Something for the weekend #3

The latest in a regular series of posts to biodiversity-related* items that have caught my attention during the week:


  • A new report by WWF documents over 1000 new species discovered in Papua New Guinea between 1998 and 2008, and the risks to their survival from logging and other human activities.


  • How does history inform ecological restoration?  Ian Lunt has a great post on this topic.



  • In the latest in a series of high-profile rewilding initiatives, the conservation charity Lynx UK Trust has launched a survey to elicit public views on their proposal to reintroduce these large cats – make your views known here.



  • The University of Northampton’s annual Images of Research exhibition is available to view online and you can vote for your favourite three images.  Now I’m not saying that you should vote for “An ecosystem in a cup”.  But you could.  If you wanted to.


  • Staying with the University of Northampton, the Press Office has made me the first Staff Blogger of the Month.  Which is nice.  Not sure exactly how many other staff blog, but my impression is that it’s not many so it may be only a matter of time before I’m honoured again.  I thought I’d share what I wrote when asked about why I blog:

“Why do I blog? The main aim is to communicate the science relating to the importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services (and therefore why we need to conserve species and habitats) to as wide an audience as possible, including the general public, students, non-governmental organisations, businesses, and policy makers, as well as other academics.  Some of that communication relates to examples from our own research, and I also draw on the work of others in the field.  A secondary aim is to give my students a flavour of what it is that I actually do in the rest of my job: teaching is only part of the story!”


  • All of which links nicely to the recent post by Jeremy Fox, and subsequent discussion, over at Dynamic Ecology about whether science blogging (and specifically “ecology” blogs, whatever they might be) is on the decline.  For what it’s worth, I don’t think it is and I also think that the definition of what “ecology” blogging actually covers is much wider than the discussion suggests.


Feel free to recommend links that have caught your eye.

*Disclaimer: may sometimes contain non-biodiversity-related links.

10 thoughts on “Something for the weekend #3

  1. Ian Lunt

    Thanks very much Jeff for recommending my blog above, and in your comment on dynamic ecology. It is interesting to read the many posts on the ‘death of blogging’. In the absence of data, these hand-wringing discussions seem a little futile to me. Personally, I think there is an amazing outlook for engaging discussions with a wonderful audience through blogging, and I don’t see much evidence of that declining. I would suspect that your experience is somewhat similar to mine in that regard, based on my reading of your fine blog. Keep it up! Best wishes Ian

    1. jeffollerton Post author

      Thanks Ian! And you;re welcome, the history piece was very interesting and demonstrates another way in which ecology and the humanities can work together.

      Regarding DE, I agree, not really sure what the purpose of the “death of science blogging” post was, other than to stir up some debate (which worked!) although where that debate then takes us is unclear. Regards, Jeff

  2. Anna

    Loving your blog, Mr Ollerton. You used to teach me many years ago 🙂

    Now my son is 9, I am back on the trail of the link between ecology and politics. Your blog will help tremendously….I hope lol

  3. Steve Hawkins

    Be on the look out for politicians mis-applying this new ONS ‘Natural Capital’ survey data on changes in land use.

    The main source relied on was the Countryside Survey, which was only carried out using sample squares, and I, frankly, don’t think this is appropriate to deal with the sheer quantity of development going on around particular areas that may not be in the survey sample. The survey also included, parks, gardens, and brownfield, in the same category as ‘urban’, which means all the open space in towns could be lost, without any loss of ‘natural capital’ being recorded!!!

    In addition, I simply cannot believe that there has really been any increase in ‘semi-natural grassland’, or of ‘heathland’!

    The report finishes by saying that the Countryside Survey may not be repeated, so the same data set won’t be able to be used in future, but there is a chance that satellite mapping algorithms are learning fast enough to better delineate categories in the future. I find it hard to believe that they don’t do this already, to be honest.—-uk-natural-capital—-land-cover-in-the-uk.html

    [Any chance of a direct email address Jeff?]


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