Author Archives: hammerheadbat

My path to conservation science

Terry McGlynn recently wrote about the path that took him into a career in science, inspired by an older post by Meg Duffy. Terry felt that it could be useful for people to share their stories and I agree: all too often it seems like scientists present an image of having been driven since birth to work in research, and in their current field. Maybe for some of us that’s true, but I suspect that for most of us it’s not, and I found it slightly daunting to be wrongly thinking that most of my competitors at each stage had decades worth of advantage over me. Hopefully this is useful to someone: ecologists aren’t born, they’re made over time. Read the rest of this entry


Unpaid internships help to enforce classist separation in conservation and academia

Unpaid internships have been in the news this week, after an intern for the UN; David Hyde, revealed that to volunteer for a position with them he had to camp in a nearby park as he couldn’t afford a roof over his head. This was most likely a publicity stunt, but one that took place to raise awareness of an important issue. After a bit of discussion on twitter with a colleague (the fantastic James Borrell, check him out if you haven’t already) about their views on it, I decided to write this.

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Hello world!

After a sizeable break, we’re back! This website has been defunct for some time now, but we feel its come time to breathe some new life into it. Read the rest of this entry

Fragmented nature

When you think of nature, what is it that comes to mind? For most westerners it could be epic, unspoilt, wild beauty. For those of a slightly more pessimistic mindset it may be something less idyllic, perhaps mother earth being slowly devoured by her ungrateful children.

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Rhinos, their impacts on savannah and the ghosts of ancient poos

Photos of mutilated rhino corpses have become all too familiar to conservationists lately. Sadly Rhino horn has been making a comeback on the east-Asian black market, mainly fuelled by the myth that it is effective at curing various minor ailments, such as hangovers and fevers, as well as major diseases such as cancer.

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‘Cannibal rats’ would actually nosh on mice

News outlets went berserk a fortnight ago (hey, this still counts as ‘topical’, right?) when a story went viral on the possibility of a ghost ship of cannibal rats crashing into the UK’s coast. The sodding prime minister was even asked about it at PMQs.

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Tiny, wimpy, scorpions

Scorpions are badass, we all know that. With two mean pincers at the front to hold you in place with, before then inflicting you with their venomous sting; these small creatures are the stuff of some sensitive types’ nightmares, and would terrify us all if they were the size of their ancient ancestors which at up to 2.5 meters long were likely the largest arthropods that ever lived. Read the rest of this entry

Mammoth Steppes

Many people know about the large beasts that wandered Europe and Asia during the last ice-age (Pleistocene megafauna to you, natch), but few realise that these animals were the architects and beneficiaries of a giant habitat that no longer exists anywhere in the world.


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Plants racing the climate

The world is changing. The climate is changing.

Whilst the world’s climate has altered repeatedly and drastically since it formed, its current rate is faster than anything we have observed in the last 12,000 years (the Holocene).  This is having varied effects worldwide depending on the location in question (yes; it doesn’t mean everywhere simply gets hotter and drier: the world happens to be a little more complex than that or otherwise we’d consider climate science with the same derision as geography and surf-science).


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Trout killing elk

One of the main intellectual draws of ecology is its deceptive complexity. Whilst topics can appear at first glance quite simple, a little study usually drags up a handful of interactions right away; illuminating the countless intricacies that make up the world we live in. It’s for this reason that I’d like to talk to you about how a paper published this month shows how trout in Yellowstone are killing elk.

Yep, honest.


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