Archive for October, 2014

Science in a Box

Science in a Box

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

“Where did dinosaurs come from?” “How are black holes created?” “How big is the Universe?” “If we use mud wraps for our skin, why can’t we use mud as shampoo for our hair?!” These are just some of the interesting (and very diverse) questions I’ve received from enthusiastic primary school students over the past couple of weeks. They’re testimony to the curiosity and imagination that’s unleased when you encourage children to think about science. I’m a co-teacher for the new “Science in a Box” scheme: a pilot programme for a new way of teaching science in primary [&hellip

Still still life

Still still life

By EcoEvo@TCD | News

Our photography competition is still open to entries (deadline 10th November). Submit one photograph to the album here. Log in with the username ecoevoblog and password which is the same. Remember, don’t give it a name that will reveal the photographer so as to avoid bias. Good luck! Author: Adam Kane, kanead[at]tcd.ie, @P1zPalu Photo credit: wikimedia commons

Say

Say “the rise of the age of mammals” again, I double dare you!

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives, Research

In biology and among biologists, we like to use terms that we know are not correct but that still come in handy when you’re confident that your interlocutor understands them the way you do. I’m thinking of terms such as “key adaptations”, “living fossils”, etc… However, among them, there is one that particularly bugs me and makes me feel like Samuel L. Jackson in the iconic Pulp Fiction scene and that is: “the rise of the age of mammals”.   Recently, Barry Lovegrove and his students published a nice data driven paper in Proceedings of the Royal [&hellip

Bird Feeders

Bird Feeders

By EcoEvo@TCD | Research

It’s coming up to winter so people will be conscious that our garden birds need a helping hand to get through the cold months. Bird feeders will be stocked, bread served up and water dished out. In the UK alone, almost half of households provide supplementary food for birds throughout the year. And although songbirds are usually the species that come to mind when we think of provisioning food the same principle can apply to more exotic birds, notably vultures. Indeed conservationists have supplied extra food to these scavengers for decades. Instead of bread or berries, a [&hellip

Are you Shutting Up and Writing?

Are you Shutting Up and Writing?

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

Inspired by the awesome blog, the Thesis Whisperer and under the constant reminder that we must publish or perish, post docs from the School of Natural Sciences have been meeting on a weekly basis, on and off for the past year to sit down, shut up and write. Here is a bit of background on the Shut Up and Write ‘movement’, a little bit of what we’ve learned along the way and a big invite to any post grads, post docs and PIs in TCD’s School of Natural Sciences to come along and join us. One of [&hellip

Nature jargon

Nature jargon

By EcoEvo@TCD | Uncategorized

At a recent meeting on “Natural Capital”, Jo Pike from the World Forum on Natural Capital drew our attention to a “sustainability jargon buster” that they developed last year. Jo has a background in communications and highlighted an important point: if we are to conserve and sustainably exploit the environment, we need a common language. Ecologists can’t always agree on terminology amongst themselves but when we try to talk to economists and businesses to try and convince them of the value of the natural resources, conversations and actions can be frustrated by jargon and our opposing academic [&hellip

A tern-up for the books

A tern-up for the books

By EcoEvo@TCD | Research

The last two years have seen successive record breeding seasons for Little Terns (Sternula albifrons) on the Irish east coast, with over 350 pairs breeding in 2013 and over 400 pairs in 2014. These record years are the result of 30 years of dedicated efforts to rescue Little Terns as an Irish breeding species, after population collapses in the 1980s and 1990s. As part of the BirdWatch Ireland team involved in these two exceptional years, we reflect on the conservation success story which has led to this remarkable tern-around in fortunes. The Little Tern is Ireland’s second [&hellip

Demonstrating: getting the most out of undergraduate teaching

Demonstrating: getting the most out of undergraduate teaching

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

One of the benefits of doing research in an academic institution is the opportunity to interact with undergraduate students. Students benefit from being taught by leading researchers while staff have the opportunity to inspire the next generation of scientists. Practical lab classes are usually a focal point of this direct interaction between student and researcher. However, due to the logistics and practicalities of managing large class sizes, PhD students are playing an increasingly important role as teaching assistants or lab demonstrators. In one of our recent NERD club sessions, Jane Stout led an interesting discussion about the [&hellip

PhD – Positive, Happy, Developments

PhD – Positive, Happy, Developments

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

When wrong is right part 2 This post follows on directly from my previous discussion of my PhD going wrong. As a brief summary of the previous episode: I ran time consuming simulations that took me around 6 month to design and another 6 months to run. The simulation failed in the end because of a bug in some of the software I was using. Therefore, I had to run them all over again!  That took me one day (at least to relaunch it, the simulations are actually still running). In this post I’d like to focus [&hellip

Still Life

Still Life

By EcoEvo@TCD | News

I thought it would be a nice idea to have the occasional photography contest on the blog. So starting today and running until Monday 10th November anyone can submit one photograph to this album here. Just log in with username ecoevoblog and password is the same. Don’t make it obvious that it’s your image in case it biases the judge. The theme for this month will be ‘Changing Seasons’. Prizes will be determined in due course. I just want to say good luck. We’re all counting on you. Author: Adam Kane, kanead[at]tcd.ie, @P1zPalu Photo credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autumn