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Blogging the ESA: Talks to see on Tuesday

8:20 am, room 4: Smith et al. on coexistence of cryptic species of amphipods. Cryptic species are a great testbed for coexistence theory. If we can't tell them apart without sequencing, they must be functionally identical and therefore neutrally-stable, right? Well, no...

Blogging the ESA: Talks to see on Monday

Many students tend to find the ESA meeting overwhelmingly big. So in the interests of helping you sort through the clutter, I'm going to put up a series of blog posts highlighting some of the talks I plan to see each day. I'm interested in population, community, and...

Oikos: ecology ends here

Someone just found the Oikos blog by searching on "last ideas in ecology". I don't think there will ever be a "last" idea in ecology. But if someone ever does come up with an idea so powerful and all-encompassing that ecology as a field can just pack up and go home, I...

Fantasy ecology dinner

Thought I'd share the final question I was asked during my doctoral candidacy exam: if you could have dinner with any three deceased ecologists, who would they be and why? I named Darwin, for obvious reasons, and Gause, for reasons I've previously described . Can't...

UK parliamentary report on peer review published

Here . Will post some comments once I've had time to read it.

Tweeting the ESA meeting

I won't be (I'll probably blog it). But if you will be, I just got an email indicating that the hashtag for the meeting is #ESA11. And because the meeting theme is "Earth stewardship", the ESA is bribing people to tweet about that topic using the hashtag #earthsteward...

Advice: Things I learned from Peter Morin

Next week I'll be attending the first ever Morin Lab Alumni Reunion. Peter Morin 's former graduate students and postdocs are returning to visit him at Rutgers for a weekend of talks, field trips, and celebration. I'm really looking forward to it. I thought I'd mark...

Advice: coming up with an original research topic

Coming up with an original research topic isn't easy, especially the first time (say, for your undergraduate honors thesis). Here's some excellent advice to help you get started. It's aimed at economics students, but it's mostly applicable to ecology students as well.

More on bridging divides in ecology

Following up on Dustin's recent post on bridging ideological divides , and related posts here , here , and here . Wanted to toss out a couple of further thoughts on how to do bridge-building. I like Dustin's idea to invite folks on opposing sides of a divide to write...

An empirical divide in ecology?

Great post over at The EEB and Flow , responding to Lindenmayer and Likens' recent piece claiming that ecology is losing its empirical, place-based "culture" in favor of modeling, meta-analysis, and data mining. A quick glance at recent issues of our leading journals...

Should I blog (or tweet?!) about the ESA Annual Meeting?

My blog posts for Oikos are an attempt to do interesting "armchair ecology", a form which Oikos has a long and honorable history of supporting. Basically, any ideas I have that I think are worth sharing, but that, for whatever reason, aren't really suited for...

Free idea for an Oikos Forum paper: untapped potential in biological market models

Biological market models are a way to think about the evolution of behaviors in which organisms exchange goods. Examples of such behaviors include the exchange of "nuptial gifts" for mating opportunities in some insects, and the exchange of photosynthetically-fixed...

This is why I'm not a field ecologist

Unlike these researchers , I rarely have to worry about my study organisms breaking into my lab and trying to eat me.

Bridging ideological divides in ecology - why can’t we be friends?

I am an Associate Professor at the University of Queensland and a deputy Editor-in-Chief at Oikos. I’m interested in the evolutionary ecology of marine invertebrates, with a bunch of different themes within that field. One of my main jobs in the Oikos team is to be the...

June 2011 Editor's Choice: The sea of simulation.

Simulations allow us to explore what is often difficult or sometimes even intractable to test. I selected the paper 'Local interactions drive size dependent space competition between coral and crustose coralline algae' by Buenau et al. (doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2010...

Advice: how I almost quit science

This is a true story. It is meant primarily for students, but I don't know if it's uplifting, depressing, both, or neither. So I'm just going to tell it, and you can make of it what you will. In the late winter of 2004, I almost quit science. Indeed, I effectively had...

Should we classify mechanisms by their causes or their effects?

Generalizing in ecology, or any science, requires you to group together different things based on their similarity in some key respect. Debates about generalization in ecology and evolution often are debates about the relative advantages of more vs. less generalization...

How to win the Braun Award for best student poster at the ESA Annual Meeting

Register to be considered! This of course won't guarantee that you win--but you can't win if you don't register. I help judge the Braun Award every year, and I'm always struck by how few students register to be considered--typically 20 or fewer. That's surely a small...

Non-zombie ideas in ecology: Gause's The Struggle for Existence

I've been pretty rough on the 'zombie' ideas of famous ecologists lately. So I decided to balance things a bit by highlighting a famous ecologist with some very modern, and very non-zombie, ideas: G. F. Gause . He's famous for the competitive exclusion principle, of...

What's your best paper?

This is a common job interview question in academia, but it's also fun just to think about, at least once you've published more than a couple of papers. Often, the papers of which we're proudest aren't the ones that are most cited, because our pride reflects features...

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