Insights: Wilco Verberk

In Insights we discover the story behind a recent publication in Functional Ecology: what inspired the authors to do the research, how did the project develop and what wider impact might the work have?

This week, Bjorn talks with Wilco Verberk about his recent paper, Thermal limits in native and alien freshwater peracarid Crustacea: The role of habitat use and oxygen limitation. Wilco is affiliated with the Radboud University in the Netherlands, where he works in the Department of Animal Ecology and Ecophysiology. With his Dutch-German research team, Wilco’s paper is the result of an impressive laboratory experiment that aimed to study the heat tolerance of four native and four alien crustaceans under different levels of oxygenation. Wilco’s work was the result of a Marie-Curie Fellowship, funded though the European Research Council.

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Women in Science – Incentives don’t match the goals

For International Women and Girls in Science day we have a guest post from some of the leaders of the 500 Women Scientists movement, Terry Bilinski, Emily Lescak and Kelly Ramirez. Their mission is to serve society by making science open, inclusive, and accessible.

For more than a decade, we have been engaged in a vigorous dialogue about the barriers to creating a more equitable scientific community in terms of gender balance and cultural background. There has been a concerted effort from many different perspectives to better understand and communicate about the issue through original research 1 2 3 4, review articles and reports by think tanks and government agencies 5 6, conference sessions and workshops (for example), not to mention innumerable opinion pieces in publications ranging from Science to US News and World Report to the Huffington Post. Millions of dollars in funding through foundations and government agencies have been dedicated to efforts directed at increasing diversity and equity in STEM. A large majority of the scientific community has raised their hand and said, “Yes, creating equity in the sciences is important.” And yet, the problem still looms large.

Here for International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we explore why advancement incentives have fallen short of making the sciences equitable and inclusive. Continue reading “Women in Science – Incentives don’t match the goals”

InSite/Out: In the field for the TeaComposition H2O Initiative: Number Four

Happy New Year to the InSite/Out readership!

As some of you may also be doing at the turn of a new year, I have been assessing the good, bad and ugly of 2017, while also looking ahead and planning (an incredibly successful) 2018. Launching the TeaComposition H2O initiative was probably largest and most rewarding project I had taken on last year. It has been one year since the launch, and since then more than 300 sites have been signed-up in ~35 countries. I have also been able to meet, either in-person or online, more than 100 research and citizen scientists who have been interested enough in the initiative to deploy more than 19,000 tea bags in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres (check it out!).

Citizen scientist involvement is a key part to TeaComposition H2O.
Citizen scientist involvement is a key part to TeaComposition H2O.

While musing, my thoughts took a bit of a detour and started wondering how I got into the decomposition business. Unless you work at The Body Farm, researching rotting things is typically not a ‘sexy’ science. My first decomposition project was not on seagrasses during my PhD in Sydney… actually – it took me a minute to realise this – my first decomposition project was for a science fair in elementary school.

A lot of science has filled my brain since I was 10, but a few details remain. Certainly, using a pre-made science project from a book in the library felt cheap. Instead, testing which conditions led to greater decomposition of wide-ruled loose-leaf paper somehow felt right. I think I was on the right track by adding water to a treatment, but perhaps not the case for the vinegar treatment. I only had one replicate for each treatment, but I did manage to get a couple tufts of fungus to grow, and that is about it. The judges must have thought the author of that tri-fold poster was an odd kid. Maybe. But considering I am still here in decomposition research and am undoubtedly working in good company, I think the decay project was an overall success.

The memory also reminds me (and I need to be reminded every so often while under the constant need to do and write) how science experiences in school can be impactful. We have made some progress in translating TeaComposition H2O to the classroom and for the general public, and there are several programs out there that have already done this successfully. Have you all had similar experiences in translating your science for schools? I’d love to hear about it.

As I sign off, best wishes for a balanced and productive 2018, and remember to share your science with a kid or two.


Until next time,

Until next time!

Stacey Trevathan-Tackett@stacey_teetee
Stacey Trevathan-Tackett Blue Carbon Lab, Melbourne, Australia

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