Archive for February, 2016

The Evolution and Laboratory of the Technician.

The Evolution and Laboratory of the Technician.

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives, Research

First in a series of posts on life after an undergraduate degree, Alison Boyce gives an account of the life of a scientific technician. Science, engineering, and computing departments in universities employ technicians. Anyone working or studying in these areas will have dealt with a technician at some point but most will be unaware of a technician’s route into the position and their full role in education and research. Technical posts are varied e.g. laboratory, workshop, computer. Funding for technical support is afforded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) to provide assistance in undergraduate teaching. This is [&hellip

The expanding tropics 

The expanding tropics 

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

It was a spring day in April 2004 when Qiang Fu first noticed the anomoly in the data. On either side of the equator – in a belt strecthing from 15 to 45 degrees latitude – the lower atmosphere was warming more than anywhere else on the planet. Fu, a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle, was stumped.   It wasn’t until a year later that Fu realized what he had discovered: evidence of a rapid expansion of the tropics, the region that encircles Earth’s waist like a green belt. The heart of the tropics [&hellip

The up-goer five: Explaining research using the

The up-goer five: Explaining research using the “ten hundred” most used words.

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives, Research

At today’s NERD club, we tried our hand at explain our research using the up-goer five, which limited our available vocabulary to the “ten-hundred” most common words (thousand isn’t one of them). After some brief hesitation, the 9 of us present found out that despite being quite challenging, this can be an incredibly fun and useful activity when it comes to explaining our often jargon-filled research to the public. While this system is rigid, and a tad extreme with words such as “plant” and “science” unavailable, it forced us to find alternative ways of explaining what we do.   [&hellip

Spud Oddity: Did The Martian really “science the sh*t out of this”?

Spud Oddity: Did The Martian really “science the sh*t out of this”?

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives, Reviews

It’s rare to come across a sci-fi movie that isn’t loaded with technobabble or scientific terms that are used ever so incorrectly. In fact, a lot of the Hollywood blockbusters are guilty of mincing the scientific words and concepts for entertainment value: “The Day After Tomorrow”, “Armageddon”, “Lucy”, “The Core”, to name but a few. In short, Science itself has been drastically misrepresented by the Hollywood industry. Then along came Ridley Scott’s sci-fi epic “The Martian”. Based on the sci-fi novel by Andy Weir, it tells the story of astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon), who’s left stranded [&hellip

Listening to Evolutionary Oddities @TEDxUCD

Listening to Evolutionary Oddities @TEDxUCD

By EcoEvo@TCD | News, Perspectives, Research

Last December I was asked to participate in the TEDxUCD 2015 event. The event included 9 national and international speakers with a wide range of ideas worth spreading. Despite being asked to participate only two days prior to the event luckily I could draw on the wide research area encompassed in my new Post Doc position using the COMPADRE and COMADRE databases to study patterns in demography and life-history evolution in plant and animals. As I couldn’t possible fit all the ideas worth sharing from the fields of demography and life-history evolution into an eleven-minute entertainment talk [&hellip

Evading Extinction

Evading Extinction

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

It’s a sombre statistic: year on year, we lose up to 100,000 species. That’s somewhere between 0.01 and 0.1 percent of all species on the planet (we don’t know the exact rate because we don’t know exactly how many species exist; it could be 2 million or 100 million). The rate is thought to be at least 1000 times what it would be in the absence of the deforestation, poaching and pollution we are responsible for.   But despite this gloomy outlook, prospects are improving for some species that have narrowly escaped extinction. That’s partly thanks to ongoing [&hellip