I'm a biologist with interests in genetics, conservation, ecology, invasive species, and wildlife management.
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Click here to read the full post at WildlifeSNPits.
I’m a fan of celebrating conservation success stories and sharing conservation optimism. In fact I’ve written about this before. Today, I want to share some wonderful teaching resources, that also highlight some reasons for hope in wildlife conservation.
A little while back, I asked twitter to recommend short videos about mammal conservation in Australia, to include in lectures I was preparing. I wanted to illustrate some of the things that agencies need to think about when planning management strategies, and share some real examples of conservation actions with the students. Also, including videos of cute animals can make for a much more engaging lecture!
Thanks to some lovely people I was sent links to a lot of interesting material. At the time I said I’d curate the list somewhere to make it easier for people to browse… and here it is. Please scroll down for links to a few videos about wildlife conservation, or with footage of threatened species. At this stage there is a strong focus on Australian mammals, but I’ll try to add links to other resources as I come across them. Feel free to share relevant resources with me… I know there are loads of other videos out there!
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Click here to read the full post at WildlifeSnpits
At this time last year I was quite uncomfortable about the idea of participating in #365scienceselfies, but still, I agreed to give it a go. I thought it was worth exploring as a different kind of science communication, to show what scientists look like and what we do. I never once thought I’d actually reach the nominal target of 365 selfies, but I was quite surprised to find that I shared 197 selfies during 2016. That’s more than I had expected. If you want to see them all in one place, I made a Storify of my #365scienceselfies posts.
I was very consistent with posts during the first half of the year, only missing the occasional day, but there were more gaps between posts later on. In July and August I spent a few weeks in-between jobs, and a combination of travel and enforced vacation left me feeling less enthusiastic about taking science selfies. Subsequently I’ve been juggling a few different sets of responsibilities and found it a lot harder to remember to take photos when I was actually doing something interesting and sciencey.
As a quick summary, of the 197 selfies I posted, 29 were taken in a lab and 50 with a computer. Sadly I didn’t really do any fieldwork this year, but I did include a few photos from hikes and bike rides. I took 36 selfies at meetings and talks (lab meetings, workshops, seminars, phone meetings…). Other people (colleagues, friends, family) featured in 45 photos and my dogs managed to “sneak” into 8 pictures. Strictly speaking, just under a third of my selfies didn’t actually feature me doing my job, although many of these were work-related, for example those taken at work functions. Finally, it won’t be a surprise to anyone who knows me to discover that 31 photos featured a cup of tea (or in a couple of cases, coffee)...
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Clink here to read the full post at WildlifeSNPits
As a child I was hooked on wildlife documentaries (I still am…) and from these I gleaned that the career highlight of any self-respecting botanist or zoologist was to discover a new species. For a while that was my goal too, but then I became sidetracked by questions about genetics and evolution and conservation.
Fast forward to the present, to the recent growth in citizen science, bioblitzes and nature apps, where almost anyone with an interest can find some way to contribute to scientific endeavour. I have experienced citizen science from both sides: as a scientist I have greatly appreciated the help of volunteers to collect samples and data; as a citizen I have contributed wildlife photos and sighting reports and helped with wildlife surveys and monitoring projects. All of the pictures I have shared in this post are ones I have recently uploaded to the Canberra Nature Map – I love taking wildlife photos and in addition to contributing to local biodiversity knowledge, the Canberra Nature Map is a great way for me to find out identifications for species I don’t know.
There’s a lot of discussion among scientists at the moment about the effectiveness of citizen science, how to collect reliable data, and how to retain volunteers. Some of this surely comes down to the expectations and experiences of participants. One thing I’ve come to realise (through occasional conversations rather than proper data collection) is just how public perception of science can be skewed, and how this influences the idea of what “doing science” entails. Media fanfare tends to focus more on “big discoveries” in science – like the discovery of new species – and less on the years of routine, mundane, boring, data collection associated with those discoveries. I understand why that happens, but it can be misleading. Those who volunteer on conservation projects usually do so because they want to make a difference, so as scientists we need to make sure that people understand the many different ways in which they can make a difference...
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Click here to read the full post at WildlifeSNPits
Last week I had the privilege of spending two days at the 16th “Science meets Parliament”. It was an eye opening experience and I’ve learnt a lot… but let me explain…
Science meets Parliament is an annual event run by Science and Technology Australia (STA), the peak body representing Australian science and technology. It includes career development opportunities related to science communication, media and policy, and the chance to spend a day at Parliament House, meeting politicians and staffers, listening to talks from political leaders and learning about how the parliamentary system works. Each member organisation of STA is able to send two representatives to the event, and this year I was fortunate to attend on behalf of the Genetics Society of AustralAsia. I’m sure I’ll miss a lot of things, but I’ll outline my highlights of the event below.