Founded in 1829 by King George IV and the Duke of Wellington (and featuring a duel, no less!), King’s is the fourth oldest university in the UK, and is one of the world’s top 25 universities.
KCL has one of the strongest Geography departments globally, with research and education that extends across physical, environmental and human geography. I will be in the Environmental Dynamics theme, connecting hydrological, geomorphological, atmospheric and ecological processes – right where I love to be!
Based at the Strand campus, with views over the Thames, it is hard to be more central – not just literally in terms of London itself, but figuratively too. As a global city, London is a hotspot of education, research, culture – and has incredible connections with the rest of the world.
If you’re interested in working or studying with me, or would like to visit, please do get in touch. You can reach me on jane.catford<at>kcl.ac.uk.
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?
Ishmael and Marije discuss the state of the marsh with residents of a fishing villages
Fishing boats with a backdrop of invasive water hyacinth (Eichornia crassipes)
The women here were just amazing. Baby on back, maize on head, need deep in mud and still smiling.
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.
Animal, vegetable or mineral?
Plants are cool. Baboons are too.
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.
Matobo Hills wetland suffering from livestock overgrazing (Zim)
You got it, Prickly pear – Opuntia stricta (Zim)
Hedge of Lantana camera (Zim)
Invasive Lantana camara thicket (Zim)
Fishers, water hyacinth and crocs… somewhere…
Fishing in Elephant Marsh
Mosquito net used for fishing. Not great for population viability, eh?
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.
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.
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.
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…
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 explains that understanding how different filters affect plant traits means we may be able to predict and manage restoration more…
The BES meeting 2016 in Liverpool is now over and what a great meeting it was. Don’t worry: if you could not make it this year, you can hear all about it in the new blog post below from Jane Catford, our new Associate Editor. Jane kindly accepted to share her thoughts with you on the best moments of the meeting.
Pierre Mariotte Blog Editor, Journal of Ecology
My first time in the home of The Beatles, my first time dodging owls at a poster session, and my first time being serenaded by a rotund frog in a bar. Clearly this was my first BES meeting, and – safe to say – it did not disappoint.
I’ve heard a lot about the BES meetings from colleagues all over the world. Being field season in Australia (my home until five months ago), I’ve never actually made it to one of these meetings before…
Applications are now open for a fully funded PhD position at the University of Southampton, UK starting in the 2017/2018 academic year under the supervision Marc Rius and me.
The project will examine the similarities and differences among species that are invasive and non-invasive across ecosystem types (marine, freshwater, terrestrial) and taxonomic groups (plants, vertebrates, invertebrates) with the aim of identifying a common set of characteristics or life strategies shared by all invasive species. Exact details will be worked out with the successful applicant.
Information about the project and how to apply can be found here. Applications will close on 2 January 2017.