This blog started as a collaborative effort. As we all advanced in our careers and grown families some regular contributors have become irregular contributors, and I have been the primary curator for sometime.
Sara Wilbur reached out asking to write a guest post. We worked on getting her delightful post out together.
And with the new school year, she’s back for more! She’ll be writing about artic squirrels and telomeres and quirky scientists and life in Alaska.
And I’m thrilled that’ll she’ll be posting on Thursdays. Welcome to the NiB family!
Every day, birders around the world record which species they see. Many of them contribute their sightings to the groundbreaking citizen science project called eBird, run out of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the US. One outcome from this collective activity is a worldwide record of which species have been reported in the same place at the same time – i.e. which species come into contact.
This citizen science has potential to really change the way we work at bird interactions.
Read about it here!
In the ongoing question of “what makes human’s special?”, biologist have recently demonstrated that honey bees have the ability to conceptualize zero.
The bees in the study were trained, one group to fly towards displays with higher quantities of black shapes, and one towards cards with fewer shapes. Once the second group was trained to recognize “lower” number of black spots, they introduced blank cards. The bees were then able to recognize that the absence of black spots is less than low number of spots.
This phenomenon is referred to as the “numerical-distance-effect” and has been observed in children and primates. So bees have at least the conceptual ability of a smll child.
Good job bees! Read more about it here.
Tiny crustaceans complete a massive daily vertical migration in the world’s oceans. New research suggests their commute may play an important role in the health of the planet.
Dr. Dabiri, an engineering professor at Stanford University, suspected there was more than could be seen by the naked eye in the movements of these small marine creatures. And in a paper published in Nature, he offered evidence that they are capable of playing a vital role in mixing up the many layers of the oceans and the minerals they contain.
Want to know more about this vital dance? Read about it here.
I used to be asked often “what is it you do?”. And it’s hard to explain.
I do research, I ask questions, I answer them to the best of my ability.
However, I do not do so in my lingerie, or while staring at small pieces of dry ice.
Which is what makes the hashtag #BadStockPhotosOfMyJob on twitter so hilarious. See a few below, or a larger collection here.
I recently made a massive transition. I left my postdoc at Martin-Luther University, and started a job as a data scientist for a fintech. Full on transition from academia to industry.
And telling my academic colleagues was, and still is hard.
Which is why I found this article about the similarities between coming out as a proud gay woman and coming out as a non-academic so interesting.
And great insight for those of us who might also be thinking of making the transition.
This year’s Nature #ScientistAtWork photo contest winners and runners up are revealed and they are awesome.
Here are a few, but the whole collection can be found here.
Field Work! I have actually been in this same spot, but with a mini van in the Hebrides Islands.
At the March for Science, because science should be diverse.
Volcanic Salt Plains in Ethiopia.
Lowering a boat to abseil a boat into a 40-metre sinkhole in Arnhem Land to investigate the area’s geological record.
Space, from antarctica
The unfortunate consequence of having completed graduate school is that we think we know everything about getting through. Which is likely why I’ve read about a dozen “advice for graduate students” columns.
However, this one from Dorsa Amir really stands out among the pack.
Best piece of advice: Other people’s successes are not your failures.
But really they are all good. Read it here.
FromDavid Sischo on facebook (with accompanying photo):
“Have you ever held an entire species in your hand? Its hard to describe how this makes one feel. Exhilarated, filled with deep sadness at the state of the world, terrified that these beings are in our care, but also relieved that we intervened before this species met oblivion. Around a year ago the last six Achatinella fulgens, an endangered tree snail species once common in the gulches and ridges surrounding Honolulu, were brought to our DLNR captive rearing facility. This is after the habitat this last population occupied slumped down the mountain leaving all of the trees knocked down. From six we now have 22! It feels as though we are trying to start a fire that was left unattended and only a tiny ember remains. I guess we’ll just keep fanning the flame.” #racingextinction #extinction #hawaii #oahu #honolulu #conservation#kahuli #nature #wildlife #inourhands #fantheflame
Elin Thomas creates petri dishes filled with mold, but she’s not using any week-old peanut butter sandwiches. The fiber artist builds her science experiments using a felted wool base, and then carefully crafts individual growths using crochet and embroidery techniques. Most of her creations are set in authentic 8cm borosilicate glass petri dishes, although she also makes free-form brooches and other accessories in a similar style.
How cool is that! Read about it here.