ESA2020: Understanding ecological extremes – mechanisms of resilience and recovery

A summary ESA2020 was the Ecological Society of Australia’s 2020 conference that was originally planned to be held in Wollongong, NSW but which was eventually held as an entirely virtual event. I’ve attended two fully virtual conferences now, and ESA2020 was certainly the better of the two. Although, to be fair, the first virtual conference …

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In simple terms: Drought effects on wet soils in inland wetlands and peatlands

Abstract: Soils associated with wet and ephemerally wet environments, i.e. wet soils, cover an area greater than 12.1 million km2; inland wetlands deliver at least Int$27.0 trillion in tangible and intangible benefits. However, due to their intimate association with wet environments, wet soils are at risk of degradation during drought events. This review investigates the …

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Leaping from chemistry to biology

I’m fairly comfortable with chemistry. Molecules randomly get together and if there’s enough energy, they might do something. Even in ‘dirty’ situations like soils and soil solutions, you can trust that chemistry is, at its heart, just applied physics. Biology though. Goodness. I’ve been watching Prof. Racaniello’s lecture series on virology and the more I …

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Swamps, bogs, and backwaters

I will happily tell anyone that my favourite environment is the desert. Dry air, knee-high shrubbery, rocks. Though to be fair, remarkably little soil. My second favourite environment are wetlands (from one extreme to the other I guess). Though again, I prefer meadows, bogs and seeps to swamp forests and heavily treed places. Wetlands are …

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Thoughts on workplace safety

I often straddle the divide between us (scientist; me) and the various professional persons concerned about workplace injuries (administration; sometimes me). The two sides have perfectly valid feelings of annoyance with the other. From the scientists: excessive administrative burden stymies productivity; and from the administration: employees get up to some seriously dumb things if you …

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