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Necessary and sufficient?

“If educators are to lead teaching and learning then this is the must-read book” . With an endorsement like that, especially from such a source as John Hattie, how can the ordinary teacher go past such a call? Aren’t we in an educational crisis where we need all the help we can get? We need better teachers with more development and more emphasis on teaching students and improving their results. Teachers are told this from a range of sources including […]

Brexit and the future of science.

Although normally across the other side of the world, I was actually in the UK when this vote was taken. Surely, I assumed, there could be only one sensible outcome. Sadly, that remained true but the decision was anything but Remain! Trying to explain that to people in Scotland, where we were staying, left me clutching my Australian passport, suddenly ashamed to admit to the vocal population that I was British. In subsequent days, it was clear that the world […]

Reading Research or Understanding Research?

There’s this line in A Fish called Wanda that kept coming back to me last week: “Apes don’t read philosophy!”. “Yes they do Otto, they just don’t understand it”! I’d been all week at a series of productive meetings but the point was being made time and again by various people “I read research”. Later on, I get into a conversation with a colleague on a different issue and the same point is raised, they were expected to read research. […]

Re-strategising the library

Libraries – amazing places! The whole world in a compact room (OK, maybe not if your library is the British Library or similar, but you get the drift). At a time when the demand for information skills has never been higher, most libraries are under threat. Why? Maybe the very thing that defines the library – its books – also constrains any new views about it. All is not lost. It’s possible to re-invent both the library and the librarian! […]

Another day, another climate!

  By now, the idea of climate change should be fully entrenched. We’ve all seen graphs like this one (from NASA’s SEAWIFS programme) which, in this case, links CO2 with primary productivity. However, it doesn’t take a genius to realise that this just isn’t happening. A set of events came together this week to suggest we might need to look more closely at the picture. It started with the UN climate conference. The basic argument, as presented on their main […]

Vote Bird!

It’s surprising what you can find on the ‘net! I’d never really given this much thought before but, it’s true – we don’t have a national bird. You’ve got emus, bald eagles and even something quite exotic, like the Himalayan Monal. But before we all jump up and start looking for the nearest feathered creature to give the title to, perhaps we ought to stop and think. First of all, we don’t need to worry, a website has got it […]

Are there viable synergies between ecology and economics?

My mind was drawn to an old issue made new again in a recent flyer for a conference. The BES is hosting a conference exploring the interactions between ecology and economics. They tagline is that there is far too little by way of interaction and that there are numerous ideas that each could teach/learn from, the other. On the surface, this is a great idea and any exploration between the two is going to yield insights. There might well be […]

How are we doing Ecology?

A couple of things have conspired to turn me away from a review and towards the reflection of a blog post! The first was the receipt of a potential review text titled “How to do Ecology” (Karban and Huntzinger, 2006); the rest comes from our BES Bulletin and following a few leads from the website.  For some reason, the text date didn’t become clear until I started because I normally only look at the most recent publications; the upside was […]

Seed conservation and the doomsday vault

Ideas can come in many shapes and sizes. As I was contemplating a suitable blog topic, I was handed a copy of Life After People – a movie based on the simple notion of what would remain of our structures if we were to suddenly disappear. Around this time I was reading articles on seed conservation and so the two melded. I’m not so much concerned about what happens after us but what happens to us if anything else goes […]

The Rise of the Science Citizen

“Citizen science is creating excitement throughout the ecological world” Serendipity strikes again! Just as I was completing some work for students on systems models so an email arrives inviting me to participate in a programme of “lagoon” (read freshwater areas, this is Australia!) studies. The proponents (a local university research team) want to investigate how people interact with nature. That was easy to complete, so we are going along in a few weeks time. Returning home I get the latest […]