Recommended Reading | October 2013

Let’s start with some recommended watching! I was lucky enough to catch the final night of LadyNerd at this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival. While I’m not usually one for cabaret, it was a pleasure to see it performed by someone whose heroes include Lisa Simpson, Daria Morgendorffer and Liz Lemon. Keira Daley guided us through the stories of some of history’s greatest non-fictional lady nerds including Marie Curie, Florence Nightingale and, in probably my favourite song, Hedy Lamarr.

Back online, check out this to-do list for male academics who want to promote gender equity. (contributed to Dbytes by Megan Evans)

Prue Addison introduces a recent paper offering practical solutions for model uptake in conservation decision-making.

The New York Times has published a lengthy article on women’s under-representation in science.

Science published an exposé on peer review at open-access journals, and have provoked a range of responses. (links via Dbytes and @ficaryl)

The other commotion amongst academics online has been #standingwithdnlee. Dr Lee’s  original blog post details a terrible incident of racism and sexism that she experienced, and major concern surrounds the post’s deletion and later reinstatement by SciAm. I’ve caught up on the story via my regular reads Isis the Scientist, Context and Variation, and Jezebel. It’s a reminder that we need to think long and hard about the inclusiveness of our scientific spaces on- and offline.

One of my favourite daily reads, The Toast, is seeking a PhD-educated lady scientist to pay in exchange for regular columns on awesome science and life as a woman in science. They’re accepting other one-off lady-like sciency pitches too.

Exploring Wyperfeld National Park

VMRG training weekendRecently José, Guru and I returned to Wyperfeld National Park for the annual VMRG training weekend (you can read José’s account of our trip here and my summary of last year’s gathering here). It was great to reconnect with many familiar faces, receive updates on the monitoring program and get acquainted with the data logging devices.

IMG_8529We stuck around Wyperfeld for an extra 24 hours to get to know the park better in the context of our kangaroo-vegetation management project. We were privileged to have acting Ranger-in-Charge Dave Christian as our guide. He’s worked in the Mallee Parks for almost 30 years and I’d wager that what he doesn’t know about Wyperfeld and its management isn’t worth knowing! It was incredibly informative to ‘meet’ the buloke and slender Cypress pines that Parks Victoria are working to regenerate and to get a feel for the management operations on ground.

While I didn’t capture any photos of the Major Mitchell’s cockatoos or the regent parrots that we spotted, I’ve got plenty of other images to share.

CentralSnowdriftFauna Birds and pinesIMG_8581Mallee in flowerIMG_8596 IMG_8600Fox behind rabbit-proof fenceKangaroosLizard

Engagement award for hawkweed program

left to right: Roger Cousens (Uni Melb), Nick Williams (Uni Melb), me, Neil Smith (DEPI), Iris Curran (Parks Vic)
left to right: Roger Cousens (Uni Melb), Nick Williams (Uni Melb), me, Neil Smith (DEPI), Iris Curran (Parks Vic)

This morning the hawkweed program that I’ve been involved in for several years had some gratifying recognition, receiving one of the Vice-Chancellor’s Staff Engagement Excellence Awards for 2013.

Nick Williams and the University of Melbourne have been involved in Victoria’s hawkweed eradication program since the very day of the species’ first discovery in the state. Over the past decade University researchers have worked with Parks Victoria and the Department of Primary Industries (now the Department of Environment and Primary Industries) to find, control and monitor hawkweed infestations as effectively as possible. This collaboration has endured through multiple different funding arrangements, staffing changes and restructures, yielding some terrific research and a positive prognosis for eradication.

The hawkweed program has been an enormous team effort. In addition to those appearing in the photo above, I’d like to acknowledge the contributions of Karen Herbert, formerly of DPI; Nigel Ainsworth from DEPI; Charlie Pascoe, Keith Primrose, Elaine Thomas and Marie Keatley from Parks Victoria; and Kate Giljohann, Mathieu Bonneau, Joslin Moore and Jenny Bear from the University of Melbourne.

Here’s a sample of the research we’ve published so far. There’ll be more to come!

Williams & Holland (2007) The ecology and invasion history of hawkweeds (Hieracium species) in Australia. Plant Protection Quarterly 22, 76-80.

Williams, Hahs & Morgan (2008) A dispersal-constrained habitat suitability model for predicting invasion of alpine vegetation. Ecological Applications 18, 347-359.

Hauser & McCarthy (2009) Streamlining ‘search and destroy’: cost-effective surveillance for pest management. Ecology Letters 12, 683-692.

Hauser (2009) Where and how much? A spreadsheet that allocates surveillance effort for a weed. Plant Protection Quarterly 24, 94-97.

Moore, Hauser, Bear, Williams & McCarthy (2011) Estimating detection-effort curves for plants using search experiments. Ecological Applications 21, 601-607.

Bear, Giljohann, Cousens & Williams (2012) The seed ecology of two invasive Hieracium (Asteraceae) species. Australian Journal of Botany 60, 615-624.

Cousens, Heydel, Giljohann, Tackenberg, Mesgaran & Williams (2012) Predicting the dispersal of hawkweeds (Hieracium aurantiacum and H. praealtum) in the Australian Alps. In Eldershaw V. (ed) Proceedings of the 18th Australasian Weeds Conference. Weed Society of Victoria, October 2012, pp. 5-8.

Hauser, Moore, Giljohann, Garrard & McCarthy (2012) Designing a detection experiment: tricks and trade-offs. In Eldershaw V. (ed) Proceedings of the 18th Australasian Weeds Conference. Weed Society of Victoria, October 2012, pp. 267-272.

Kendal, Hauser, Garrard, Jellinek, Giljohann & Moore. (2013) Quantifying plant colour and colour difference as perceived by humans using digital images. PLoS ONE 8: e72296.