SciComm cartoons in multiple languages

Thanks to generous friends and colleagues (and a seemingly unbridled passion for editing in Illustrator?!), the cartoon of Introduced species that overcome life history tradeoffs can cause native extinctions is now in five languages: German, Indonesian, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish, plus English.

 

Not only was this exercise great fun, but I am aware that – as a nature English speaker – I enjoy the privilege of reading (the bulk of) international science and science communication in my first language. So, I thought that others – both inside and outside of the science, research and education worlds – would like the opportunity to do the same.

I’m unsure how widely these cartoons will travel – and how well they’ll reach their intended audience (i.e. speakers of these languages), but can’t hurt to try, eh?

Huge thanks to Sarah Fischer, Tina Heger, Decky Junaedi, Esti Palma and Chung-Huey Wu for translating them. Incredible efforts.

Please feel free to share widely, and use these cartoons for any purpose that you wish.

[if you click on the above images, you can click through to get the language that you want, and then download the image. If you’d like a higher resolution version, please get in touch]

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How can exotic invasions drive native species extinct?

Catford et al 2018 cartoon

Read the full paper here: 

Catford, J. A., Bode, M. & Tilman, D. (2018) Introduced species that overcome life history tradeoffs can cause native extinctions. Nature Communications 9: 2131.

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Invasions in Malawi, Zimbabwe & South Africa

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One of the many values of wetland plants. Elephant Marsh, Malawi

In November, I escaped the chilly dreariness of southern England and headed to southern Africa. It was a veritable feast of a trip for someone partial to warm weather, warm people and plant invasions.

Kicking off the trip was a week in Stellenbosch at the Centre for Invasion Biology for a workshop (run by the brilliant Ana Novoa) and CIB annual conference fun.

I then met up with Marije Schaafsma, Becks Spake and Ishmael Kosamu for a week in and around the (recently) Ramsar-listed Elephant Marsh (plus a workshop for good measure – superbly chaired by Marije) . I could write reams on all of this (on the whole “big” trip in fact), but I’ll let some photos do the talking instead.

Finally, to spice things up a little, I flew into Zimbabwe for a bit of coup action – and to meet with Nicky Pegg and co from the Dambari Wildlife Trust. Things were thankfully very chilled in Bulawayo, and we spent most of time admiring the amazingness of Zimbabwe, its landscape, flora and fauna. Just incredible. Big thanks owed to Phil Riordan and the conservation team at Marwell Wildlife for the introduction.

Lots of cool research opportunities and collaborations in all of these places, so looking forward to southern Africa mark 2.

 

CIB workshop

Apparently my only photo from a week in Stellenbosch: how negligent of me. Quality not quantity though –– and look at the quality we have here?!

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PhD on ecosystem restoration & plant-soil feedbacks

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Grass: more engaging than Game of Thrones. 

Applications are now open for a fully funded PhD position at the University of Southampton, UK starting in the 2018/2019 academic year under the supervision of Bjorn Robroek, Robert Griffiths and me.

PPN_2017

The project will examine the potential for plant-soil interactions to enhance ecosystem restoration with opportunities to work in Swedish peatlands and US grasslands.

Information about the project and how to apply can be found here. Applications will close on 5 January 2018.

Please contact me on j.a.catford@soton.ac.uk with additional questions.

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Sunshine and visitors

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Esti, Luis and Alan make the most of the sunshine at New Forest NP

Long days, warm weather, dry roads and visitors. I love summer!

Esti Palma from the University of Melbourne and Dr Luis Mata from RMIT University (and, the all-important, Alan Mata) came to visit for a couple of weeks recently. They both gave excellent talks to our ecology group in Biological Sciences.

Luis spoke about “The Little Things That Run the City”, drawing on the pioneering work in Melbourne where Luis and other folk from RMIT are joining forces with Melbourne City Council to bring biodiversity into the city – and to make people aware of, and value, it. They’ve produced a beautiful children’s book as part of this work. I’m looking forward to seeing the other things that this innovative and productive group produce.

Esti focused on her invasive species traits work where she is using 80 plant species to test whether it is more informative to separate invasive species into different “types” based on their dimension of invasiveness, or whether it doesn’t matter if all species are lumped into one category. Early results seem to point to the former – but watch this space!

Esti also spoke briefly about her work that shows trait-based trends in the types of species that are being both lost from and gained in cities. As a bit of extra excitement, Esti’s paper featured on the cover of Ecography.  

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John and fellow Southamptonite, Bjorn Robroek, enjoying a cleansing ale after a walk along the River Itchen (we did talk ecology, promise!).

While talking about sunny visitors, it would be remiss of me not to mention Dr John Dwyer from the University of Queensland who stopped to say hello in June.

John also educated us with a talk, this time on how trait covariance can help us understand biodiversity trends along environmental gradients. Some really lovely work by John and Daniel Laughlin.

 

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Three days of plant ecology in Germany

Journal of Ecology Blog

Journal of Ecology Associate Editors Jane Catford and Rob Salguero-Gómez were both keynote speakers at this year’s PopBio conference. Here is their report…


A few weeks ago, we had the privilege of attending PopBio2017 in Halle, Germany.

This was the 30th annual conference of the Plant Population Biology Section of the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland (GfÖ). Though hosted by GfÖ, the conference was very international in flavor, with all presentations in English. There were 130 researchers from over 20 countries, including the UK, Germany, Czech Republic, Brazil and South Africa, in what turned out to be a 1:1 gender ratio.

popbio1 Attendees at a presentation at PopBio 2017 (Credit: RSG)

It was an incredibly stimulating, fun and well-organized three days, with a lovely balance between unstructured (social) time and scientific talks and posters. Massive thanks and congratulations to the organizers, who put together an excellent…

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Wet wetlands restore better

What the Great British Bake Off can teach us about wetland restoration – some notes from Samantha Dawson

The Applied Ecologist's Blog

With Plant Conservation Day in mind, Samantha Dawson’s post discusses characteristics of wetland plants and her new paper, Plant traits of propagule banks and standing vegetation reveal flooding alleviates impacts of agriculture on wetland restoration.

Many of the world’s wetlands are highly degraded and they are one of the most threatened types of ecosystems. To attempt to halt or reverse this trend, there are lots of small and large restoration projects underway in many places. One of the most widely-used restoration methods is to re-introduce flooding to degraded wetlands, with the idea that if you provide water, the plants that were there before will return. Unfortunately, we haven’t had much success predicting the outcome of these restoration efforts and we do not always understand why restoration succeeds or fails.

Dawson_wetlands2_May17 Dawson explains that understanding how different filters affect plant traits means we may be able to predict and manage restoration more…

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