International LGBTQ+ STEM Day 2020: Promoting Visibility of LGBTQ+ People in STEM

Post provided by Chloe Robinson

Picture credit: Chloe Robinson.

November 18th, 2020 marks International LGBTQ+ STEM Day, which aims to celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer + (LGBTQ, “+”= plus other sexes, gender identities, and sexual orientations) people in all different STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. This specific date is symbolic of the 60th anniversary of American astronomer and gay activist Frank Kameny’s US Supreme Court fight against workplace discrimination, a fight that continues today in many countries worldwide. To mark this day, Associate and Blog Editor, Dr. Chloe Robinson, who is openly lesbian, has put together a blog post, with contributions from other LGBTQ+-identifying MEE Associate Editors, to discuss the current state of LGBTQ+ visibility in STEM.

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Reliably Predicting Pollinator Abundance with Process-Based Ecological Models

Post provided by Emma Gardner and Tom Breeze

Bumblebee. Picture credit: Tom Breeze.

Pollination underpins >£600 million of British crop production and wild insects provide a substantial contribution to the productivity of many crops. There is mounting evidence that our wild pollinators are struggling and that pollinator populations may be declining. Reliably modelling pollinator populations is important to target conservation efforts and to identify areas at risk of pollination service deficits. In our study, ‘Reliably predicting pollinator abundance: Challenges of calibrating process-based ecological models’, we aimed to develop the first fully validated pollinator model, capable of reliably predicting pollinator abundance across Great Britain.

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10th Anniversary Volume 4: Open population capture–recapture models with age structure and heterogeneity

Post provided by Eleni Matechou

To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the launch of Methods in Ecology and Evolution, we are highlighting an article from each volume to feature on the Methods.blog. For Volume 4, we have selected ‘Estimating age‐specific survival when age is unknown: open population capture–recapture models with age structure and heterogeneity’ by Matechou et al. (2013). In this post, the authors discuss the background and key concepts of the article, and changes in the field that have happened since the paper was published seven years ago.

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Squeezing the Lemon: Getting the Most from a Simple Acoustic Recogniser

Post provided by Nick Leseberg

Night parrot (Photo credit: Nick Leseberg).

Presenting the new MEE articleUsing intrinsic and contextual information associated with automated signal detections to improve call recognizer performance: A case study using the cryptic and critically endangered Night Parrot Pezoporus occidentalis, Nick Leseberg shares the methods behind the hunt for the elusive night parrot.

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Halloween Special: The Ghosts and Guests of Academia

Post provided by Chloe Robinson

This Halloween, our Blog and Associate Editor Chloe Robinson explains the meaning of ghost and guest authorship, and speaking from her own experiences, the harm they cause to Early Career Researchers

From a young age, we grow up understanding that authors are people that have conceived and written something, most often a book. They do the required background research, thoughtfully lay out the plot and physically complete the main task that makes a book a book – the writing. Sure, they may have editors, cover producers, social media gurus, etc. to help make their book a success, but their name is the one on the front.

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Dr. Samniqueka Halsey: Informing Disease Management Actions through Modelling

Post provided by Samniqueka Halsey

Black History Month is a UK-wide celebration that takes place every October, acknowledging and raising awareness of the contribution that Black African and Caribbean communities have made in Britain and across the globe. We are excited to promote and profile the work of Black ecologists and evolutionary biologists across the British Ecological Society blogs.

Dr. Halsey in the field measuring dune thistles.

My name is Dr. Samniqueka Halsey, and I am a computational ecologist. I use modelling and statistics to answer questions about the way the world works. In particular, I try to inform management actions about disease emergence and conservation with my models. I have worked on projects regarding Lyme disease, Chronic Wasting Disease and a dune thistle that is threatened by habitat fragmentation. I realized that I genuinely wanted to become an ecologist starting in my junior year of college when I took an ecology course. This class exposed me to the joys of fieldwork, going outside, and collecting data. Combined with a few more courses such as aquatic ecology where I could go out to streams and lakes to collect water samples and then go back to the lab to analyze, it was fascinating. I was even able to be a field technician in Arizona, where I helped to trap prairie dogs to collect blood and ectoparasites to test for the plague.

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10th Anniversary Volume 5: Extracting Signals of Change from Noisy Ecological Data

Post provided by Nick J. B. Isaac

To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the launch of Methods in Ecology and Evolution, we are highlighting an article from each volume to feature in the Methods.blog.

For Volume 5, we have selected ‘Statistics for citizen science: extracting signals of change from noisy ecological data’ by Isaac et al. (2014).  In this post, the authors discuss the background and key concepts of the article, and the application of the article for assessing biodiversity occurrence datasets.

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Sharing is Caring: Working With Other People’s Data

Post provided by Mariana García Criado, Isla Myers-Smith, Lander Baeten, Andrew Cunliffe, Gergana Daskalova, Elise Gallois and Jeffrey Kerby

 

The Team Shrub research group in 2017 on Qikiqtaruk – Herschel Island in the Canadian Arctic. Not only do Team Shrub work with other people’s data, we collect our own to share publicly following open science best practice. (Photo credit: Sandra Angers-Blondin, www.teamshrub.com).

Team Shrub (www.teamshrub.com), are ecologists working to understand how global change alters plant communities and ecosystem processes. In May 2020, Team Shrub held a lab meeting to discuss working with other people’s data. Inspired by the conversation, they decided to put a blog post together to explore the importance of careful data cleaning in open science, provide 10 best practice suggestions for working with other people’s data, and discuss ways forward towards more reproducible science. 

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How to Sample Nectar of Flowers at Height

Post provided by Daniela Scaccabarozzi, Tristan Campbell and Kenneth Dods.

Daniela Scaccabarozzi, Tristan Campbell and Kenneth Dods tell us about the logistical challenges of sampling flowers at height and their new ground-based method for overcoming these problems.

Operational maneuvers while using the practical ground-based tool for nectar collection, prior to placing the organza bag over the inflorescence. Picture credit: Tristan Campbell.

Sampling flower nectar from forest canopies is logistically challenging, as it requires physical access to the canopy at a height greater than can be achieved by hand. The most common solutions comprise the use of cherry pickers, cranes or tree climbers, however these techniques are generally expensive, complex to organise, and often involve additional safety risk assessment and specialised technicians.

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In the Spotlight: Wife-Wife Ecologists

Post provided by Chloe and Jessica Robinson

 

For LGBTQ+ Pride month, we are inviting LGBTQ+-identifying ecologists and evolutionary biologists to share their experiences of being LGBTQ+ in their field and present their thoughts on how the STEM can improve lives for LGBTQ+ individuals. For this post, wife-wife team Chloe and Jessica Robinson from Centre for Biodiversity Genomics at the University of Guelph, share their experiences of being married ecologists in STEM.

Jessica (left) and Chloe Robinson (right) met whilst studying at Swansea University.

C: “Find a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” is a quote many of us are familiar with and it is something I have always strived to achieve. In my experience, by adding “Find a job you love & someone who shares your passion and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” to this quote gives the recipe for a happy marriage also. That ‘someone’ for me is my wife, Jessica.

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