As Jeremy’s post indicated, Dynamic Ecology is becoming a group blog. I thought it would be useful to have an initial post where I simply introduce myself, lay out some of the topics I plan on blogging about, and solicit feedback on those ideas (and additional ones that you think might be worth covering.)
So, first, to introduce myself. I’m an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan. I only just started here this fall, after spending 4.5 years at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. Before that, I was a postdoc at Wisconsin and a graduate student at the Kellogg Biological Station and Michigan State University. I am an evolutionary/disease/community/food web/aquatic ecologist (which of those I feel most like depends on the day). Most of my research uses Daphnia as a model system. (Note: the Daphnia in my avatar is infected with a virulent bacterial parasite that we usually just call scarlet. She’ll die within a couple of days. Poor girl.)
Some of the topics I am interested in blogging about are the standard sorts of things you might expect from this blog (e.g., reviews of particular papers or areas of the literature). Other topics include:
1. Setting up a new lab: I am in the thick of this, having just moved to a new university. I’ve done this once before, which certainly helps, but there’s still plenty to figure out. When I started at Georgia Tech, there wasn’t a whole lot out there even about general lab setup, and nothing about scouting out new field sites while starting a faculty position (or other issues of particular relevance to ecologists).
2. Women in science (and, more specifically, women in ecology). I’m a mom, and issues related to women in science and work-life balance (whatever that means) are quite interesting to me. There were some posts in threads on the ecolog listserv last spring/summer that were jaw-dropping, frankly, and made me realize the topic of women in ecology really needs more discussion.
3. Story-behind-the-paper: I’ve had a few that I think would be of general interest, including the paper that almost made me drop out of grad school, and the one that Ecology rejected that later got a Mercer Award.
4. Twitter and other social media for ecologists: I’m fairly active on twitter, and really enjoy being on twitter. I realize that many people still think it’s a silly waste of time, so I thought I would do some posts laying out why I think it’s a great tool for scientists/ecologists/academics, and also some related to some other issues raised by Twitter (e.g., live-tweeting of talks).
5. Teaching: I’ve taught a pretty wide range of courses so far. (Recommendation: do not develop as many new courses as I have pre-tenure!) At Georgia Tech, I taught things ranging from a large (90ish student), sophomore-level, required (of all Bio majors) General Ecology course through a small, upper-level undergrad & grad, discussion-based courses with no textbooks and almost no lecturing. Here at Michigan, I’m teaching Intro Bio, and trying to incorporate some active learning into the course. (This course, along with the setup of the new lab, means that I won’t be able to blog as often as I’d like this semester, but hopefully I’ll be able to pick up the pace later.)
I’m definitely open to other suggestions (or to feedback on which of those sound particularly interesting or totally not worthy of devoting time to).
*This is an attempt at a joke, based on Jeremy being Oikos Jeremy when he blogged at the Oikos blog. I think this means we should be Dynamic Brian, Dynamic Chris, Dynamic Jeremy, and Dynamic Meg, but that doesn’t seem to have caught on.