A long time coming

Given my teaching load and research demands, I haven’t had much time in the last, oh six months or so, to update this little website.  Every week, I’ve had grand intentions of posting, but it always gets sent to the bottom of my to-do list. Much like anything in life, we often tell ourselves that something is going to take a really long time, and the mere thought of that time stops us from taking action.  (I’m saying us in the hopes that I’m not alone here.)  But, it really doesn’t have to take that much time to write a quality post.

It’s time that I revive this website and this blog.  I’m caught up on grading and I have a few minutes now, so there’s no better time than the present, as they say.

I read a lot of science and teaching blogs every day.  It is the main way that I stay current on the latest ecology and teaching research, find examples to show my students, and continue to stimulate my own research and scientific curiosity.  I often find myself reading articles that I want to share with colleagues, friends, and students, but I don’t want to clutter everyone’s email inbox.  So instead, I’m going to start a weekly post here with links to the articles that I found most interesting.  There will be ecology (birds, obviously, but other wildlife also), teaching, and even productivity tips.

I welcome any suggestions for link ideas also.  If you find something that might be of interest, please email me the link.  

Teaching/pedagogy

A great idea for fast, department-wide mid-semester evaluations.  Short, sweet, and to the point:

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Most teachers understand the importance of taking notes, but now there is data to show that good note-taking skills can lead to an 11% higher grade.

I took a flipped classroom workshop last fall, and did my first flipped class last week.  The results were DISMAL, at best.  Meghan Duffy wrote  a great overview of the flipped classroom and her thoughts on it.  Have you tried this approach?  What are your thoughts?

Science 

I’ve got mixed feelings about null hypothesis significance testing, but I’m not sure that I’m ready to throw it out completely.  Apparently however, one journal is.

The Natural History Museum in Oslo has compiled an online database of museum specimens they have, including skins, skeletons, eggs, sperm samples, and DNA and/or tissue samples for about 1/3 of all bird species in the world!  They even have a specimen of the Great Auk!

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We’ve been hearing about the importance of gut microbes for a while now, though the research is really just scraping the surface.  Here’s another great study showing that emulsifiers (food additives that extend shelf life and improve texture of processed foods) can alter gut microbiota, potentially leading to more inflammation.  Another reason to avoid processed foods, not that you needed it.  (Full article here)

Here’s some good news/bad news: Corals in the Great Barrier Reef eat micro plastic particles (GOOD!) but it might hinder their ability to digest their normal food (BAD!)

Of general interest

One of my colleagues told me recently that he has always made posters from scratch in powerpoint.  If you haven’t seen this website with tons of templates, check it out for your next poster.  I’ve given the link to all three of my undergraduate students for their honors posters.

Got any good links to articles you’ve been reading?  Thoughts on these articles?  

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