Image Credit: Hannes Grobe, CC BY-SA 2.5, Image Cropped
Last month I found myself in the middle of Norway’s Dovre mountains. It’s a gorgeous region, with picturesque landscape stretching out well beyond the limits of human vision, which applies to a lot of Norway in all honesty. My family chose Dovre as our stopover though, because it’s the home of the musk ox.
The Burmese python, which has spread throughout the Everglades in Florida as a result of accidental or intentional releases by pet owners (Image Credit: US NInvaders, Aliens, and tational Park Service, Public Domain Mark 1.0, Image Cropped)
Language is important. It’s a lesson many biological scientists would have learned a long time ago if we hadn’t kept social sciences at such a wary arm’s length. Ecologists have a tendency to label and relabel ecological concepts (anyone up for a debate about the word ‘niche’?), species and even global phenomena (think global warming vs. climate change) based on anything from shifts in public perception to new findings that challenge our earlier labels.