An international scientific group has decried Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s recent ‘no more parks’ pledge, saying it is badly out of step with environmental reality.
“Tony Abbott has blown it with that call,” said William Laurance, a professor at James Cook University and director of ALERT, the Alliance of Leading Environmental Researchers and Thinkers.
“Australia has some of the world’s most desperately...Read the full article.
I can’t remember the details of the first scientific conference I ever went to - not even its name - but I know it was on marine conservation, in Cardiff, and that a couple of us undergrads had made the trek from Norwich with little idea what to expect. The keynote speaker was Bill Ballantine, some of whose work on Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in New Zealand I’d read as research for an essay. I remember no details of his talk, other than it adding to my general opinion of MPAs as a Good Thing; more memorable was his (grumpy, admirable) single word response - “No” - to a lengthy question from the floor.
Anyway, this came back to me recently when I saw a new paper from Ballantine, giving a 50 year New Zealand perspective on MPAs. In particular, he suggests that the struggle to convince people of the worth of MPAs elsewhere could be greatly reduced by using New Zealand’s long (and ultimately...Read the full article.
Last Friday there was a PhD defence in our department and Terry’s post about open defences in the USA got me thinking about the different cultures surrounding PhD defences. The first thing that came to mind is how different they can be, from country to country, university to university and even from department to department within universities.
A few axes in which defences can vary:
So, why so much variation?
Well clearly, some...Read the full article.
I don’t ordinarily plug individual papers in ecology journals, figuring y’all don’t need my help finding individual papers to read and deciding what you think of them. But I’m making an exception because this is important.
Writing in Trends in Ecology and Evolution, the always-thoughtful Mark Vellend reviews philosopher Donald Maier’s new book What’s So Good About Biodiversity? You should click through and read it, because the review (and by the sound of it, the book) are really sobering.
Maier reports being “stunned” that he “could not find a single argument [for the value of biodiversity] that does not have serious logical flaws, crippling qualifications, or indefensible assumptions.” And before...Read the full article.
After officially launching the Hauraki Gulf use and values survey at Seaweek this week, I was invited to come on 3 News to talk about the survey and the Sea Change - Tai Timu Tai Pari marine spatial planning process.
The Hauraki Gulf is valued by a wide range of different people for many different environmental, social, cultural and economic reasons, so we are really looking at a way for people to be able to go online and provide their own information on why they also value the...Read the full article.
Ecology is the study, which is to say the identification, description, and reporting, of patterns. Patterns are simply defined as there being something rather than nothing, which is to say something that can represented as a histogram or a scatterplot, or even just called a pattern because this helps relate it to previously described patterns.
Sub-fields of ecology are primarily defined by which types of patterns they look for. Functional ecologists are interested in traits distribution patterns. Macroecologists look for species distribution patterns. Biogeographers do that too, but they focus on slightly different patterns of species distributions. Food web ecologists looks for network structure patterns. Community ecologists are interested in niche differentiation patterns. Some ecologists, allegedly, are into the study of mechanism; this is not as un-orthodox as it seems, for what are mechanisms, if not processes giving rise to patterns? Their study is therefore, if not...Read the full article.
On the 20th and 21st of February we had our annual School of Natural Sciences Postgraduate Symposium. Over the course of two days many of our PhD students presented their work to the School. We also had two interesting plenary talks from Dr Sophie Arnaud-Haond (Ifremer) and Dr Lesley Morrell (University of Hull). Unfortunately our third speaker, Dr Fiona Jordan (University of Bristol) had to cancel due to illness.
For those of you who are interested in exactly what we work on...Read the full article.
Unlike their cousins the emperor penguin, and despite what most people expect, Adélie penguins do not nest on the ice. In fact, they need ice-free areas of gravel to breed on over the summer months. This is largely because they build nests of small stones in which to lay their eggs. Stones are a valuable resource in a penguin colony and it’s not uncommon to see birds stealing stones from their neighbour’s nest when they think no one is looking. This stealing behaviour means that the nests are often very evenly-spaced, at a distance that is slightly beyond the reach of the neighbour.
...Read the full article.