Archive for March, 2014

Presentation tips: how to create and deliver an effective talk

Presentation tips: how to create and deliver an effective talk

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

Off the back of our recent Postgraduate Symposium, I thought it would be useful to summarise some of the advice and criticism we received afterwards. These points are a mix of the feedback from our invited speakers, academic staff and fellow postgraduate students, as well as some of my own observations and preferences. While the majority of the information below is common knowledge and most people do their best to give a good talk, the reality is that there is no such thing as a perfect talk and there will always be room for improvement; that’s fine! [&hellip

Echolocating Tenrecs

Echolocating Tenrecs

By EcoEvo@TCD | Research

I’m going to Madagascar tomorrow. I have all the essentials; insect repellent, tent, flat pack wooden box, bat detector, three metres of blackout curtain material… Not the most usual of packing lists admittedly but all necessary items for the trip ahead. I’m going to study tenrecs; cute mammals which are the subject of my PhD. I’m interested in convergent evolution between tenrecs and other small mammals. So far I’ve been focusing on morphological convergence – work which has involved trips to beautiful museums and taming the dark arts of morphometrics. The primary aim of my research is [&hellip

Pity the Poor Pangolin

Pity the Poor Pangolin

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

The pangolin is one of those lesser-known animals, at least in the West, most commonly seen as slightly dusty museum specimens (there’s one in our own zoology museum).  Yet across their native lands they’re well known and very popular. Unfortunately this popularity is as food and traditional medicine. Indeed, recently the IUCN released a report saying, of the Chinese pangolin, “they are more than likely the most traded wild mammals globally”. This statement came following the first international conference on the conservation of pangolins, held by the IUCN. There is a very real fear that the Chinese [&hellip

The Great Escapes

The Great Escapes

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

I was looking through some of my photos from volunteering in Namibia which reminded me of Houdini, the incorrigible baboon, who, no matter the precautions and security, would frequently turn up inside one of the guest’s houses rifling through their suitcases. This made me think it’d be fun to have a look at some of the most dangerous, daring and seemingly impossible animal escapes from zoos and aquariums over the years. So many stories came up but these are my favourites: Fu Manchu This orangutan, a former resident of the Omaha zoo in the 1960s, was very often found peacefully reclining in [&hellip

Island of Saints and Snakes?

Island of Saints and Snakes?

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

Pubs, parades, shamrocks and snakes – an interesting mix of descriptors for any national holiday. Our patron saint of cultural identity (i.e. unashamed marketing of the Irish brand) was an affable fellow who, along with a historically proven love of Guinness and marching bands, is attributed with ridding our shores of serpentine beings. However, we give him more credit than he deserves. As far as we know, Ireland never had any snakes. The reptiles couldn’t have survived during the last Ice Age. When the big freeze ended around 10,000 years ago it seems that snakes didn’t manage [&hellip

What’s it like to study Zoology?

What’s it like to study Zoology?

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

Tell someone on the street that you study Zoology and you can pretty much guarantee what their follow up question will be; “so you want to work in the zoo?” Well not quite. Of course some zoology graduates conform to the general stereotypes; the zookeepers, conservation managers and wildlife handlers who keep the rest of us supplied with a steady stream of tales of adventurous exploits and envy-inducing pictures on Facebook. But that is only one side of what you can do as a zoologist. It’s not all about frolicking with cute animals. There’s a healthy dose [&hellip

Rewilding

Rewilding

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

Rewilding is the mass restoration of ecosystems by reintroducing (often long) lost animal and plant species which are then left to develop without human interference. It’s a topic explored by journalist George Monbiot in his latest book, Feral [1]. Monbiot captures the controversy surrounding rewilding with typical understatement, “Reintroducing elephants to Europe would first require a certain amount of public persuasion.” And “The clamour for the lion’s reintroduction to Britain, has, so far, been muted.” So why should we do it? He argues, and I agree, that people would value a biologically rich world over the desolate sheep-scapes that are common to the [&hellip

How to write press releases

How to write press releases

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

Consider this scenario. You’ve recently published a new academic paper. It’s effectively your baby. The months or years of experiments, analysis, frustration, toil and troubles are now distilled into a stellar research article which, in your opinion at least, changes the face of science as we know it. Great! Now you need to get the word out beyond the Ivory Tower of academia and journal articles. Time to brush up on your public relations and communications skills. Press releases are important tools for communicating scientific findings and informing the public about the importance of scientific research. From a researcher’s point of view [&hellip

School of Natural Sciences Postgraduate Symposium 2014: Part 4/4

School of Natural Sciences Postgraduate Symposium 2014: Part 4/4

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! Ruby Prickett*: Geographical, ecological [&hellip

School of Natural Sciences Postgraduate Symposium 2014: Part 3/4

School of Natural Sciences Postgraduate Symposium 2014: Part 3/4

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! Brian Murphy: The biocontrol [&hellip