• Science in Practice: Highlights from the Ecological Society of Australia’s 2019 Annual Meeting

    Our newest writer Marina Schmoeller shares her thoughts on her time at the Ecological Society of Australia’s 2019 Annual Meeting, from thoughts on the place of humans and social sciences in ecology, to alternative communication and the incorporation of First nations knowledge.

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  • Can't Stand the Heat? Get Out of the Host!

    Getting a fever is never fun, but it turns out that human’s aren’t the only ones who get them, and they actually help you feel better faster.

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  • Ecotourism: What to Consider

    The concept of ecotourism has seen a massive surge in popularity over the last decade. It is defined by The International Ecotourism Society as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education.” In other words, when you’re participating in ecotourism, you should be enjoying some sort of ecological marvel, and learning something, ideally whilst not damaging local people or ecosystems. Yet this can be a lot more complicated than it sounds.

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  • What Being Functionally Extinct Means, Why Koalas Aren’t, and Why Things Are Still Pretty Dire

    There has been a lot of recent (and well deserved) press surrounding the bush fires in Australia. Because of these fires countless animal and plant life has been lost, and the most visible example of that are the koalas. You probably saw the video of a woman running into a burning area to save a koala from the fire. Unfortunately, most of the koalas didn’t have people around to save them and over 1,000 are estimated to have died. Because of this a group has claimed that koalas are now “functionally extinct”, and the press has run with this claim. While it is unfortunate that this misinformation spread so quickly and so widely, the good news is that koalas are in fact NOT functionally extinct. Great! But what does being “functionally extinct” mean? 

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  • The Modern Biologist’s Challenge: Data Management

    When you are asked to picture a biologist, chances are that many will picture someone like Jane Goodall or David Attenborough: a determined scientist wearing a zip-off pants and a pair of sturdy boots making their way through the thick vegetation of a remote Pacific island to study the intricate social behaviour of an elusive ground-dwelling mammal. Yet these days a large portion of modern biologists embark on very different journeys. Equipped with a computer full of code and mathematical models, they venture through a jungle of spreadsheets and tables filled with row upon row of data.

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  • Ecofeminism: The Essentialism Issue

    We’ve looked at a couple of issues so far that ecofeminism has faced along the way, but in my opinion this is the big one. Whilst ecofeminism’s issues with dualism and definitions frustrated many of its proponents in its infancy, ties to essentialism caused many feminists to distance themselves from the discipline itself. So what is essentialism, and why did it almost bring the movement to a grinding halt?

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Current Issues

Ecotourism: What to Consider

The concept of ecotourism has seen a massive surge in popularity over the last decade. It is defined by The International Ecotourism Society as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education.” In other words, when you’re participating in ecotourism, you should be enjoying some sort of ecological marvel, and learning something, ideally whilst not damaging local people or ecosystems. Yet this can be a lot more complicated than it sounds.

What Being Functionally Extinct Means, Why Koalas Aren’t, and Why Things Are Still Pretty Dire

There has been a lot of recent (and well deserved) press surrounding the bush fires in Australia. Because of these fires countless animal and plant life has been lost, and the most visible example of that are the koalas. You probably saw the video of a woman running into a burning area to save a koala from the fire. Unfortunately, most of the koalas didn’t have people around to save them and over 1,000 are estimated to have died. Because of this a group has claimed that koalas are now “functionally extinct”, and the press has run with this claim. While it is unfortunate that this misinformation spread so quickly and so widely, the good news is that koalas are in fact NOT functionally extinct. Great! But what does being “functionally extinct” mean? 

The Modern Biologist’s Challenge: Data Management

When you are asked to picture a biologist, chances are that many will picture someone like Jane Goodall or David Attenborough: a determined scientist wearing a zip-off pants and a pair of sturdy boots making their way through the thick vegetation of a remote Pacific island to study the intricate social behaviour of an elusive ground-dwelling mammal. Yet these days a large portion of modern biologists embark on very different journeys. Equipped with a computer full of code and mathematical models, they venture through a jungle of spreadsheets and tables filled with row upon row of data.

Ecofeminism: The Essentialism Issue

We’ve looked at a couple of issues so far that ecofeminism has faced along the way, but in my opinion this is the big one. Whilst ecofeminism’s issues with dualism and definitions frustrated many of its proponents in its infancy, ties to essentialism caused many feminists to distance themselves from the discipline itself. So what is essentialism, and why did it almost bring the movement to a grinding halt?

From the Experts

Daniella Rabaiotti: Fitting Flatulence Facts Into a PhD

A PhD can be an incredibly stressful experience for a young scientist. Time runs low, stress levels run high. Furthermore, universities often place pressure on young career researchers to publish as many journal articles as possible, despite the fact that a large number of us don’t go on into academic careers. Yet many students, through a combination of good time management, a bit of luck and a lot of hard work, manage to branch out and achieve a lot more than just journal publications. Daniella Rabaiotti was one such PhD. Her third book, Believe it or Snot, came out last month, and her books have seen Dani appear on podcast, TV and radio, and even consulted for a kid’s TV show. All this while completing her PhD on the endangered African wild dog.

Conference Reviews & Paper of the week