Tuesday taster: 27/06/2017

Today’s post is largely focused on sustainability and conservation, but first two papers that caught my eye last week:

Functional Ecology published a very interesting paper describing the use of drones to record turtle demography and breeding behaviour.

In Nature Ecology & Evolution, Lars Gamfeld and Fabian Roger (University of Göteborg), published a perspective paper that counters current consensus on biodiversity-multifunctionality relationships. A very interesting read!

I was further really interested by an opinion piece in naturejobs. Academic travelling (e.g. fieldwork, symposia, conferences) is a very high burden on our carbon footprint. Not so surprising, but very embarrassing when you actually see the numbers.


Finally, two conservation related issues. First, last week I visited Finland for a PhD defence at the University of Eastern Finland. While travelling there, I learned (again) about the Saimaa ringed seal, an endemic to Lake Saimaa. It is closely related to the ringed seal, from which it became isolated after the land rise following the retreat of Finland’s glacier. The Saimaa seal is highly threatened by climate change and net fishing; only just over 350 remain. In an attempt to raise awareness about this interesting species, the WWF has devoted a website to the Saimaa ringed seal which also shows footage from a live cam that was in place last year.

Second, the Białowieża forest in Poland and Belarus is the last significant area of the primeval forests that once dominated lowland Europe, and a UNESCO world heritage site. It is also one of last refuges for the European Bison. Over a year ago, the Polish government decided to recommence logging. The official reason: bark beetle. Now, last weekend thousands have demonstrated in the streets of Warschau to protect this valuable last stretch of pristine forest.

Bjorn Robroek.

Tuesday taster: 20/06/2017

It is almost midnight and I am still enjoying the sunlight that enters the windows of my hotel room. I am in Eastern Finland, trying hard to get some sleep (not easy if your body tells you it is not dark enough yet). On my flight in from London, an opinion piece in the New York Times caught my attention and changed my views on the beautifully mown turfs that I see every day. Interestingly, the opinion article refers to a paper that I find worth reading, highlighting the large microbial diversity in New York’s Central Park. The paper by Ramirez and her colleagues keeps making a deep impact on my thinking about patterns in Ecology.

Talking about impact, I can segue to impact factors; you love them or you hate them. But inevitably, for many of our community they have become a part of our professional life. Last week ISI Web of Science has released its new impact factors. Functional Ecology has consolidated its position amongst the leading journals in ecology; with an impact factor of 5.63, it ranks 14 out of 153 listed journal. If you are interested in alternative approaches to calculating journal impacts, I would recommend going back to a late 2014 post on ConservationBytes.com.

Last, sex, bugs, and Rock ‘n Roll! With the fast approaching arrival of summer, also the season of music festivals has arrived. This year again a bunch of festival loving researchers will bring ecological science to music-lovers. Want to know more? Check their website , or follow them on Twitter @BESroadies.

Bjorn Robroek

Hindsight: Ken Thompson looks back at “The influence of the rate of temperature change on the activation of dormant seeds of Rumex obtusifolius L”

In our first Hindsight, Dr. Ken Thompson takes us back to his PhD research and points out one –perhaps forgotten– follow up study from Van Assche & Van Nerum that may have you asking if there is such thing as plant intelligence.

  Continue reading “Hindsight: Ken Thompson looks back at “The influence of the rate of temperature change on the activation of dormant seeds of Rumex obtusifolius L””

Insight: Ellie Goud

In Insights we discover the story behind and beyond a recent publication in Functional Ecology: What inspired the authors to do the research, how the project developed, leading to the final publication and what implications their results might have on the scientific community and on society.

Ellie Goud profile

This week, Ellie Goud of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University, Ithaca, USA, discusses her recent paper on the use of non-destructive plant traits as a proxy for carbon fluxes from peatland ecosystems.

Continue reading “Insight: Ellie Goud”

Tuesday Tasters: 13/06/2017


Bjorn Robroek is the blog editor for Functional Ecologists.bjorn



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