Among the many strategies that prey species use to avoid being eaten is camouflage. But how is this strategy affected if the prey species exists in different colour morphs and different habitat types? A recent experiment from researchers at Linnaeus University in Sweden and Åbo Akademi University in Finland investigated this very question, using pygmy grasshoppers. Rather than use natural predators the researchers looked a little closer to home for their experimental subjects. Here, BMC Ecology talks to the study’s senior author Professor Anders Forsman about how humans might make useful experimental ”predators” in ecological research:
1. Could you tell us a little about the study system used in your research?
As an evolutionary ecologist, I’m interested in how different processes …
In the final blog covering the ecological conference INTECOL, BMC Ecology looks back at a day of conservation, policy, and “ecological rockstars”
Yesterday’s post highlighted the problems of space in ecology, and via a rather tenuous link to Milton Mendonca’s (UFRGS) afternoon talk asking whether metapopulation theory can be be used to inform a new science of “astroecology”, today’s post is all about stars.
Kicking off with Georgina Mace’s centenary address as British Ecological Society (BES) president, this was the first of a number of talks throughout the day focusing on questions of conservation and policy, asking the rather thorny question: “who is conservation for?”
With a creative use of wordclouds to illustrate the changing face of conservation science since the 1960’s, …
Some thoughts from BMC Ecology on the second day of INTECOL 2013, a joint conference organized by the International Association for Ecology and the British Ecological Society (BES)
“Students should read the classics” seemed like sound advice from plenary speaker IllKa Hanski, as he reflected on a career investigating how populations are spatially structured.
The classics referred to here are the most highly cited papers in spatial ecology: Simon Levins’ “The problem of pattern and scale in ecology” and John Weins’ and “Spatial scaling in ecology”. In this context, he also ensured that the influence of past BES presidents Charles Elton, Mike Hassall and Robert May was not overlooked, each having played their role in highlighting the importance of …
BMC Ecology reflects on the first day of INTECOL 2013, a conference which celebrates more than 100 years of ecological research
Twelve months ago, London’s Excel Centre was host to boxers, wrestlers and martial artists battling it out for Olympic glory. One year on, and with tongue firmly planted in cheek, President of the British Ecological Society Georgina Mace surveyed an assembled crowd of 2000 ecologist representing 67 different countries and concluded: “not much has changed”.
Like the Olympics, INTECOL is a gathering that happens every four years. Unlike previous meetings, this year it has a guest: The British Ecological Society (BES) celebrates 100 years since its inception by Sir Arthur Tansley. He who would no doubt have been …
A grand vision for the future of biodiversity research puts technological innovation at its heart, and calls for greater openness in data sharing, standardisation and citizen science.
Your smartphone might just help us understand how the natural world works. Snap a picture of a bird, tag the image with details of where and when you took it, and you could be helping scientists to understand – and quite possibly save – the world’s biodiversity.
Understanding what gives rise to the massive diversity of life on earth is perhaps the great challenge of ecological research. But to be able to predict how changes to this global system will affect the plants and creatures that live within it requires linking together huge amounts …
The fossilised bones of a diverse assemblage of herbivorous dinosaurs provide clues about the feeding ecology of these extinct creatures, but suggests more evidence is needed to find out how such diversity was able to be maintained.
The fossil record is a capricious thing; we take from it only what chance dictates is preserved through time. Such patchiness poses unique problems for paleoecologists like Jordan Mallon from University of Calgary and Canadian Museum of Nature, who is attempting to infer ecological relationships among species that coexisted millions of years ago. Unlike conventional ecological analysis of living specimens, studying the fossilised remains of dinosaurs means that quantitative analysis on large sample sizes is extremely difficult:
“This is especially true of terrestrial vertebrate …
BMC Ecology talks to Dr Moritz Muschick, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Sheffield (UK), about his winning image in the journal’s first Ecology Image Competition. You can read more about what the judges made of the image – a beautifully camouflaged stick insect resting on its host plant — in an accompanying Editorial.
What is the background story to this image, and how did you come to take it?
The photo was taken on a field trip to California last year. Patrik Nosil and myself were collecting Timema stick insects for my postdoc project. To document the different species we caught and the host plants we found them on, I had brought my camera along. It was …
BMC Ecology recently caught up with ROpenSci – a collaborative effort to develop R-based tools for facilitating Open Science. In this guest blog they discuss a new open data challenge that they have launched, to help encourage more researchers to make their data and software available to all.
We’ve all been there. A new and exciting paper comes across our screen, and as we read through it, we get excited about all sorts of possibilities. Perhaps the paper describes an exciting dataset that we could bring to bear on our own work, or maybe the paper describes a new method that we’ve been hoping to use. It might be something simpler, like a really amazing figure that …
Joshua Drew, a lecturer in marine conservation biology at Columbia University, offers a personal perspective on Open Access publishing from a researcher’s point of view. Having now moved to a policy of publishing entirely in Open Access journals, he talks to BioMed Central about the benefits that this can bring to researchers wishing to get the most from their publications, together with some of the challenges that lie ahead
Open Access publishing is poised to revolutionize how science is conducted. Movement towards this publishing model will have downstream ramifications for how science is funded, collaborations established and how science is communicated. Ultimately Open Access publishing will force researchers to revaluate how we prioritize our limited resources. I believe that should …
There’s now less than 1 month to go to submit your entries to the BMC Ecology Image Competition!
More than 50 images have now been submitted from all over the world, so be sure to send in yours before 1st December to be in with a chance of winning.
The competition is open to everyone affiliated with a research institution, and we consider all images from photos to data visualizations. Entries should be submitted to one of five categories that reflect the editorial sections of the journal. The winner of each category will be chosen by each of the journal’s Section Editors and the categories are:
Behavioural and physiological ecology
Conservation ecology and biodiversity research
Community, population, and macroecology
Landscape ecology and …