Blog

Oikos Editor in Chief Vacancy

The ecological journal Oikos, published by the Nordic Society Oikos, is seeking to recruit a new Editor in Chief, following the departure of Professor Tim Benton. Oikos is among the top international journals in its field and will endeavour to further improve its...

Advice: what to wear to an academic job interview (UPDATED)

Provocative post over at Worthwhile Canadian Initiative on what to wear to an academic job interview. Like it or not, your choice of attire signals something about you as a candidate--but it may not signal what you want it to. For ecologists, I stand by my earlier...

Darwin in space, or spurious correlation exemplified

Google Trends allows you to look at changes over time in the popularity of different search terms, and to find search terms whose popularity is correlated. Which is a great lesson in spurious correlation. For instance, the search term most correlated with "darwin" is...

Modeling contests: putting your math where their money is

This is old but I missed it at the time. An Australian start-up company called Kaggle is offering cash prizes (hundreds to millions of dollars) to get modelers to compete against one another to solve prediction problems. Some recent competitions have been broadly...

Advice: a "field guide" to bad questions, and bad questioners

Here is a fun and useful "field guide" to bad questions that get asked at talks, and the kinds of people who ask them. It's aimed at political scientists, especially those concerned with international issues, but it mostly applies to ecology and evolution as well (e.g...

Biostatistical pickup lines (?!)

From...wait for it...Ryan Gosling (?!) Here . I note with interest that Ryan Gosling appears to be a frequentist rather than a Bayesian. HT Sarcozona

On getting scooped in ecology

One of the things I like about being an ecologist is that I rarely have to worry about being scooped. Only once have I ever felt like I'd been beaten to a result, and in retrospect I really wasn't.* Only two other times have I ever been worried I might be beaten to a...

Advice: how to do meta-analysis in ecology vs. medicine

Too busy to do any substantive posting right now, so I'll just be tossing out some links. Bob O'Hara has an interesting post on how meta-analysis in ecology should be done differently than in medicine. He also thinks ecologists should be doing more meta-regressions,...

Carnival of Evolution #42 now available

Nothing in the Carnival from Oikos blog this month, but don't let that stop you from checking out this month's linkfest of evolutionary writing, and from making your own Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy jokes.

Food chain rewiring taken to absurd lengths

According to The Onion . The accompanying food web diagram is very funny, and also rather uncomfortably close to the truth when it comes to how the links in food webs often are defined. Related documentary evidence here and here . Apparently the recent Oikos special...

More examples of humorous and satirical scientific papers (UPDATED)

In my continuing quest to make the world safe for scientific papers which use humor, and even satire, to make a point, here are three more examples, all from the medical literature. It's actually surprisingly easy to write an apparently objective but actually...

Advice: choosing a research topic of lasting value

Here is a short and trenchant little essay by philosopher Dan Dennett , addressed to graduate students, on how to choose a research topic of lasting value. His essay is aimed at philosophy students, so a few of his points don't really apply to ecology (well, actually...

That's not really what we're aiming for

Someone just found the Oikos blog by searching on "frivolous contrarianism". This is certainly the place to come for contrarianism . And sometimes for frivolity too. But I hope there's no frivolous contrarianism to be found here...

Advice: how to interview for a faculty position

Amusing and mostly good advice on interviewing for a faculty position from the Contemplative Mammoth . I would add that overdressing can be as bad as underdressing. I overdressed for my first interview--jacket and tie. It just made me look uptight. If I could do it...

Advice: on protecting grad students from their own optimism

I've written about how lucky I was to get the academic position I currently hold, and how I was prepared to quit science if I hadn't gotten it. I've suggested that current grad students hoping to go on in academia follow my example: recognize that the odds of success...

Species pools and the fallacy of composition (UPDATED)

A species pool is the set of all species that could potentially colonize some local site. Many important ideas in community ecology and biogeography start from assumptions about the species pool, and about dispersal from the species pool to the local site, and from...

Can we select okra to taste like creme brulee?

Evolutionary humor from The Onion .

A subtler, funnier "Spandrels"

Ace evolutionary biologist and blogger Jeremy Yoder pops up in the comments on my post taking down "Spandrels of San Marco," pointing us to a 1983 paper by Norman Ellstrand that makes the same point as Gould and Lewontin, but in a much funnier and more subtle way. I...

Free idea for a provocative review paper: comparing 'selection' in evolution vs. ecology

Selection isn't just something that happens in evolution. Selection occurs whenever one type of organism, by virtue of its properties, leaves more descendants than another type of organism (actually, 'selection' isn't even limited to organisms, or to ancestor-...

Is Hutchinson's zombie idea about coexistence not a zombie after all?! (UPDATED)

Is Hutchinson’s zombie idea about coexistence not a zombie after all?! In my original zombie ideas post , I criticized three distinct theoretical claims about how disturbances and fluctuating environmental conditions can promote competitive coexistence. These claims...

Pages

Subscribe to Blog

Recent Comments & Hot Topics