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(ecology and climate change from the 4th dimension)

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Responding to anti-Black racism in our academic communities

I shared this email with my department, the School of Biology and Ecology, on June 1, 2020. I’m sharing it here for two reasons: 1) I was inspired by an email written by Dr. Julie Libarkin at MSU, which she shared on her blog. I hope others feel empowered to reach out to their research and learning communities, just as she empowered me to reach out...

Five common writing mistakes new scientists make

As a professor, journal editor, reviewer, and mentor, I review a lot of writing. I come from a long tradition of mentors who focused on writing — during my PhD, I often heard stories of my grand advisor returning his students’ work covered in red line edits, and then I experienced the same when I turned in my first drafts. My own students now know that...

Women in the interim: thoughts on International Women’s Day, 2018

Yesterday was International Women’s Day. I didn’t say anything at the time, because I had no idea it was coming. I’m in the thick of the pre-tenure scramble, and a lot going on both at work and at home, and hadn’t prepared anything thoughtful or inspiring. I only knew something was happening because I logged on to Twitter to discover I’d been tagged...

Asking for feedback on job applications: attitudes and practices

Image: Feedback © Alan Levine CC BY 2.0 This post is jointly written by Steve Heard and Jacquelyn Gill, and appears in addition on Stephen’s blog Scientist Sees Squirrel. Early this summer, we asked for your experience and your attitudes about the practice of candidates asking for feedback on their (unsuccessful) job applications (with respect to...

Poll: where do you stand on asking for feedback on unsuccessful job applications? — Scientist Sees Squirrel

A couple of weeks ago, one of us (Steve) posted “How to write, and read, a (job) rejection letter”. One piece of advice to job candidates got some interesting pushback on Twitter, including from […] Ecologist Stephen Heard of Scientist Sees Squirrel and I are teaming up on a post about getting feedback on the academic job market. To start off, we’re...

How do weirwood trees work? The answer may lie beneath

Vermont wetland ecologist Charlie Hohn (@SlowWaterMvmt) had some intriguing thoughts about weirwood trees after reading my post about the impacts of the Wall on biodiversity (published last summer as part of a “science of Game of Thrones” blog carnival. He drafted this post in response. You can read more of his work at Slow Water Movement. Much mystery...

Science for everyone: my #RallyforScience remarks

I gave these remarks at the Rally to Stand Up for Science today in Copley Square, to a crowd of several thousand scientists and science supporters. We had a wonderful, diverse group of speakers, which was so refreshing. I encourage others to post their remarks, because they were so wonderful. We all had different touchstones, and I wanted to talk about...

Live in fragments no longer.

It’s been one week since the election, and I’ve started this post a dozen times. I write something, erase it, rewrite. I brainstorm in the shower. I think about it when I walk the dog, on my way to work, standing in line at the grocery store, and when I should be falling asleep. I’ve never had so much to say and struggled so much to write it. The advice...

Winter is coming: climate change and biodiversity beyond the Wall

The following is a transcription of a keynote lecture given by Maester Abelard, instructor of natural history at the Citadel, at the 219th Congress on the Natural Resources of the Seven Kingdoms. The Wall that separates the Seven Kingdoms from the wildlands beyond has long been lauded as one of humankind’s greatest feats of engineering. A hundred leagues...

Creative conservation: thinking outside the box to protect species in a warming world

Climate change and human activity are going to combine to create new challenges to biodiversity in the coming century. Over the last decade, it’s become increasingly apparent that 20th century conservation strategies may be poorly suited to protect species in a changing world. Take the Endangered Species Act of 1973 — it’s a place-based, species-specific...

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