Also this week: A dark horse candidate to win Mammal March Madness, the trickiness of interaction terms in logistic regression, a depressing definition of taxonomy, and more.
ESA has announced this year’s award winners! Diana Wall has been selected as the Eminent Ecologist Award winner and Jennifer Williams received this year’s Mercer Award for her paper on rapid evolution accelerating plant population spread in fragmented experimental landscapes. Click through to see the full list of award winners. Congrats to all of them!
A visual introduction to probability and statistics. (Warning: you will be tempted to spend lots of time playing with the different visualizations!) This seems like it could be great for teaching.
My colleague Gina Baucom has created a guide that lays out her lab philosophy and expectations. Some of it borrows (with permission!) from my guide for lab undergrads, but she covers much more. (Joan Strassmann also has a lab philosophy document. Some day, I should make one of these!)
Does Engagement in Advocacy Hurt the Credibility of Scientists? No! From the abstract: “Our results suggest that climate scientists who wish to engage in certain forms of advocacy have considerable latitude to do so without risking harm to their credibility, or the credibility of the scientific community.”
Environmental science in a post-truth world, by Jane Lubchenco. She ends by saying, “Yes, we face rough times ahead, but ecologists and ESA have been moving in the right direction for years. Now is the time for a quantum leap into relevance. And as we tackle these emerging challenges, don’t forget to carve out time to connect with nature and people so as to recharge our batteries and remind us of what’s important.”
Lego has announced that they will make a women of NASA set!
If you missed my post on factors determining when people start applying for faculty positions, there’s still time to take the poll! I’ll leave it open until Monday.
Interaction terms in logistic regression are really tricky to interpret. There’s a sense in which they’re inevitable because of the non-linearity of the model. The (excellent) linked post would fit nicely in my series on mathematical constraints in ecology and evolution. The linked post also is a good illustration of why asking whether two variables have “additive” or “interactive” effects is not a good scientific question unless you define “additive” and “interactive” in some scientific way (what the linked post calls a “conceptual” way) as opposed to in a statistical way.
“We’re trying to make the best of a bad situation. That’s all taxonomy is…It’s all kind of silly.” That quote is from a taxonomist, by the way. (ht Marginal Revolution)
Here’s why I’m picking the kangaroo in Mammal March Madness. Also, I’m afraid to learn what the “other” animals are in that link. Are koalas secretly lethal, or what?
Williams et al. is a very deserving winner of the Mercer Award. Great paper.
The “advocacy hurting credibility of scientists” paper is a nice study but in a sense is only half of the story because it doesn’t address the question of whether being an advocate or campaigner hurts the credibility or standing of a scientist within their community. I posted some thoughts on this a while ago that may be of interest, but I don;t think it’s a question that’s been properly studied: https://jeffollerton.wordpress.com/2015/04/03/should-biodiversity-scientists-be-campaigners-and-polemicists/
I agree. I read the paper and wondered if they were just demonstrating that scientists can get away with normative science and stealth advocacy. Be an advocate, but be clear what is science and what is advocacy, informed by science.
See for example, Lackey, R.T. 2007. Science, scientists, and policy advocacy. Conservation Biology. 21(1): 12-17. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2006.00639.x
Something from open data, data sharing, etc.
“Peer-review activists push psychology journals towards open data
Editor asked to resign from journal for saying he’ll review only papers whose data he can see.”