Papers And Stories Of The Month

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.