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.

#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.