• Jokes in Journals: Humour and Engagement in SciComm

    Communicating the importance of restoring biodiversity and fighting against climate change is particularly crucial in a world where facts can be so easily distorted. Misinformation and fake news can be easily spread through social media and other online outlets, but the same outlets could also provide effective means of communication for scientific research. However there’s still a lot of work to be done figuring out how to use these new tools, and today’s paper looks at some of the pitfalls involved.

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  • A Wild Reminder of the Need for Journal Flexibility Appeared!

    A few months ago I was asked to review a wildly entertaining paper, which used Pokemon as a framing device. Naturally I was enthralled. Yet I quickly became torn at the prospect of reviewing it.

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  • The Elusive Climax

    Somewhere in my education, I distinctly remember a video that explained ecosystem succession moving towards a climax condition. The film depicted the gradual filling of a lake and subsequent encroachment of saplings as the system aged towards its inevitable end as a hardwood forest in the eastern United States. I remember thinking even then, “but where do lakes come from?” I couldn’t work out how there could be a mosaic of habitats if there was a steady progression towards a single endpoint.

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  • The Secret Biology of the Easter Bunny

    Having an 8-year old when Christmas, Easter, or a lost tooth rolls around can be a tricky thing. You obviously don’t want to ruin the magic of these childhood landmarks, but at a certain point it kind of feels like you’re lying to them. Luckily I enjoy a bit of speculative ecology, so here’s my poorly thought-out version of the Easter bunny, or Pasquelatis lagomorphus.

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  • Investigating the Invader-Pollinator Paradox

    This week’s paper looks at the invader-pollinator paradox. If invasive plants hurt native pollinator populations, where do they get their pollination from?

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  • Skull Island Biology: The Science Behind Kong’s Home

    With the latest incarnation of King Kong hitting the big (and small) screen again this week, I’m naturally getting a bit excited. Obviously I’m keen to see Godzilla romping around

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  • The Numbers Game of Species Conservation

    When talking about species conservation, my concern is always around how many individuals should there be in a population of species. What should be our numeric goal in re-establishing a species? Should the endangered anoa become as many as their domestic relative, the water buffalo, of which there are at least 3 million individuals in Indonesia? How about the songbirds? Should each species be as abundant as the chicken?

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Current Issues

The Elusive Climax

Somewhere in my education, I distinctly remember a video that explained ecosystem succession moving towards a climax condition. The film depicted the gradual filling of a lake and subsequent encroachment of saplings as the system aged towards its inevitable end as a hardwood forest in the eastern United States. I remember thinking even then, “but where do lakes come from?” I couldn’t work out how there could be a mosaic of habitats if there was a steady progression towards a single endpoint.

The Secret Biology of the Easter Bunny

Having an 8-year old when Christmas, Easter, or a lost tooth rolls around can be a tricky thing. You obviously don’t want to ruin the magic of these childhood landmarks, but at a certain point it kind of feels like you’re lying to them. Luckily I enjoy a bit of speculative ecology, so here’s my poorly thought-out version of the Easter bunny, or Pasquelatis lagomorphus.

The Numbers Game of Species Conservation

When talking about species conservation, my concern is always around how many individuals should there be in a population of species. What should be our numeric goal in re-establishing a species? Should the endangered anoa become as many as their domestic relative, the water buffalo, of which there are at least 3 million individuals in Indonesia? How about the songbirds? Should each species be as abundant as the chicken?

Of Foxes And Wolves, or, The Lady Who Threw Her Dog In A Bin

Many parliamentary debates in Norway cover ground that is familiar to other countries; climate change, the economy, pandemic responses. Yet I’m happy to say there’s one issue that is more unique to this part of the world: what to do with all these wolves. And this last week provided an entertaining yet ultimately sad microcosm of Norway’s wolf debate, reaching its peak with a dog in a bin.

Stats Corner & Words from the Experts

“Those Things Are Evil”: Prediction Intervals in Mixed Models

Suppose we study salamanders and want to predict body mass based on their body length. We also want to account for the different conditions at each site we’ve collected our salamanders from. We fit a linear model with a random effect for site as we only have samples from a subset of sites. But when we’re trying to use that model to make some predictions about other salamanders, things get tricky…

Conference Reviews & Paper of the week

Jokes in Journals: Humour and Engagement in SciComm

Communicating the importance of restoring biodiversity and fighting against climate change is particularly crucial in a world where facts can be so easily distorted. Misinformation and fake news can be easily spread through social media and other online outlets, but the same outlets could also provide effective means of communication for scientific research. However there’s still a lot of work to be done figuring out how to use these new tools, and today’s paper looks at some of the pitfalls involved.