Highly intelligent students, staff, and their bright children

This post is jointly written by a postdoc in ecology/evolution, and a PhD student in education sciences. Our backgrounds may be very different, but we share the interest in changing the learning culture at university, which currently leaves some of the brightest minds behind. To explain what we mean by that, we would like to take you on a personal journey about our own struggles and how they shaped our views on the higher education system.

Personal tipping points

“Perhaps because I visited these forests and was struck by their uniqueness (such as the remnant Nothofagus forest) and vibrant life, I felt the recent massive destruction as a mental and even physical stress.”

Aggregating Asian demographic data hinders diversity initiatives

Why does being considered Asian or Asian American matter in STEM fields? How do these categorizations impact ecologists that identify as Asian or Asian American? In this post, we discuss our journeys as Asian American ecologists. Additionally, we present evidence and argue that disaggregating demographic data for Asian Americans is essential for increasing diversity in STEM fields, with specific regard to ecology.

Big data also need big concepts

In biology, data on species abundance, diversity and traits are made openly available in big biodiversity databases: big data. Here, I highlight some problems that big data approaches can have, which is particularly worrying if analysis outcomes are used to inform (inter)national policies on conservation strategies.*

The color purple, and the feeding ecology of a snail

Tyrian purple is a unique dye, which comes from the snail Hexaplex trunculus. Thousands of years ago, so many snails were harvested that the shells left behind forever changed the landscape of many Mediterranean cities. These middens, mounds of shell remains reflect the demand of ancient royalty for something as simple as the color purple. By pairing archeological studies of middens with modern experiments, the feeding patterns of H. trunculus can be revealed.