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 …
BMC Ecology celebrates 50 years since the publication of Rachel Carson’s influential environmental book, Silent Spring, with a guest Editorial from Emeritus Professor of Ecology at Cornell University, David Pimentel.
Here, he offers a personal reflection on the impact the book made at the time it was first published, when he was still a graduate student. Half a century on, he comments on what we have learned from this powerful piece of science journalism, and offers his thoughts for the future of pesticide use in agriculture.
You can read further details of the impact and legacy of Carson’s work by visiting the BioMed Central blog:
Silent Spring or: How we learned to start worrying and question pesticide use
BMC Ecology wants to see your visual interpretations of ecological processes. The “BMC Ecology Image Competition 2012” is open to everyone affiliated with a research institution. So from muddy-boots fieldworkers to desk-based computational modellers, we want to know how you see the science of ecology.
Entries should depict a specific ecological interaction, and should be submitted to one of five categories that reflect the editorial sections of the journal.
We will consider all images from photos to data visualizations, or a mixture of both – as long as they are striking, meaningful, and creative. The winner of each category will be chosen by each of the journal’s Section Editors (Michel Baguette, Michael Bonsall, Jean Clobert, Nick …
In 1755 curators at the Ashmolean museum in Oxford (UK) threw the last remaining tissue specimens of the dodo onto a fire. Unfortunately for this most hapless of flightless creatures, this means that we are still not entirely certain what this giant tropical pigeon truly looked like.
The dodo represents perhaps one of the most extreme examples of a population crash ever witnessed, slipping from discovery to extinction in only around 80 years. Of course the blame for this lies firmly in the hands—and stomachs—of humans, as hungry sailors devoured their way through the entire species when they set anchor in the Mauritius.
However, human activity can also have unintended consequences for vulnerable species.