For those that asked, here is the reading list from Ken Thompson’s “12 months in (the science of) ecology” talk, from the 2018 British Ecological Society Annual Meeting.



Ken Thompson presenting 12 Months of Ecology
Ken Thompson presenting 12 Months in Ecology

“What amazes me when I look back at some of my early papers, which I try not to do, is how much I used to know”.

25 Year Environment Plan: ‘A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment’, sets out what we will do to improve the environment, within a generation.

Tracking ecology is not old-fashioned Nature 556, 309 (2018) doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-04626-y

Editorial: John Lawton’s View from the Park 28: a retrospective:


Big Data

Being John Harper: Using evolutionary ideas to improve understanding of global patterns in plant traits – Angela T. Moles (

Ma, Z. et al, 2018, Evolutionary history resolves global organization of root functional traits, Nature volume 555, pages 94–97 (01 March 2018).

Yinon M. Bar-On, Y. M., Phillips, R. and Milo, R. (2018) The biomass distribution on EarthPNAS June 19, 2018 115 (25) 6506-6511;

Lutz JA, Furniss TJ, Johnson DJ, et al. Global importance of large‐diameter trees. Global Ecol Biogeogr. 2018;27:849–864.

Pendergrass, A. G., & Knutti, R. (2018). The uneven nature of daily precipitation and its changeGeophysical Research Letters, 45, 11,980–11,988.


Non-native species

Závorka L, Buoro M, Cucherousset J. The negative ecological impacts of a globally introduced species decrease with time since introductionGlob Change Biol. 2018;24:4428–4437.

Kołodziej‐Sobocińska, M. , Brzeziński, M. , Niemczynowicz, A. and Zalewski, A. (2018), High parasite infection level in non‐native invasive species: it is just a matter of time. Ecography, 41: 1283-1294. doi:10.1111/ecog.03362

Ricciardi, A. & Ryan, R. Biol Invasions (2018) The exponential growth of invasive species denialism 20: 549.

Sagoff, M. Biol Invasions (2018) Invasive species denialism: a reply to Ricciardi and Ryan 20: 2723.


Good news

R.M. Cook, F. Parrini, L.E. King, E.T.F. Witkowski, M.D. Henley (2018). African honeybees as a mitigation method for elephant impact on trees. Biological Conservation  217:  329-336

Graham Robertson, Phillip Ashworth, Peter Ashworth, Ian Carlyle, Sebastián Jiménez, Rodrigo Forselledo, Andrés Domingo, Steven G. Candy (2018) Setting baited hooks by stealth (underwater) can prevent the incidental mortality of albatrosses and petrels in pelagic longline fisheries, Biological Conservation  225: 134-143,

Langin, K. (2018), Conferences score well on child care. Science Vol362, Issue 6420, pp. 1229:

Beerling, D. J. et al (2018) Farming with crops and rocks to address global climate, food and soil security. Nature Plants volume 4, pages138–147

Schlesinger WH, Amundson R. Managing for soil carbon sequestration: Let’s get realistic. Glob Change Biol. 2018;00:1–4.


Paper titles

Good ones:

Walpole, M., & Davidson, N. (2018). Stop draining the swamp: It’s time to tackle wetland loss. Oryx, 52(4), 595-596. doi:10.1017/S0030605318001059

Tape KD, Jones BM, Arp CD, Nitze I, Grosse G. Tundra be dammed: Beaver colonization of the ArcticGlob Change Biol. 2018;24:4478–4488.


Overused ones:

“If you’re planning on using one of these, think about it—and then don’t.”

Sutton, N. M. & O’Dwyer J. P. (2018) Born to Run? Quantifying the Balance of Prior Bias and New Information in Prey Escape Decisions. The American Naturalist 2018 192:3, 321-331

(and bonus results for “born to run” from google scholar for 2018).

Grimm‐Seyfarth, A. , Mihoub, J. , Gruber, B. and Henle, K. (2018), Some like it hot: from individual to population responses of an arboreal arid‐zone gecko to local and distant climate. Ecol Monogr, 88: 336-352. doi:10.1002/ecm.1301

(and bonus results for “some like it hot” from google scholar for 2018).



“Gardening is the perfect antidote to thinking that one year’s field data means anything at all”

Mark Paul & Mwangi wa Gĩthĩnji (2018) Small farms, smaller plots: land size, fragmentation, and productivity in Ethiopia, The Journal of Peasant Studies, 45:4, 757-775, DOI: 10.1080/03066150.2016.1278365

Brindley, P., Jorgensen, A. Maheswaran, R. (2018) Domestic gardens and self-reported health: a national population study. International Journal of Health Geographics201817:31

Adamowicz, B. M et al (2018): Broad interests reap benefits for science. Science  06 Jul 2018: Vol. 361, Issue 6397, pp. 24-26 DOI: 10.1126/science.aau3978

‘As a biotechnologist, I manipulate experimental variables under the most precise conditions. Gardening, in contrast, is much less controlled. Not everything will go the way that I want it to go, but that’s okay. Gardening teaches me patience and reminds me that it is natural for things to go unexpectedly.’


Doing ecology

Adam Langley J, Chapman SK, La Pierre KJ, et al. Ambient changes exceed treatment effects on plant species abundance in global change experiments. Glob Change Biol. 2018;24:5668–5679.

Kreyling, J. , Schweiger, A. H., Bahn, M. , Ineson, P. , Migliavacca, M. , Morel‐Journel, T. , Christiansen, J. R., Schtickzelle, N. and Larsen, K. S. (2018), To replicate, or not to replicate – that is the question: how to tackle nonlinear responses in ecological experiments. Ecol Lett, 21: 1629-1638. doi:10.1111/ele.13134

Mac Nally R, Duncan RP, Thomson JR, Yen JDL. Model selection using information criteria, but is the “best” model any goodJ Appl Ecol. 2018;55:1441–1444.

Menge, D. et al. (2018). Logarithmic scales in ecological data presentation may cause misinterpretation Nature Ecology & Evolution volume 2, pages1393–1402.


My favourite

Hanna Kokko (2017). Give one species the task to come up with a theory that spans them all: what good can come out of that? Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

  1. We think of separate sexes as ‘normal’, but hermaphroditism is very common.
  2. What would evolutionary theory look like had Darwin been a slime mould?
  3. Papers on reptiles, amphibians or fishes spend more than twice as many lines of text as mammal or bird papers in describing the ecological question being addressed before ‘zooming in’ on a specific species.

BBC News – Polish charity gets huge phone bill thanks to stork


(And one bonus from the editorial office –Hindsight: Ken Thompson looks back at “The influence of the rate of temperature change on the activation of dormant seeds of Rumex obtusifolius L”)