Author Archives

Rapid Ecology

#ClimateChangedMyThesis: Mentoring students through climate change

Many graduate student ecologists will propose thesis work that contains both a lab and a significant field component. However climate change is shifting where species occur, when they occur, and if they occur, often in ways we are ill prepared to predict. How should mentors shift the advice they give their graduate students as they work to develop the fieldwork component of their research, to avoid risky and potentially impossible projects?

Diverse ecosystems require diverse ecologists

As ecologists, we study biodiversity in ecosystems. Here, we look at diversity of ecologists themselves and make recommendations on how best to recruit and retain underrepresented groups. Entering ecology and other field sciences face additional challenges due to the privileged nature of outdoor careers. We believe outreach programs designed to engage underrepresented groups at a young age as well as initiatives to promote inclusive excellence during graduate school will help increase diversity of ecologists. Contribute to the discussion using #ecologist_diversity on Twitter!

The importance of early career networks

Networks of early career researchers (ECRs) have long existed as unofficial groups, yet only within the last decade have they been widely formalised within universities, societies and other groups of researchers. Often the benefits of participating in these groups are difficult to convey to ECRs and others within the wider community, yet they are wide and numerous.

Gratitude in biology: thanking organisms & communities that enable discovery

The potential for scientific discovery is a frequent justification for biodiversity conservation. Yet we rarely acknowledge the species, conservation initiatives, and human communities that make our discoveries possible. I argue that biologists should make these links explicit in papers and other communications, and donate money or time to compensate species and human communities for their roles in discovery.

What to measure from plants in predator exclosure studies?

Insectivorous birds and bats help plants by removing herbivorous arthropods. Predator exclosures around the plants are needed to study this. What could be measured of the plants inside the exclosures and in uncaged controls? There are several possibilities that are listed in this post. There is need for more plant measurements in predator exclosure studies, especially in the natural tropical forests.

Changing the model of academic publication

The problems with academia are multifaceted. The intense competition for positions and funding rewards numbers of publications and grant dollars brought in, rather than advances in understanding. Individual researchers cannot change this state of affairs without uniting to improve the system. While many issues need to be addressed, there is one revolution that researchers can start immediately: we can change the model of academic publication.

Let’s not reintroduce species for conservation, let’s repatriate species

Recovery of imperilled species requires a diverse set of conservation strategies. One strategy, known as species reintroductions, is to release individuals to areas where they historically resided but have recently been extirpated. Here, we contend that the term repatriation should be used in lieu of reintroduction to enhance clarity when discussing conservation initiatives.

How I work

“How I Work” interviews demonstrate that there are many ways to be successful in academia and students, post-docs, and professors need to find the approach that is best for them.

Celebrating women role models in ecology

We are all influenced by researchers as we navigate the world of STEM. There are negative interactions that make us question our decision to pursue research, but it is the positive interactions and the encouragement of a few that we would like to highlight on International Women’s Day. In this post, we want to thank and celebrate some of the women in ecology that have welcomed us into this field, encouraged us to pursue careers in ecology, and guided us to success.

We should study the nutritional ecology of wild bees (to be bee friendly)

Changes in bee habitat floral composition shape the available nutritional supply in the environment. In this context, the key plant species must be present in the flora to produce pollen that is nutritionally balanced for bees. Lack of nutritionally balanced food results in limitation posed on the growth and development of bees, negatively influencing their populations. Improved understanding of impacts of taxonomically diverse floral resources on bees is needed for better understanding of pollinator decline and may result in more successful intervention strategies.