Post provided by Chloe Robinson
“A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day.” This is a quote from the International Women’s Day 2021 website, where this year, the campaign theme is #ChooseToChallenge.
International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. This year, Associate Editor Chloe Robinson has selected her top four women-led Methods in Ecology and Evolution blog posts from 2020 and highlights the author’s contributions to the MEE blog.
Post 1: How to Sample Nectar of Flowers at Height
This post was published on the MEE blog back in August 2020 and featured the application of a brand new, ground-based method for sampling flowers at height. I found this post particularly interesting to read and edit, as I had not previously considered the logistical challenges of reaching flowers which are found high above the ground, such as those on Eucalyptus trees. Working with lead author Daniela Scaccabarozzi on this post was rewarding and I particularly enjoyed engaging with the development of graphics for the post, especially the tutorial video.
Daniela currently works as a sessional academic at Curtin University (School of Molecular and Life Sciences) in Australia, and has recently published a variety of research papers, including a study on rotating arrays of orchid flowers and soil, site, and management factors affecting Cadmium concentrations in cacao-growing soils.
Post 2: Informing Disease Management Actions through Modelling
The second post I have chosen was part of the 2020 BES Black History Month feature, which aimed to acknowledge and celebrate Black ecologists. I found the post written by Dr. Samniqueka Halsey to be utterly inspirational and I was fascinated by the range of research projects Samniqueka’s computational ecology background had led her to be involved with, such as projects focussing on threatened dune thistle species, Lyme Disease and Chronic Wasting Disease. I was inspired by her drive and ambition to get to where she is today.
Samniqueka currently works as an Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri (School of Natural Resources), where she is the Primary Investigator for the Halsey Applied Computational Lab. and has recently published a number of papers, on topics including ‘What is the value of wild animal welfare for restoration ecology?’ and ‘Defuse the dilution effect debate’.
Post 3: Sharing is Caring: Working With Other People’s Data
This post is one of my favourites because it is one of the most informative blog pieces I have worked on in my nearly 2 years as an editor. Members of Team Shrub worked together to produce this post after being inspired by their lab discussions to explore the importance of careful data cleaning in open science and provide 10 best practice suggestions for working with other people’s data. The post was led by Mariana García Criado and I really enjoyed working with her to help formulate the story for the post. The information provided is very useful for all researchers using open access data and I particularly appreciated the following quote from the blog : “While admittedly open science practices are not equally accessible for all, and we are far from fully open science in ecology, we can all do our share (whatever that might be – every little bit counts) to care for a more open and inclusive science for everyone.”
Mariana currently works as PhD researcher at the University of Edinburgh (School of GeoSciences) and has recently published papers including Woody plant encroachment intensifies under climate change across tundra and savanna biomes and Status and trends in Arctic vegetation: Evidence from experimental warming and long-term monitoring.
Post 4: DNA from Bite Marks: An Amplicon Sequencing Protocol for Attacker Identification
Part of the reason I love being an editor is the opportunity to see the ‘behind the scenes’ of new studies and as an eDNA-based ecologist myself, this particular post was very exciting to work on. Based off of her recently published MEE paper, Daniela Rößler wrote this post about the application of European fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra) clay models for determining the identification of predators from bite marks using a DNA amplicon approach. The most enjoyable part of this post for me was learning about the use of clay models for understanding predator-prey relationships and the exciting prospects of applying this approach for identifying attacks in real counterparts.
Daniela currently works as a postdoctoral researcher within the Shamble Lab at Harvard University. She has recently published research papers on a range of topics, including ‘Ability makes a thief: vision, learning, and swift escape help kleptoparasitic hover wasps not to fall prey to their spider hosts’ and ‘Sole coloration as an unusual aposematic signal in a Neotropical toad’.
To access International Women’s Day events and resources, visit the IWD website here.
Read our 2020 IWD post on retaining women and girls in STEM here.