Category Archives: Pick and mix

Pick and mix 11 – Another ten links to look at

I’m still on holiday in France so just a series of links this week.


Links to things I thought interesting (picture is the room door of the Ibis Style hotel we stayed at in Paris)

 

Is “novelty” holding science back?

Using radio tagging to improve the conservation of stag beetles

How ‘Nature’ keeps us healthy, from potted plants to hiking

How scientists at Rothamsted Research and the University of North Texas have engineered a relative of cabbage to produce fish oil

Agricultural efficiency will feed the world, not dogma

A really interesting article about migration and movement of people

Dave Goulson’s work on pesticide residues in garden plants summarised by plant ecologist Ken Thompson

Using a field journal to strengthen learning

At the risk of seeming big-headed an interesting episode of Entocast

I don’t normally post about birds but after this golden oriole

committed suicide against our patio doors thought that this deserved a mention

 

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Pick and mix 10 – ten more links to look at

Links to things I thought interesting

 

Why conservation needs to work around people’s values

If you ever wondered why so many plants have wort in their name.

The academic work-life balance is so wrong.  Errant Science takes a humourous look at a very serious subject.

Learn about the biology of peaches and how to cook them

Interesting commentary on a  paper about how walnuts have invaded forest ecosystems

Continuing with the food theme, how a Swedish countess introduced potatoes to the European diet

Have you ever heard a hawk moth squeak?  Now you can and they use their genitals to make the sound 🙂

If you ever wondered how beetles fold their wings, then here is the answer.  Full details about a complex subject.

Polish scientists are looking at ways of making eating insects more appetizing

Finally, William Playfair the Scottish scoundrel who invented all the graphs we love to hate

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Pick and mix 9 – a few links to click

Links to things I thought might grab your fancy

Interested in plants?  Find the latest State of the World’s Plants report here

Butterfly lovers?  Special issue of Journal of Insect Conservation devoted to butterfly conservation

Communicating entomology through video

Speaking of which, I did one on aphids once upon a time 🙂

How bees see may help us develop better cameras

How bumblebee flight may help us develop better drones

The Sixth Mass Extinction of vertebrates on the way but what about all the invertebrates that keep the world functioning?

Interesting article on insect symbolism in 19th Century British art

Weirdly interesting art based on the “natural world” by Katie McCann

This account of sexism in academia shocked and horrified m

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Pick and mix 8 – another pick from the mix

Links to some interesting stuff – well I thought so anyway

 

An interesting idea of how scientists might reach politicians using Twitter

Similarly, Trump, Brexit and a crisis of participation in universities

For those of you interested in the press coverage of the UK General Election, an analysis of the newspaper coverage.  I guarantee that you will be surprised as to which were the two most impartial papers.

Once upon a time we had the milk lake and the butter mountain, but now a butter shortage means bad news for croissant lovers in France

According to the Financial Times, a lot of companies are interested in starting companies to produce and market insects as food

A post by one of my former students @annaplatoni, about her bee work

On why you shouldn’t be dismissive of the “dead grandmother” excuse

Inspiring young Victorians to enjoy entomology through sport

Seven visions of London as a National Park City

I very seldom recommend anything about birds this article about the shape of bird eggs is worth reading just for the graphics

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Pick and mix 7 – more eclectic links from the past week

Links to stuff I have read with interest; quite a lot about bees this week 😊

Interesting reflections on a life in science by Rich Lenski when he gave an address to newly graduated PhD students

A nice summary of what conservation biocontrol is all about, incidentally by a former PhD student of mine 🙂

An interesting opinion piece on how conservation efforts should move away from a species focus and use functional traits instead

Green walls – are they good for wildlife? – coincidentally written by another former student of mine 🙂

I totally agree – ecologists need to get outside more often

A blistering tale – what makes Blister beetles cause blisters

Saving the honeybee from the Varroa mite using a fungal biological control agent?

If you like bees and/or are a beekeeper, this interesting article by Norman Carreck, Science Director of the International Bee Research Association is a must read

Worrying evidence that it is not just insecticides that are killing bees – fungicides may also be a major culprit

On being a sustainable entomologist and helping to save the planet

 

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Pick and mix 6 – my top ten links from the past week

Some more links to follow, or not

 

An interesting article in Nature (makes a change) about the history of the peer review process

On the wondrous properties of spider silk and what we can use it for now and in the future

Using fake caterpillars to assess predation risk around the world

Speaking of fake, a spoof paper fooled a social science journal and two referees

On the value of Natural History Museums and why they should be preserved

On the importance of natural history training, although this is US-centric it is equally, if not more relevant to the UK as I have pointed out more than once

The Acrobatic Fly, a natural history (or should that be unnatural) film from 1910 – only three minutes so worth the time J

On broadening the western human diet to solve global food problems

How studying 25 000 dung beetles helped unravel the complexities of dung beetle evolution – great to see one of my former MSc students involved in this huge project

And to end with something completely different, a great post about what the charity Brass for Africa is doing for street children in Uganda through the medium of music teaching – I should add that my wife is one of the Trustees so I have a vested interest in advertising this 🙂

 

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Pick and mix 5 – more links to ponder

Another set of links that interested me enough to read (and this week, watch) them all the way through.

