Tag Archives: academia

Running Into Awful Academics At The Movies

Image Credit: KiwiDeaPi, CC BY-SA 3.0

It’s not often we can readily identify with movie scientists. Even if you are a biologist, the image of a handsome labcoat wearing genius scribbling equations on a perspex board isn’t something that many of us see ourselves in. My own experience with science consists more of wading through spreadsheets, poring over manuscripts and generally yelling at a computer screen seen through barely concealed tears of frustration.

But every now and then I stumble across something I very much recognise in an on-screen academic. On this particular occasion, said stumble occurred during a watch of The Relic, a 1997 monster movie set in the Chicago Field Museum. It was a welcome setting, given that I wrote my PhD while working at Trondheim’s Natural History Museum, and that Chicago’s Field Museum is potentially the best museum I’ve ever visited.

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Welcome to the Jungle: Living With Your Study Species

At the start of the pandemic, working from home became essential for many of us – breaking down the physical separation of work and life and instead creating one very long day at the office. For many research groups, this meant having to make key decisions on what to do with vital animals, plants, and tissue cultures. For me, it meant over a year living with hundreds of bush crickets. Now that the summer has returned and more COVID restrictions have been lifted, the insects recently returned to our lab. Here I share some thoughts on this element of the last year, and what I have learnt about time management in academia.

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Crossing the River Between Fishers and Fish Science

"We need the next generation of scientists to be at the coalface, communicating good scientific information."

This article was first published in late 2018 (Image Credit: Mallee Catchment Management Authority, CC BY-SA 4.0, Image Cropped)

When a food source provides almost half a planet with protein, you can expect the people who deliver that food source to play an important role in society. Fishing is no exception. Any country that has a marine or freshwater ecosystem in close proximity will have a fishing community, and that community can play a variety of roles, from something as simple as putting food on people’s tables to campaigning heavily to keep your country from joining the EU.

So it makes sense that fishers should have access to good fish science, at every level. If you’re a multi-million-dollar corporation, you need to know how fish stocks will respond to certain catch levels over a sustained period. If you’re a local or specialised fishing community, you need to know how available your catch will be in five years given temperature increases. And if you’re one person on a boat in a river, you might want to know how best to treat an over- or under-sized fish to ensure it survives being released.

It follows, then, that there should be open communication between fish scientists and fishers. At this year’s Australian Society of Fish Biology conference, I asked a variety of delegates a simple question: Is there open communication?

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