• The Enemy of My Competitor is My Friend

    This week we look at a study of species co-occurrence in spiders and how a fungal parasite may affect the relationship between the two spiders.

    Read more »
  • The Impact of Climate Change on European Forests

    As carbon emissions rise globally, finding ways to reduce emissions and store carbon are coming to the forefront of modern science. Forests are huge carbon stores thanks to the copious amount of photosynthesis they conduct. As climate change increases temperatures, trees become a very important tool in the fight against rising emissions. You might think: “So let’s go and plant trees!” Unfortunately, it’s not so easy.

    Read more »
  • Fighting Climate Change While Maintaining Biodiversity: Can It Be Done?

    We take a look at the interaction between storing carbon and biodiversity, and a paper that aims to point out worldwide regions where the two goals intersect.

    Read more »
  • Turning Students Into Scientists with Professor Vigdis Vandvik

    Teaching students what it means to be a scientists is a practice that Professor Vigdis Vandvik is a huge proponent of. I spoke with Vigdis at the recent Nordic Oikos Conference about why such an approach is important today, particularly in light of recent troubles the ecological discipline has had regarding data accountability.

    Read more »
  • Model Mis-specification: All The Ways Things Can Go Wrong…

    In ecological studies, the quality of the data we use is often a concern. However, even if we had perfect data, when we decide how to model that data, we have to make choices that may not match the reality of the scenario we are trying to understand. Model mis-specification is a generic term for when our model doesn’t match the processes which have generated the data we are trying to understand. It can lead to biased estimates of covariates and incorrect uncertainty quantification.

    Read more »
  • The Revolutionary Headache of Ancient DNA

    When species samples get destroyed, there are a lot of really important biological questions that become very difficult to answer. Thankfully, landmark leaps in technology have made it  possible to extract DNA from those specimens and store them in a public repository. Sounds like a clever and straightforward thing to do, but as always, it’s more complicated in reality.

    Read more »

Current Issues

The Impact of Climate Change on European Forests

As carbon emissions rise globally, finding ways to reduce emissions and store carbon are coming to the forefront of modern science. Forests are huge carbon stores thanks to the copious amount of photosynthesis they conduct. As climate change increases temperatures, trees become a very important tool in the fight against rising emissions. You might think: “So let’s go and plant trees!” Unfortunately, it’s not so easy.

The Revolutionary Headache of Ancient DNA

When species samples get destroyed, there are a lot of really important biological questions that become very difficult to answer. Thankfully, landmark leaps in technology have made it  possible to extract DNA from those specimens and store them in a public repository. Sounds like a clever and straightforward thing to do, but as always, it’s more complicated in reality.

Bringing Wild Mammals to the Classroom: The MammalWeb Program

There’s a certain age you hit when you just can’t name your third favourite mammal anymore. I often quietly pray that the day my kid stops asking weird questions about animal snot never comes, but I know it’s probably not far off. That eagerness to learn at a young age, especially about animals, is what ecologist Sammy Mason has managed to tap into over the last two years of her PhD.

Stats Corner & Words from the Experts

Model Mis-specification: All The Ways Things Can Go Wrong…

In ecological studies, the quality of the data we use is often a concern. However, even if we had perfect data, when we decide how to model that data, we have to make choices that may not match the reality of the scenario we are trying to understand. Model mis-specification is a generic term for when our model doesn’t match the processes which have generated the data we are trying to understand. It can lead to biased estimates of covariates and incorrect uncertainty quantification.

Environmental Responsibility in the Tourism Industry With Professor David Lusseau

There are plenty of great examples of ecotourism as a pathway for both education and conservation. Yet when an industry is driven by money first, nature second, of course there are going to be manifold examples of businesses deprioritising the natural phenomena they are associated with. At the recent Nordic Oikos Conference, at which David was a plenary speaker, we spoke about the responsibilities of tourist businesses, what role humans should play in nature in general, and whether or not ecologists have a good enough understanding of how broader society functions.

Conference Reviews & Paper of the week

The 2020 Oikos Write-Up: Ecology in the Anthropocene

My lord Iceland is gorgeous. There could not have been a better setting for the 2020 Nordic Oikos Society’s Annual Meeting. Driving through deserts of snow that ring of the kind of quiet isolation you’d expect from a town in a depressing British murder mystery was a wonderful experience. As was the conference itself, of course. So let’s recap some of my highlights from this year’s meeting, titled ‘Ecology in the Anthropocene’.