Rebecca at work in the glasshouse in Western Sydney

Rebecca Vandegeer: plant silicon defences against herbivores under drought

In this post Rebecca Vandegeer presents her study ‘Leaf silicification provides herbivore defence regardless of the extensive impacts of water stress’, discusses the importance of Silicon for plant growing and the joy of working with plants and insects  My name is Rebecca Vandegeer and I recently completed a postdoctoral research fellowship with the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment at Western Sydney University. There is growing … Continue reading Rebecca Vandegeer: plant silicon defences against herbivores under drought

Ellen setting up a transect for the plots

Ellen Welti: Better with a grain of salt. Sodium addition increases leaf herbivory and fungal damage in grasslands

Ellen Welti shares her experience doing her latest research ‘Sodium addition increases leaf herbivory and fungal damage across four grasslands’, the implications of Sodium fertilization for agriculture and her secret cat taming skills. About the paper In this paper, we test how elevated sodium in plants would affect how much herbivorous insects and leaf fungal pathogens consume. This study followed previous research from our group … Continue reading Ellen Welti: Better with a grain of salt. Sodium addition increases leaf herbivory and fungal damage in grasslands

Me in my natural habitat - the wild person of the woods!

Rainbow Research: Transgender Pride

Dr Ash Brockwell – Coming out as transgender in mid-career As a child, I always loved being outdoors – either in the garden, drawing pictures of flowers, or out on birdwatching trips with my dad or the Southampton Natural History Society.  When I graduated from Oxford in 1999, I was lucky to have the opportunity to do an internship with the Global Initiative for Traditional … Continue reading Rainbow Research: Transgender Pride

Rosella Guerrieri

Rosella Guerrieri: equal but not equal, new vs long-established forests in Northeaster Spain

Rossella Guerrieri from the University of Bologne, presents her latest study ‘Land-use legacies influence tree water-use efficiency and nitrogen dynamics in recently established European forests’, discusses the importance of long-term effects of global change and provides some advices for anyone following a research career. About the paper Spontaneous forest regrowth is naturally occurring in several areas of the world promoted by on-going global changes, which … Continue reading Rosella Guerrieri: equal but not equal, new vs long-established forests in Northeaster Spain

Getting cosy with a Grey-headed Flying Fox (Pteropus poliocephalus) at a wildlife-rehabilitation and education centre in Melbourne, Australia.

Rainbow Research: LGBTQ2S, Indigenous Peoples & People of Colour

Dr Cyren (Asteraceya) Wong talks to us about finding his place in nature. Most people know me as “Dr Cyren (Asteraceya) Wong” of Naturetalksback, but I did not always go by this name. I started coming out to my family and community at the age of 14. I believe they have always had my best interests at heart, but the pre-existing norms and values of … Continue reading Rainbow Research: LGBTQ2S, Indigenous Peoples & People of Colour

Molly Roberts, pictured at a mussel farm, estimated the cost of byssus from the experimental data using a Scope For Growth framework. (Photo credit: Hilary Hayford)

Molly Roberts: A network of threads and perspectives, energetic cost of mussel attachment

Emily “Molly” Roberts, postdoctoral fellow at Claremont McKenna College, presents her recent work ‘Resource allocation to a structural biomaterial: induced production of byssal threads decreases growth of a marine mussel, Mytilus trossulus’ where she and her colleagues tested the trade-off between survival and growth of mussels. About the paper This paper is about the energetic ‘investment’ that mussels make to stay anchored to their habitat. … Continue reading Molly Roberts: A network of threads and perspectives, energetic cost of mussel attachment

Study co-authors conducting fieldwork in The Bahamas. Counterclockwise from left is Allison Stringer with a live lionfish (Pterois volitans), Robert Lamb conducting a transect survey, and Lillian Tuttle observing cleaning stations at a coral patch reef. Photo credits: Lillian Tuttle, Tim Pusack, and Severin Vaillancourt, respectively.

Lillian Tuttle: Coral-reef predators must learn that the cleaner goby is a friend, not food

Lillian Tuttle of NOAA’s Pacific Island Regional Office in Honolulu, Hawai‘i talks about the inspiration behind her new research “Differential learning by native versus invasive predators to avoid distasteful cleaning mutualists” and the privilege we have to be able to observe the natural world. About the paper What’s your paper about?My co-authors and I studied the behaviours of invasive lionfish and cleaning mutualists on coral … Continue reading Lillian Tuttle: Coral-reef predators must learn that the cleaner goby is a friend, not food

Bawan Amin in the field with a telescope tracked on fallow deer

Bawan Amin: individual personality is evident from just a few weeks old

Bawan Amin, son of Kurdish freedom fighters talks about his latest publication in Functional Ecology “In utero accumulated steroids predict neonate anti-predator response in a wild mammal” as well the importance of asylum, family, and being able to pursue your passions. At the time of writing, I am about to start the final year of his PhD-research at University College Dublin, Ireland. Supervised by Dr. … Continue reading Bawan Amin: individual personality is evident from just a few weeks old

World bee day 2021: bee research collection

The 20th May marks world bee day, an opportunity for all of us to appreciate these little creatures that make our modern food economy possible. Bees are extremely valuable as pollinators and ecosystem services, but they are also fascinating creatures in their own right with complex social structures and communication methods. Here, we’ve curated our favourite bee-based research from Functional Ecology, as well as some … Continue reading World bee day 2021: bee research collection

Audrey Le Pogam with a snow bunting in front of the aviary at the Université du Québec à Rimouski (Québec)

Audrey LePogam: everyday is winter for snow bunting

In this post Audrey Le Pogam, a phd student from Université du Québec à Rimouski, present her research ‘Coping with the worst of both worlds: phenotypic adjustments for cold acclimatization benefit northward migration and arrival in the cold in an Arctic breeding songbird’. She discusses the importance of species adaptations to environment, her future research questions and her newly discovered passion for sumo. About the … Continue reading Audrey LePogam: everyday is winter for snow bunting