Invasion syndromes workshop

08 November 2017

Working hard at the invasive syndromes workshop

Three days of talking about invasive syndromes was hard work for all involved, set in fantastic surroundings. 

The guest list read like a who's who in invasion biology. Most important were the rising stars many of whom have received training from the CIB. In years to come, we expect that the most well known invasion biologists will be the freshest of faces here.

Thanks to Ana Novoa and all at the CIB who worked so hard to make this event possible. Additional thanks to all who came from far and wide to participate in what was a fascinating workshop. 

Watch this space to see a link to the forthcoming publication on invasion syndromes...

Zishan's MSc in the bag

03 November 2017

Spatial frogs tick all the boxes for Zishan's MSc

Zishan Ebrahim's MSc thesis on using spatial data for the conservation of frogs on the Cape peninsula passes all the necessary paperwork. 

It's been great working with Zishan over the past couple of years and we're all really pleased to see his thesis pass the final hurdle. Congratulations Zishan!

  Lab  News

Avoid zig-zag and use parallelism

03 November 2017

Avoid zig-zag and use parallelism

This is the advice in a new ‘how to write’ paper by Mensh & Kording (2017).

Zig-zag is where you change subjects multiple times, or distract the reader by focussing on a subject that is not your central theme. This does not mean that you should not mention other subjects, just that you should not allow them to distract the reader by repeating or jumping back to unrelated ideas once you have arrived on your central theme.

Parallelism is around consistency with your topics or variables. Let’s say that you introduce three key variables in your introduction, and later want to discuss them. Parallelism requires you to use them in the same order and in the same way so that the reader can easily follow each of these concepts, even if they skip around in reading the paper.

I remember this same advice when having one of my papers edited. The editor complained that I had brought up three variables in the introduction and then used a different order in the methods, and yet another order in the discussion. Satisfying the editor meant re-writing all sections, and that never something that an author relishes. Thus, it’s a really useful tip to bear in mind in your planning. In this case, the editor had an inspiring message: I want this to be a highly cited classic paper.

We should all want our papers to be read and cited, and once accepted they can’t be easily changed (and certainly not re-written), so getting it right is important: even if you consider your work to be minor now, think of it as a future classic.

  Lab  Writing

OTS - FFP at Cape of Good Hope

28 October 2017

OTS-FFP back in the Cape of Good Hope Again!

The Organisation for Tropical Studies (OTS) are back in town and we had a fantastic session marking up Xenopus gilli for three days down at the Cape of Good Hope. We last saw them in February - see blog entry here, here and here!

The FFP group was excellent, and very happy to get their hands (and occassionally feet) wet, in order to mark up as many frogs as possible. 

I was really lucky to have the help of PhD student Nitya Mohanty (above) who got stuck into the tagging work. Together with OTS, we had 282 captures of X. gilli as well as 8  X. laevis  which were removed from the reserve. 

By the end of the trip, they were all literally jumping for joy!

Really looking forward to the frog report from: Anson MacKinneyJake VoorheesBlythe Owen, 

  Frogs  News  Xenopus

Talk for SU library on Open Access

24 October 2017

Stellenbosch University Library talk for Open Access week

Today I gave a talk "I put my journal behind a paywall,so why am I talking to you about Open Access? in Stellenbosch University library based on two blogs published earlier this month: A rant for Open Access weekWhy do I like publishing with PeerJ?

It was nice to reflect on my time as editor for a society journal, but I learned a lot about the fantastic work that SU library is doing. Not only do they curate the self archived papers of staff which are then Open Access for all, but they also act as a host for 25 Open Access journals. This is a laudible and totally fantastic role for a university library as paying to host the content of a journal can be costly, especially when it comes to keeping this going in perpetuity.

You can read more about SU library's Open Access initiatives here

Thanks to Sarah D for taking some pics!

  Lab  News