 

Interesting (tongue-in-cheek) post about using Ribwort plantain as a garden flower

Jo Cartmell (@watervole) on how to turn your boring lawn into a beautiful wildflower meadow

Gretchen Vögel asks – Where have all the insects gone?

How ploughing and deep tillage methods are harming earthworms worldwide

We have been telling our students for years that one of the advantages of biological control compared with conventional use of pesticides is that prey are unlikely to evolve resistance to natural enemies.  Well, we were wrong – here is a story about a pest weevil that has done just that  – unfortunately behind a pay wall

Insects and ethics – Some very interesting points, but as much as I love insects which I do passionately, I am very happy, that ethically speaking, they are not classified as animals. Research would be impossible. That said, all insects in my garden live a free and happy life and are never knowingly killed, not even if they are on my bean plants 🙂

A nice article about photographing spiders and also mentions ethics

Here Markus Eichhorn writes about the questionable ethical standpoints of some otherwise reputable scientists from the last century

An interactive blog post about global crop diversity and eating habits – quite revealing, try it and see

An interesting and well produced short video that could be useful if you want to explain how sustainable management of tropical forests helps the planet and why you should only buy FSC certified products

 

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Pick and mix 4 – more links to ponder

I found these interesting, perhaps some of you will?

 

Interesting post on urban re-wilding

From a couple of years ago, but if you ever wondered how Drosophila became a model organism then read this

How the noise natural gas extraction machines make can affect insect abundance

A nice easy to read post to help make non-entomologists realise the importance of insects and how abundant they are

The Backwinter – A lyrical account of a cold snap in London and its effect on insect and plant emergence by Emma Maund

A timely reminder that there is a lot of genetic material in the wild that can help our domesticated crops taste better

If you wondered what they really ate in the middle ages wonder no longer

An interesting read about an early collector of curiosities Ole Worm’s Cabinet of Wonder: Natural Specimens and Wondrous Monsters

If you are a fan of spring flowers this post from Alice Hunter is a must read/see

Ray Cannon on the tale of a tail 🙂

 

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Pick and mix 3 – another set of eclectic links

Another ten links to stuff I found intersting reading

After last week’s many Marches for Science, Timothy Caulfield on why we need “agenda free science

Check out these great images from Dynamic Ecology also celebrating March for Science

Did you know that some beekeepers not only name their Queens but keep a ‘family tree’; also some great photos

Some musings on what you can see if you stand still long enough from Loose and Leafy

An excellent summary from Terry McGlynn on writing good peer reviews

Interesting study from the USA showing that although fungicide residues made up more than 90% of the pesticides found in pollen insecticides posed the most risk

An interesting review paper on how the scent of predators is interpreted by their potential prey, sometimes fatally.  Warning for entomologists, many vertebrate examples given 🙂

For those interested in forest and woodland ecology – here is how to make a middle-aged wood into an ancient one

Amy Hahs on how to bring biodiversity back into cities

As someone who has had some papers rejected multiple times this joint post by Stephen Heard and Andrew Hendry on why multiple rejections are not a sign of poor quality made heartening reading

 

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Pick and mix 2 – more eclectic links

Ten more links to peruse or not.

Not just British hedgehogs, but French hedgehogs are also on the decline

If you are a lover of Wisteria then this is definitely for you

A very thoughtful piece from Terry McGlynn on the ethical and moral stances that scientists take

Here is a report of a workshop run by an ex-PhD student of mine to discuss the future of farming insects for food in the UK

A really interesting paper describing how competition between two parasitic wasps can be influenced by the presence of an endosymbiont

Here is a paper of great relevance to farmers and policy makers but as usual has been published in a high impact journal that farmers and agronomists won’t read; as scientists we have to be more open to publishing in ‘lower scientific impact’ venues but that have a high impact in the real world

BioMed Central highlighting ways in which food crops might be protected against drought caused by climate change

According to Sir John Marsh the future of the countryside depends on economics

Chris Sandbrook asks what is meant by biodiversity in a conservation context

Like Manu Saunders I am a great believer in having others read my papers before submission, their chances of getting through the peer review process relatively unscathed are much improved

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