Category: Communication

Challenging the extractive paradigm in field work: suggestions from a case study in community engagement

The paradigm in fieldwork of travelling to remote locations, extracting data, and leaving to publish findings without engaging with local communities – particularly Indigenous ones – must be challenged. As students on a long term research project, we distributed a survey to better understand what local people wanted from us. Community engagement needs to be more than purely research-focused initiatives, and engagement with Indigenous peoples can require specific and separate efforts.

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.

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.

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.

Our environment reflects our policies

As scientists contemplate our role in communicating science to policy makers, we often forget the myriad ways that policy impacts our science and the systems we study. Every field site, ecosystem, and landscape in which we work reflects the legacy of international treaties, national and state laws, and land use programs. Our discussions regarding whether and how we engage in the policy process should reflect an awareness of the many ways that these policies drive what we see and do every day in our research.