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The nine kinds of peer reviewers

I can't possibly comment on how true this is. HT Jarrett Byrnes

Advice: the 'snake fight' portion of your thesis defense

It's the time of year when many graduate students defend their dissertations. Many students are anxious about the defense, especially the part where they have to fight a snake. Here is a FAQ that addresses common concerns about the 'snake fight' portion of your...

Ecologist interview: Colin Kremer

Sarcozona's last (?) ESA interview is up. She chats with Colin Kremer , a grad student in the Klausmeier-Litchman lab at Michigan State. It's an audiofile, and well worth a listen. It's wide-ranging, touching on everything from why the ESA meeting is awesome (which it...

From the archives: What's your best paper?

A while back I did a post talking about what I think is my best paper, and inviting readers to share their stories of their best papers. I thought it would attract a bazillion comments, but the only response was from an old friend of mine. But since so many of you were...

Why do experiments? (UPDATEDx2)

As a complement to the previous post on "why do mathematical modeling", I thought it would be fun to compile a list of all the reasons why one might conduct an experiment. But I am lazy* (though not as lazy as this man ), and so rather than compiling my own list I'll...

Why do mathematical modeling?

Over at Just Simple Enough, Amy Hurford compiles an interesting (and comprehensive?) list of all the reasons why one might do mathematical modeling. Too many people think the only reason for scientists to do modeling is "to make predictions"; this list is a useful...

A note on comment moderation

One of the things I'm proudest of about the Oikos Blog so far is the quality of our comments section. Our community comprises a relatively small number of regular commenters (many of whom are folks with blogs of their own), and a larger number of folks who comment less...

Where do Oikos blog readers come from?

WordPress has started providing country-by-country data on where our (non-syndicated) page views come from. Here are of the data, which only cover the last few days: We've had views from 89 countries in just the past few days! Top 10 countries: USA (2506 views), Canada...

Carnival of Evolution #45

Your monthly compendium of evolutionary writing is here . Includes my discussion of how to use a children's card game to teach the concept of random drift (which I refer to, somewhat imprecisely, as "neutral drift", but I have another post making clear that "neutral"...

What were you, or what were you going to be, before you became an ecologist?

So, when you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up? Was the answer always "ecologist"? I doubt it, unless one of your parents was an ecologist. So, if not an ecologist, what did you want to be? I wanted to be a paleontologist, until I found out that "...

Poll: have you ever eaten your study organism? (UPDATED)

You're encouraged to explain your answer in the comments. [polldaddy poll=6009038] UPDATE: Who'd have thought that almost half of you study delicious species? Lobster? Rainbow trout? Carrots? It's as if you chose your PhD supervisors on an empty stomach. And hardly any...

Craziest thing you've ever done for science?

So, just to keep y'all entertained as I continue cranking away on other tasks: what's the craziest (or oddest, or most grueling, or etc.) thing you've ever done for science? Answer in the comments. I write a lot about theory on this blog. This post is really for all...

From the archives: the story of my first publication

I'm currently writing a big grant application on stochastic population dynamics. So now seems a good time to point readers towards this old post of mine, which explains how that was the subject of my very first publication, although I didn't realize it at the time.

From the archives: Are there inherently complex ecological phenomena?

Another favorite from the archives , in which I explain why community assembly is like a chess endgame--and why sometimes neither can be comprehended by human beings.

"Blind tastings" for scientific papers?

Revisiting my old humorous post on why my papers are like fine wine got me thinking about wine tastings. Wine tastings are often done blind so that the tasters aren't biased by knowing what they're drinking. As psychologists have shown time and again, if people think...

From the archives: why my papers are like fine wine

An old humorous post , which actually has a semi-serious point to do with the use of citation metrics to evaluate scientific papers and authors. If you believe in bandwagons , then you should believe that sometimes being well-cited is a bad thing (because it just...

Apologies for technical glitch

Sorry about the technical glitch just now, which resulted in the last post being published nine times. Wordpress provides various buttons on its various screens that one can click to write a new post. For the last post, I used a new button that Wordpress recently added...

From the archives: all the reasons why coexisting species should be similar rather than different

No time for any substantive posts for a little while, as I'm swamped with grant writing and teaching. So here's one of my favorite posts from the archives. It's about all the reasons why coexisting species should be similar to one another rather than (or in addition to...

Dave Vasseur and I are seeking a postdoc applicant (UPDATED - now filled)

UPDATE FEB. 29: Dave and I have lined someone up for this. Thanks to everyone who expressed an interest. Dave Vasseur and I are preparing a big grant application to look at the effects of demographic and environmental stochasticity on spatial population dynamics (...

More on changing your mind in science

A while back I asked what was the biggest scientific claim that you had changed your mind about ? At the time, I wasn't aware that hundreds of very prominent scientists had already answered a slightly broader version of this question in 2008 for the Edge website . I...

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