2020 by the numbers

Read previous years’ By the Numbers: 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 Top posts by views Amusing bird names explained: Fluffy-backed Tit-babbler (2016) Personal academic websites for faculty & grad students: the why, what, and how (2013) Free project ideas in ecology & conservation (2020) What’s in an affiliation? (2016) Overseas field courses and equity, diversity & inclusion (2020) How did we learn that birds migrate (and not to the moon)? A stab in the dark (2013) The advantages…

Continue reading


Science, people, and surviving in the time of a global pandemic

Well, it’s certainly been a year. Looking back at the last 12 months, it seems unfathomable that anything close to normality could persist, and yet despite lockdowns, a global pandemic, massive curtailing of international travel, and a massive shift in how we work, we try to carry on. Which may not have been the best solution, to be honest. It’s a bit of square peg/round hole. And that is likely to be the source of…

Continue reading


Queer in STEM ask me anything – another LGBTQ&A

About 2 years ago, I opened up my inbox for you to ask quite literally anything about being LGBTQ+ in science. Since then, some things have changed in the world, and I’ve had a chance to engage with lots of new folks around equity, diversity, inclusion & access both in science, in the museum, and more broadly. Pride Month this past June was also exhausting, and I know from speaking with a few people that…

Continue reading


Overseas field courses and equity, diversity & inclusion.

For many fields in science, field work and field courses can be an important (some would argue necessary) component. Geology, geography, ecology, conservation, anthropology, archaeology, taxonomy, and more involve, to some extent, the study of parts of the natural world. And it’s an attraction to some part of the natural world, be it a species, a place, a feature, or an experience, that draws many of us into these fields. Speaking personally, you may be…

Continue reading


What a long year the last month has been

I know I’m not alone in feeling like there’s far too much wibbily-wobbly timey-wimey lately. We just passed 100 days of working from home because of Covid-19, the bubbling undercurrent of anti-Black racism and police brutality has (finally?) has broader recognition (though not without tragedy), and Pride Month has largely been replaced by Wrath Month (traditionally celebrated in July, but brought forward by unanimous consent after a Big Queer Meeting in which it was the…

Continue reading


The gap in queer activism and the stories untold

It’s coming up to Pride Month in June, and this summer also marks 15 years of marriage equality in Canada, so I find myself in a particularly pensive and reflective mood. This is especially true with the lockdown in the UK at the moment which affords my brain ample time to run amok. This is also not much of a sciencey post. Last weekend was the 30th International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT),…

Continue reading


Some thoughts on The University

Apologies in advance if this comes across as overly ranty, and though I try to at least include some pointers or thoughts on where things go, this feels, to me, like trying to turn a supertanker going 120 knots while the crew get flung off so may lack my usual positive outlook. And it goes without saying that though my comments may be broad & sweeping, but they are not meant to be universally applicable.…

Continue reading


The challenges of being a non-university researcher: recruiting students

I’ve written before about how the UK’s system of funding research puts too much emphasis on students (and also doesn’t work particularly well). And as someone who’s never worked directly in a university (hooray for government, NGO, and museum science!) student recruitment has been a particular frustration of late. As an undergrad, I was fortunate enough to have someone take a chance on an unproven wannabe scientist, and grateful that someone did again when I…

Continue reading


Free project ideas in ecology & conservation

I have a long list of projects I’d love to get to at some point (on top of the ones that I’ve already started…). Some are just neat ideas I’ve had, others are part of a long-term research agenda. And then there are the fleeting thoughts or reactions to other work that make me think: hey, it would be cool if someone did that (the important bit is that the someone doesn’t necessarily have to…

Continue reading


Rainbow crosswalk vandalism isn’t just an isolated local event, but a national problem

This is a joint blog post by Landon Getz and Alex Bond, appearing today on both their blogs. If you’re interested in reprinting it, get in touch. From Grand Falls-Windsor, NL to Burnaby, BC, Pride is celebrated in Canada across the summer months. Towns and cities across the country raise the rainbow flag and celebrate with parades, concerts, and parties. Increasingly, many are following the lead of Sydney, Australia, which painted a giant rainbow crosswalk…

Continue reading