutic approach from a blogging perspective

via Terry McGlynn
Citation for this post:
1 year 23 hours ago

I think a lot of academic article titles are pretty bad. What do I mean by bad? The title doesn’t really tell you what the paper is actually is about. It could be buried in jargon, or overselling an idea, or focuses on details that most of the intended audience won’t care about.

Does the title of a paper affect how it gets read and cited? Probably. In what way? That’s not so simple, based on my short browse of some scientometric findings.

In medical journals, the longer your title is, the more you get cited. And there also a positive effect of using a colon before a subtitle, as in the title of this post. If you’re specific about a particular country, that hurts your citation rate.

In the journal Functional Ecology, you get cited more if you don’t mention the kind of organism you’re...

• ### A student-centered academic conference

via Terry McGlynn
Citation for this post:
1 year 2 days ago

The national SACNAS conference came through LA again. SACNAS is an organization that fosters diversity in higher education and runs a huge national conference each year. The organization does other things, but the national conference is clearly a focal point.

SACNAS has been described as a “mentoring conference.” From what I’ve seen, that’s a good description. There is no shortage of actual science — from astronomy to ecology to biochemistry to other stuff — but there is not going to be a ton of science in your own speciality. The focus of the meeting is to prepare students to succeed in careers in science. Undergrads tend to give posters on their research and grad students tend to give talks. And there are a lot of panels and symposia about navigating your path over and around the may obstacles that are placed in front of minority scientists.

For students who...

• ### Studying worms – a Nobel calling

via EcoEvo@TCD from EcoEvo@TCD
Citation for this post:
1 year 3 days ago

Professor William Campbell with Professors Celia Holland (front right) and Yvonne Buckley (front left). Back row L-R Professor Holland’s parasitology research group: Dr Peter Stuart, Gwen Deslyper, Maureen Williams, Rachael Byrne and Paula Tierney

“Parasites are not generally regarded as being loveable. When we refer to people as parasites we are not being...