Ask us (well, Brian and Jeremy) anything!

Every year we invite readers to ask us anything. So, here you go!

Leave your questions in the comments below, and we’ll do our best to reply as soon as we’re able. Past questions have concerned everything from the design of the perfect intro biostats course, to our darkest professional moments, to whether there’s a place for “hot takes” in ecology, to the most interesting ecological claim that we’d bet our lives on.

Note that Meghan rarely answers AUAs; her blogging muse finds inspiration elsewhere. So the “us” in “ask us anything” is “me and Brian”.

12 thoughts on “Ask us (well, Brian and Jeremy) anything!

  1. How do you think the Ecology and Evolution job market will fare in the near and long term? In what ways might it resemble and differ from the 2008 recession?
    I am particularly concerned about the disproportionate toll of the pandemic/protests on those of us who are parents, POC, etc, who may not have the same productivity during this time to remain competitive after the jobs come back (to a saturated field of PhDs).

  2. Do you think it is a good idea to contact news media to promote one’s own work? If so, do you think it is appropriate to promote a preprint or do you think it should only be done to published work?

  3. What (if any) role do you see for less-interpretable machine learning (& similar techniques) in ecology? In particular I’m thinking of Brian’s posts on statistical machismo & also the need for more prediction in ecological studies, and Peter Adler’s post on ecological forecasting — I’m wondering if you see any areas in ecology where the increase in predictive accuracy offsets not being able to understand how the model got there.

  4. As a student beginning to understand ecology, could you tell me some important theories that I should read. Or a book that has complied them.

  5. Do you think there are any general milestones to signal that someone has moved from early-career to mid-career as an ecological researcher? Would it be based on time post-PhD, age, number of papers, number of students supervised, the number of years in a job, a combination of all of these? Is it even something generalisable across individual careers?

    In this context, were there specific moments in your own careers where you felt that your standing as ecology researchers was based less on your future potential, and more on your past track-records?

  6. Brian, if you were still working on the 2nd edition of “Community Ecology” with Gary Mittelbach, are there any recent lines of research you would like to include that have emerged over the last year or so? These might include topics you’d like to place more (or less) emphasis on, particularly impressive papers (or clusters of papers?!), or enlightening reviews, meta-analyses or books. It would be particularly interesting to hear if there’s been any recent work that has changed or crystalized your thinking on a topic, or progress that has impressed you on any areas from the “Looking Ahead” section of the final chapter.

    Jeremy, I’ll give you a multiple choice question related to this (that is, choose a question, not the traditional choose an answer…). Are there any topics or approaches that you would place more emphasis on if you were writing a textbook on Community Ecology?; AND/OR, what recent line of research have you found particularly impressive, interesting or enlightening over the same period of the last year or two.

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