Tuesday taster: 15/08/2017

Jennifer Meyer is the Assistant Editor for Functional Ecology DSC_0066


Tuesday taster: 01/08/2017

Bjorn’s in the field this week, so here are a few things for anyone stuck in an office, on plane, train or automobile or trying to make the most of conference wifi:


Jennifer Meyer is the Assistant Editor for Functional Ecology DSC_0066

Tuesday taster: 25/07/2017

Last week I was in Sweden for my field work. One of the rangers, Hans Fransson, in the Nature Reserve where I work is a guide in the cave systems under Tåbergs Iron mountain in his free time. The 343 meter high mountain is rich in iron (titanomagnetite olevinite) which has led to a large system of tunnels. In winter, six species of bats hibernate in these tunnels. The ‘bat entrance’ of the tunnels is equipped with photo acoustic equipment by which the staff can identify each individual entering the caves. The Tåberg tunnel system is open for guided tours.

In my Tuesday Taster of 27 June, I highlighted the public outrage of the governmental decision to recommence logging in the Polish Białowieża National Park. This week Nature published a piece with a little more background, also demonstrating the role of the EU in safeguarding our precious ecosystems.

The British Ecological Society’s photo competition is now open. This year’s theme is ‘Capturing Ecology’, so get out your camera while you’re on field work or on holiday. Rules and eligibility criteria can be found on the BES website.

I wish everyone a good week.

Best, Bjorn

Bjorn Robroek is the blog editor for Functional Ecologists.bjorn


Tuesday taster: 18/07/2017

Hi all,

Some practical advice on how to effectively reduce your personal carbon emissions (hint: it’s not just replacing your light bulbs) can be found in a new paper by Wynes and Nicholas.

Another good read, but on the effects of extreme climate events on shift in breeding time of wild passerine.

When you submit your paper to Functional Ecology, you may want to think a few moments longer about choosing an appropriate title. A very nice analysis by executive editor Charles Fox and Sean Burns shows the evolution of titles in Functional Ecology, and highlights some indicators for a title to be appealing to editors and reviewers, and to attract more citations.

Enjoy your week,


Bjorn Robroek is the blog editor for Functional Ecologists.bjorn

Tuesday taster: 11/07/2017

The low volume of emails in my inbox indicates that summer holidays are approaching– time to think of buying your summer-reads. The financial times may help you make this choice a bit easier. They have compiled a list of science books that they consider worth reading. If you’re heading to the mountains and already thinking of those challenging uphills, check out this podcast by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA on the metabolic adaptation of Sherpas that allow them to take in more oxygen at high altitudes.

Myself, I am preparing for field work. This time, for the first time a bachelor summer student from my new University will join me. Over the next weeks I hope to inform you a bit more about my own work and the involvement of my student. Please also look in the InSite/Out for updates on the fantastic work of Stacey, Rob and Gesche.

In the light of the latest G20 discussions on fighting climate change, this recently accepted paper in Functional Ecology is definitively worth a read.

Last, just as a reminder there are only three weeks left to apply for the position as a senior editor at Functional Ecology.


Enjoy your week,


Bjorn Robroek is the blog editor for Functional Ecologists.bjorn


Tuesday taster: 04/07/2017

Last week, I was at a conference (Trait covariation: structural and functional relationships in plant ecology) organised by the New Phytologist Trust. I liked it very much; I especially liked the versatility of the ecological community in approaching big open ecological questions. I will soon give a more elaborate update about the symposium, but if you cannot wait click here to see the abstract book.

A good example of the versatility of the ecological community is the recently accepted paper by Kuppler et al. in Functional Ecology, describing the difference in resource space use by insects that visit native plants and those that visit invasive plants on Hawaii.  Interestingly, invasive species were much more effectively exploited, potentially giving them a fitness advantage over native plants.

Staying with insects; you will probably have read about Science’s latest report on the effects of pesticides on pollinators. If not, here is the link to the paper that has caused much discussion already (see f.e. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/29/pesticides-damage-survival-of-bee-colonies-landmark-study-shows, or https://www.nature.com/news/largest-ever-study-of-controversial-pesticides-finds-harm-to-bees-1.22229)

Last but not least, Prof. Stephen Hawking alleges that the USA’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreements on Acting Against Climate Change could have consequences as drastic as turning our planet into one with conditions as found on Venus. But according to Figueres and colleagues in the latest issue of Nature, it is not yet too late. They set an interesting, but challenging plan to start decarbonizing the world’s economy, thereby significantly reducing carbon dioxide emissions by the end of next decade.

And with that positive perspective, I wish you all a good and productive week.

Bjorn Robroek

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

Tuesday Tasters: 13/06/2017


Bjorn Robroek is the blog editor for Functional Ecologists.bjorn



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