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Catherine Ross scribbles about ecology and PhD life

Diggers in the Mallee – Yookamurra Sanctuary fieldtrip

Recently I had the amazing opportunity to visit Yookamurra Sanctuary as part of the Ecological Society of Australia conference in Adelaide. Continue reading “Diggers in the Mallee – Yookamurra Sanctuary fieldtrip”

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Changing the ‘publish or perish’ paradigm – listen to the students!

Should PhD students have to publish during their thesis? Ask a group of postgraduate students and some academics and you get very different answers.

Continue reading “Changing the ‘publish or perish’ paradigm – listen to the students!”

Geophytes and diggers

What do boar in the UK, porcupines in Israel, and bettongs in Australia have in common? They all eat geophytes – but is this a good or a bad thing?

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Co-Lab – Science meets street art

What happens when PhD students and artists get together to communicate science?

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A first timer’s guide to peer review

Just over two years ago I handed in my honours thesis, and last week my first peer reviewed article based on that research has finally been published (you can find it here). It feels amazing to see my name in a real scientific journal, but the process has been long and at times frustrating.

Continue reading “A first timer’s guide to peer review”

My PhD – Bettongs as ecosystem engineers

If you went for an evening walk in the bush over a century ago, before the city of Canberra was founded, what might you have seen? Apart from the kangaroos and possums we’re familiar with today, the woodlands would have been teeming with small animals such as bandicoots, bettongs, quolls, antechinus and native mice. If you look closely, you would also have seen that the ground was full of holes where digging animals like the eastern bettong have been foraging for food, turning over the soil and leaf litter in search of truffles, roots and grubs. Today, Mulligan’s Flat Wildlife Sanctuary in the north of Canberra is the only place on the Australian mainland where you can see an eastern bettong, and for my PhD I’m lucky enough to be studying how these cute little digging machines are changing the ecosystem since their reintroduction 3 years ago.

Continue reading “My PhD – Bettongs as ecosystem engineers”

Lunchtime ecology at the Fenner School – Autumn colours

Autumn has always been my favourite time of year, and for the last few weeks I have been enjoying watching the changing colours of the trees in the courtyard where I eat my lunch.

Continue reading “Lunchtime ecology at the Fenner School – Autumn colours”

Let’s talk about RuMPs (reusable menstrual products)

Disposable menstrual products are an environmental disaster – but there are alternatives that are better for the planet, your health, and your purse (and they’re a life saver for field work!). So why isn’t anyone talking about them?

Continue reading “Let’s talk about RuMPs (reusable menstrual products)”

Lunchtime ecology at the Fenner School – April 10th

Recently I read David Haskell’s book ‘The Forest Unseen – a year’s watch in nature’. Haskell is a biologist living in Tennessee, and almost every day for a year he visited a single square metre of old-growth forest and described it in great detail as the weather and seasons changed. The book is beautifully written, almost poetically describing the interconnectedness of the ecosystem while capturing the scientific importance and wider implications of his observations.

Continue reading “Lunchtime ecology at the Fenner School – April 10th”

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