We’re just days aware from the British Ecological Society Annual Meeting. That means it’s time to meet our fourth Senior Editor: Bob O’Hara

What can you tell us about the first paper you published?
I got the sub-species name wrong in the first sentence of the introduction. This is why it’s good I’m not a taxonomist.

Who inspired you most as a student?
I’m not sure. I guess the writers of all those wonderful 70s Am. Nat. papers, when they did theory without the use of computers.

If you could wake up tomorrow with a new skill, what would it be?
The ability to be organised. Also hte ability to type without typos.

What’s your favourite sports team and why?
Despite being born on the wrong side of the Pennines, I as brought up to support Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

I also have a soft spot for Norwich City, who were in Europe when I was donig my PhD, and managed to beat The Mighty Bayern Munich (who were always The Mighty Bayern Munich, and never just Bayern Munich).

What’s your favourite species and why?
My inability to answer this is another reason it’s good I’m not a taxonomist. But in case Arwen, Olorin, Eric, Freyja, Galadriel or Orpheus read this, it’s definitely a parrot.

A fantastic holiday destination… apparently

If you could recommend one place for people to travel to on holiday, where would it be and why?
Charles Darwin House, to meet the natives. 

Are you a good cook? What’s your signature dish?
No. I do make a mean sour dough bread, though.

If any fictional character could join your lab, who would it be and why?
Lord Varys, to help get papers and grants accepted. Actually, he would make a good managing editor too.

Bob (and most of us if we’re honest) after having a paper rejected.

Please share a [funny] story about a paper you had rejected.
I think all of my stories about rejections involve me being grumpy. Like one phallic-sounding journal which decided that a response to one of their papers which showed that it was totally wrong “didn’t advance the subject”. They only told me this after several emails asking them to give a better explanation for the rejection.

You see. Grumpy.

How many British Ecological Society annual meetings have you attended? Which one was the best?
Err, 6 I think. But at some point the memory becomes hazy. It’s difficult to say if one or another was better. I enjoyed them all. Oh is that a fence I see over there? Hey, it’s really comfortable!

Are you attending #BES2018? If so, when is the best opportunity for people to meet you?
Before my memory gets too hazy.

Bob alternates between being a statistician, an ecologist and an evolutionary biologist. At the moment, his work is mainly looking at species distributions and improving the models for them, so that we can predict how they will shift under climate change. He also does work on community dynamics and has a continued interest in population and quantitative genetics. Most of his work in these areas is statistical, and he usually takes a Bayesian approach because he finds it too difficult to do anything else.

You can find out about our other three Senior Editors here. If you’d like to meet the other BES journals’ Senior Editors you can do so here:

Functional Ecology
Journal of Animal Ecology
Journal of Applied Ecology
Journal of Ecology
People and Nature