“Out of sight, out of mind”: coping with remote supervision

By: Yi Han (with contributions from Hao Ran Lai, Anna Csergo, Rob Salguero-Gomez, Nathalie Butt & Yvonne Buckley)

Remote supervision with bubbles

Don’t be a stranger: PhD candidate Fleur Maseyk (UQ, Brisbane) provides her supervisor Asst/Prof Marit Kragt (UWA, Perth) with a monthly progress report. With three remote supervisors, Fleur says these regular meetings have been essential in keeping everyone up-to-date and on track and the regular encouragement and guidance is also invaluable. Screenshot by Fleur Maseyk.

What happens when you or your supervisor goes away for long periods of time? This happens more often than you’d think, with sabbaticals, fieldwork, international students and regular travel as common features of the student-supervisor relationship. Our lab is now split between Australia and Ireland. Indeed, it would be difficult to get two locations further away. Thus, before the split, we spent some time talking through how to deal with remote supervision. We pooled our ideas about what the problems are and what we have found to work.

When you are away from your supervisors, they are typically not reminded of your existence. You don’t see them in the corridor and can’t catch up with them at morning tea or group meetings. This means your supervisor may forget to tell you about opportunities for conferences, interesting new papers or fleeting ideas that might prove valuable. It also means they may be less likely to feel the same urgency about reading/commenting on your work as they would if you were in the same place.

To solve these problems, we have the following suggestions:

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The importance of natural capital stocks

By: Fleur Maseyk

Management of natural capital stocks is crucial for the provision of ecosystem services

View the PDF version here: Management of natural capital stocks is crucial for the provision of ecosystem services

The ecosystem services concept promised a new paradigm for resource management but uptake has been disappointing slow.  This failure to translate the conceptual into practical application has transpired because the literature confuses, obscures or simply lacks pathways for doing so.

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Invasive species spaghetti for dinner? A network of species interactions for managing invasive cats and rats on Christmas Island

By Yi Han


Photo: Dion Maple


Invasive cats and rats threaten native species on Christmas Island through predation and indirect changes in ecosystem processes. Management programs have been proposed to eradicate cats and possibly rats. Before an eradication program can commence, however we need to answer a number of key questions. What is the management goal? What are the alternative management strategies? What are the risks and benefits of these management strategies?

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Writing good results and discussion

Last time we talked about writing good Abstract, Introduction, and Method sections. In this post, we synthesise the criteria of good Results and Discussion section.

By: Hao Ran Lai


1. Report findings only, do NOT discuss (that is for later)

2. A results section needs to be mostly text & narrative, using figures and tables to help readers make connections and to provide evidence for your statements. A results section should never just be a list of tables & figures with no or little connecting text. Continue reading

Oikos Editor’s Choice September

Oikos Blog

DriesFor the September issues, we chose the forum paper of Caplat et al. as editor’s choice. The paper arose from a special symposium at the 2011 ESA meeting in Austin, and synthesizes how insights from invasion ecology can help us understanding species responses to climate change. The paper does not aim to provide a systematic review or meta-analysis of the literature, but instead focusses on the useful concepts and insights generated from invasion processes relevant to climate change ecology of plants. The authors particularly focus on processes related to movement and especially the settlement phase and the expected impacts of altered species distributions on recipient ecosystems. While Oikos does not have a special focus on applied ecological research, we do stimulate the translation of fundamental insights into a global change or societal context. This appears especially important in the context of species management, both with respect to conservation and…

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