Friday links: nominations open for the ASN Young Investigator Award, Tinder for preprints, and more

Also this week: Planet Earth II (!), NASA vs. astrology, data on gender and peer review outcomes in geology (the results might surprise you), the ecology of falconry, the cultural references in your lectures suck, and more. Also, we wish we could take ecology from Josh Drew, and you will too after you click this week’s links.

From Jeremy:

Applications are open for the 2017 ASN Jasper-Loftus Hill Young Investigator’s Award. The award was established in 1984 to recognize exceptional integrative work in ecology, evolution, behavior, or genetics by investigators who received their doctorates in the three years preceding the application deadline, or who are in their final year of graduate school. The award commemorates Jasper Loftus-Hills (1946-1974), an Australian biologist of exceptional promise who was killed during the course of fieldwork three years after receiving his degree. Winners of this award will present a research paper in the Young Investigator’s Symposium at the ASN annual meeting and receive a $500 prize, a travel allowance of $700, cost of registration for the meetings, and a supplement of $500 in case of intercontinental travel. Four awards are made annually. Recipients need not be members of the Society. The prize committee encourages direct applications and welcomes suggestions of people who should be encouraged to apply. Applications should consist of no more than three pages that summarize the applicant’s work (excluding tables, figures, and references), no more than four appropriate reprints, and a CV combined as a single pdf. Two letters from individuals familiar with the applicant’s work should be sent separately. All application materials should be sent via e-mail by January 1, 2017, to Rebecca Safran (  Please indicate “Young Investigators’ Award” in the subject line, and for reference letters, the name of the applicant. p.s. I’m on the award committee, so if you have questions feel free to shoot me an email ( I’m very glad that last year we had a strong–and gender-balanced–applicant pool, looking forward to the same this year. It’s great that ASN highlights outstanding work being done by up-and-coming scientists. UPDATE: see here for further details about the award.

Now there’s an app for post-publication review of bioArxiv preprints. Because of course there is. You score the preprint on whether it’s interesting, and whether it’s correct, with no further guidance as to what “interesting” and “correct” mean. Creator Jeff Leek calls it “Tinder for preprints”. I look forward to your debate in the comments as to whether this is a good idea. I’ll be over here, doing this:


NASA vs. astrology, but not in the way you’d think. Amusing. (ht Marginal Revolution)

The American Geophysical Union did a detailed analysis of gender bias in their journals’ peer review system from 2012-2015. The headline results:

  • Women first-authored fewer papers than men
  • Women served as peer reviewers less often than men. In part, that’s because male authors and editors were a bit less likely than female authors and editors to suggest or choose women as referees. It’s also in part because women declined invitations to review more often than did men.
  • Papers with women as first authors were accepted 60% of the time–4 percentage points higher than the acceptance rate for papers first-authored by men
  • The study looks at some covariates (particularly age) that could aid interpretation of these results

Overall, broadly similar to the data from Functional Ecology. At Functional Ecology, there are small and shrinking gender disparities in some aspects of the peer review process, but outcomes are gender-neutral. Note that these gender-neutral outcomes are achieved without double-blinding. (ht Retraction Watch)

The landscape of fear, falconry vs. urban pigeons edition. Good fodder for an intro ecology course.

Manu Saunders with an interesting little potted history of field stations in ecology.

A compilation of cultural references that no longer work in lectures (plus a few that do). Includes a bit of serious discussion of what makes for a pedagogically-useful cultural reference. From a British political scientist, so your mileage may vary. In ecology, I find that most students still know the original Jurassic Park movie, so when I’m teaching chaos I can get a pedagogically-useful laugh by referring to the scene in which Jeff Goldblum tries to explain chaos to Laura Dern by dripping water on her hand. And I’m told that Monty Python references are timeless, although I’ve never had occasion to use one in class. (ht Manu Saunders, via Twitter)

Speaking of cultural references in lectures, I assume that when Josh Drew lectures he dresses as Bruce Campbell in Army of Darkness:

See here in the unlikely event you have no idea why Josh cc’d us on this tweet. 🙂

You’ve probably seen this, but in case not: the US Government’s official FAQ on why you can’t use nuclear weapons to destroy hurricanes. (ht Kieran Healy, via Twitter)

And finally, resolved: whether it’s better to be a fox or a hedgehog. The answer is “yes”. (ht @GodsoeWilliam)

From Meg:

Planet Earth II!!!!! I don’t know when it’s coming out, but clearly I will need to update my post with videos for teaching ecology when it does.

Josh Drew has written up a lab that explores community ecology concepts using Pokémon Go. I bet students will find this engaging!

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