Papers And Stories Of The Month

October 2018

Habitat modification in tidepools by bioeroding sea urchins and implications for fine-scale community structure by Davidson & Grupe
 What the heck happens when a sea urchin digs a pit in the rock?

The Ladies’ Aquatic Gardening Society by Henry Lien
Revenge is a dish best served by a monstrous planet-killing plant unwittingly spread across the world by high-strung socialites.

September 2018

A general biodiversity–function relationship is mediated by trophic level by O’Connor et al. Does adding more species to an ecosystem mean there will be more biomass? Well, it depends…

Red Lizard Brigade by Sam J. Miller
Communist dinosaur trainers fall in love and embark on a forbidden romance. But how far are they willing to go?

August 2018

Sudden collapse of a mesopredator reveals its complementary role in mediating rocky reef regime shifts by Burt et al.
What happens when seastars are removed from a kelp forest? This natural experiment demonstrates how consumers of all sorts can exert control of nearshore habitats.

Super Bass by Kai Ashante Wilson
The healing power of love makes our burdens worth carrying in this vibrant and dizzying fever-dream of a story.

July 2018

Cockles, barnacles and ascidians compose a subtidal facilitation cascade with multiple hierarchical levels of foundation species by Yakovis & Artemieva
In preparation for my trip to the Arctic I found this paper on facilitation cascades in the far North. Foundation species lend each other a helping hand!

Heron of Earth by Vajra Chandrasekera
When the things we hold most dear become a thing of the past, recreation of an idealized world serves as an apology for humanity.

June 2018

When is dispersal for dispersal? Unifying marine and terrestrial perspectives by Burgess et al.
An interesting look at my favorite topic of dispersal, co-authored by researchers from my favorite marine station, Friday Harbor Labs.

Seven Birthdays by Ken Liu
I totally thought I knew where this story was going, but boy was I wrong! By the end the inside of my brain felt like an Escher drawing.

May 2018

Consumption of terrestrial organic matter in the rocky intertidal zone along the central Oregon coast by Fairbanks et al.
Bringing some of my favorite things together into a single paper, spatial subsidies and the Oregon Coast!

And Wash Out by Tides of War by An Owomoyela
How do you react when your mother returns from a long intergalactic war after being absorbed into an alien super-suit? This is a question we all want an answer to.

April 2018

Trophic redundancy reduces vulnerability to extinction cascades by Sanders et al.
The more complex your food web is, the more resistant to extinction events it is.

Logistics by A.J. Fitzwater
When the world is crumbling around you, and all you want are personal hygiene products.

March 2018

Intensification and spatial homogenization of coastal upwelling under climate change by Wang et al.
As our climate changes, concurrent changes in upwelling regimes are expected to occur. How will this impact coastal ecological communities?

Sic Semper, Sic Semper, Sic Semper by Douglas F. Warrick
A time traveller takes up residence in the skull of Abraham Lincoln. It’s just as weird as it sounds.

February 2018

Indirect effects and prey behavior mediate interactions between an endangered prey and recovering predator by Lee et al.
Sea otters are returning to the Canadian Pacific Coast, but what does that mean for populations of endangered abalone?

The New Atlantis by Ursula K. Le Guin
The recently-departed Ursula K. Le Guin was a giant of science fiction. Here is one of her more recent short stories that imagines a world destroyed, yet still full of hope.

January 2018

Rising air temperatures will increase intertidal mussel abundance in the Arctic  by Thyrring et al.
The Arctic is at the forefront of change as our climate begins to warm. This study indicates how intertidal communities may respond as air temperature rises.

Stone Hunger by N. K. Jemisin
The short story that spawned the fantastic Broken Earth Trilogy.

December 2017

Glacial dropstones: islands enhancing seafloor species richness of benthic megafauna in West Antarctic Peninsula fjords by Ziegler et al.
Do tenets of island biogeography hold in the deep waters of the Antarctic? This study explores communities that form around stones deposited on the ocean floor by glaciers as they melt.

‘Tis the Season by China Miéville
What would happen if Christmas was privatized? A father and daughter fight their way through a jumble of festive protesters to attend an exclusive ChristmasTM party.

November 2017

Imagining the “open” university: Sharing scholarship to improve research and education by Erin C. McKiernan
Perhaps one of the most important papers published this year. We as scientists must be committed to transparency and outreach as integral parts of our work. This paper has inspired me to take my open science commitment to a new level with accessible data and an online lab notebook.

The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species by Ken Liu
In the spirit of open scholarship, here is one of my favorite stories by Ken Liu, detailing the myriad ways that exotic species from all over the galaxy preserve and share knowledge with ‘books.’

October 2017

Toward an Integration of Landscape and Food Web Ecology: The Dynamics of Spatially Subsidized Food Webs by Polis et al.
A classic paper on the role of connectivity between habitats and the ways those connections can alter the function of the ecosystem.

Tough Times All Over by Joe Abercrombie
An energetic and humorous race against the clock as a courier fights to deliver her parcel.

September 2017

Habitat coupling writ large: pelagic-derived materials fuel benthivorous macroalgal reef fishes in an upwelling zone by Docmac et al.
The importance of spatial subsidies in the East Pacific are detected through stable-isotope analyses.

If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love by Rachel Swirsky
This story utterly surprised me. A brilliant, heartbreaking meditation on coping with loss.

August 2017

Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction signaled by vertebrate population losses and declines by Ceballo et al.
Using various metrics, this paper suggests that vertebrate population sizes and range shifts are indicative of a larger problem.

The Turing Machines of Babel by Eric Schwitzgebel
A great take on an old thought experiment. In a world where every possibility exists, what does it take to find the meaning of truth? You’ll never look at a rabbit the same way again.

July 2017

Biodiversity models: What if unsaturation is the rule? by Mateo et al.
How many different species can coexist in a community? This study proposes the use of models that account for scale when considering biodiversity.

The Sacrifice of the Hanged Monkey by Minsoo Kang
The translation of an ancient text sheds light on the collapse of a mysterious colony.

June 2017

Impact of climate change on direct and indirect species interactions by Lord et al.

The impact of climate change on indirect effects among species may be more powerful than direct effects.

The Hanging Game by Helen Marshall

A deadly rite of passage has unexpected consequences for those who perform it.

May 2017

Global patterns of kelp forest change over the past half-century by Krumhansl et al.

Have kelp forests thrived or declined over the past 50 years? This robust meta-analysis highlights the importance of local influences on kelp communities. 

Migratory Patterns of Underground Birds by E. Catherine Tobler

A survivor finds herself searching for others in a world forever changed.

April 2017

A general biodiversity-function relationship is mediated by trophic level

How do changes in biodiversity impact standing biomass? This new paper suggests that herbivores are key components of this relationship in marine systems.