Archive for February, 2014

Gould Mine

Gould Mine

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

The career of Stephen Jay Gould eludes easy definition because of his prolific output in so many areas. Michael Shermer characterises him as a historian of science and scientific historian, popular scientist and scientific populariser. The popular science writings of Stephen Jay Gould (20 of his 22 books and hundreds of articles) are responsible for making me want to study macroevolution. He said of his popular essays that they were intended “for professionals and lay readers alike”. We have already covered some aspects of science communication, like how to do it and which kind of scientists should engage in it. Gould wrote 479 [&hellip

School of Natural Sciences Postgraduate Symposium 2014: Part2/4

School of Natural Sciences Postgraduate Symposium 2014: Part2/4

By EcoEvo@TCD | Research, Seminars

On the 20th and 21st of February we had our annual School of Natural Sciences Postgraduate Symposium. Over the course of two days many of our PhD students presented their work to the School. We also had two interesting plenary talks from Dr Sophie Arnaud-Haond (Ifremer) and Dr Lesley Morrell (University of Hull). Unfortunately our third speaker, Dr Fiona Jordan (University of Bristol) had to cancel due to illness. For those of you who are interested in exactly what we work on here at EcoEvo@TCD, here are the abstracts from the PhD student presentations. Check out the TCD website for more details! Aoife Delaney: Eco-hydrology of [&hellip

School of Natural Sciences Postgraduate Symposium 2014: Part1/4

School of Natural Sciences Postgraduate Symposium 2014: Part1/4

By EcoEvo@TCD | Research, Seminars

On the 20th and 21st of February we had our annual School of Natural Sciences Postgraduate Symposium. Over the course of two days many of our PhD students presented their work to the School. We also had two interesting plenary talks from Dr Sophie Arnaud-Haond (Ifremer) and Dr Lesley Morrell (University of Hull). Unfortunately our third speaker, Dr Fiona Jordan (University of Bristol) had to cancel due to illness. For those of you who are interested in exactly what we work on here at EcoEvo@TCD, here are the abstracts from the PhD student presentations. Check out the TCD website for more details! [&hellip

Killing in the Name of Science – Dying for Conservation

Killing in the Name of Science – Dying for Conservation

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

Conservation. Noun. From the Latin verb conservare, to protect from harm or destruction. Dallas safari club auctions off permit to hunt rare rhino. Giraffe unsuitable for breeding killed at Copenhagen zoo . Six Lions at Longleat safari park destroyed due to excessive population increases. What on earth is going on? These stories have gone around the world and caused almost unanimous outrage. This is not surprising. The disparity between the ideals of conservation and the sometimes tricky real-world dilemmas that occur can cause consternation and indignation to many. Given my previous posts you won’t be surprised to [&hellip

Systematic Reviews

Systematic Reviews

By EcoEvo@TCD | Research

Before I came to TCD, I spent my last six months at Lancaster University working with Dr Georgina Key on a systematic review of methods to make agricultural soils more resilient to threats like climate change, and erosion. What is a systematic review I hear you cry? Allow me to elaborate, and share some of our experiences from doing something slightly different. A systematic review draws together and summarises the available scientific literature surrounding a particular topic or method. The Cochrane Collaboration, which produces systematic reviews in medicine and healthcare, defines such reviews as “a systematic, up-to-date summary [&hellip

3D dinosaurs are bringing down the Ivory Tower

3D dinosaurs are bringing down the Ivory Tower

By EcoEvo@TCD | Reviews

Adam raised the point of science communication in his last blog post of how science should be communicated to a mainly interested and receptive public. The main question when thinking about science communication is “how should we do it?” However a second question, arising from this one would be “who should do it?” I believe having an interest in popular science is the first step for starting a career as a scientist. Personally, I was influenced by Jurassic Park, which gave me the idea that in a distant future I would (could) become a paleontologist. I believe [&hellip

A review of the ecology of the common zombie

A review of the ecology of the common zombie

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

Abstract In recent years fear of the zombie apocalypse has been an increasingly important subject in public media. Cinema, television, novels, both graphic and written, as well as computer games cover this subject more and more frequently. Public awareness of zombies has reached an historic height. However, within the scientific community this topic has rarely been investigated at all. The aim of this review is to summarise present day knowledge on zombies and assess its suitability in a possible encounter. Generally, there is not much consensus regarding the nature of the common zombie, however a few traits seem to be found throughout [&hellip

Seminar Series: Nathalie Pettorelli, Institute of Zoology, London

Seminar Series: Nathalie Pettorelli, Institute of Zoology, London

By EcoEvo@TCD | Seminars

Part of our series of posts by final-year undergraduate students for their Research Comprehension module. Students write blogs inspired by guest lecturers in our Evolutionary Biology and Ecology seminar series in the School of Natural Sciences. This week, views from Sharon Matthews and Sinead Barrett on Nathalie Pettorelli’s seminar, “Monitoring biodiversity from space: a wealth of opportunities”. Space, the final frontier for ecology? Okay, you got me.  I am a trekkie who is fanatical about anything space related. So when I saw that this week’s seminar was to do with conservation biology from space, I was hooked!  Dr. Nathalie Pettorelli [&hellip

The Heat and Light of Science Communication

The Heat and Light of Science Communication

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

The recent debate between Bill Nye, the Science Guy and Ken Ham, the Young Earth Creationist got me thinking about our methods of science communication such was the controversy it generated. There is value in communicating science to the lay public when our society is so deeply ramified by its discoveries, its ideas and its risks. And sometimes it’s easy to do so. For instance, there are people who find certain areas of research fascinating but may not have the expertise or money to read journal articles. This ‘gee whiz ‘cohort is actively interested in learning about the next big thing [&hellip

Please consider this a polite spanking

Please consider this a polite spanking

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

The recent hilarious #SixWordPeerReview hashtag on Twitter got me thinking about the first ever review I got for my first ever paper (thanks @Phalaropus for the reminder!). I thought I’d share it here (and if you want to see if you agree with the reviewer, the paper was eventually published in Global Ecology and Biogeography: Cooper et al 2008). As a bit of background, I collected lots of data during my Masters project on life history traits of amphibians and then looked at macroecological correlates of clutch size, body size and geographical range size, and also at how these variables correlated with IUCN Red [&hellip